How To Manage Water Use In A Public Washroom

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public washroomPublic building facility managers are well aware that water use is huge in their washrooms.  The number of users in any work environment, at public buildings, shopping centers, and schools is often large, and the number of flushes and hand washings is commensurate. So saving water is important, but it is really imperative that cleanliness is maintained.

Flush control devices

Toilets use the majority of the water in a public facility, but new devices are available to reduce the amount of flush water used. (And they work much better than the old method of putting a brick in the cistern.) One is a flush control device that can be obtained from firms that provide washroom set-up and maintenance services.  The savings by using these devices is obvious. For example, in most work places employees will use the WC three times a day. If you install a flush water saving device, it reduces the water used by about three litres a flush, or nine per day. Annually the savings would amount to 2,160 litres!  It’s easy to calculate how much this comes to in economic terms—multiply this figure by the number of employees and the cost per litre of water.  One thing to keep in mind when selecting a flush control device: it must be adaptable to the size of the cistern in order to keep the flow of water forceful for good hygiene. It also must fit without compromising the other mechanisms in the cistern.

Inlet valve

A second choice to help control the amount of flush water is a delayed-action inlet valve. This sounds complicated but is really simple. A flush normally uses more water than the cistern contains because, as the user flushes, more water is entering to replace it. These valves keep water from rushing in until the cistern is empty, so only the contents are used. More water will fill the cistern after the cycle is complete.

Automatic urinal flush

Another new option is an automatic flush device for urinals. Instead of flushing constantly, the system flushes in two ways. The first flushes when an infrared sensor detects movement, and the second runs on a timer that can be set to any interval you choose. You will maintain good hygiene with a combination of the two.

Water saving taps

A great waste of water in any type of washroom is running taps that have not been shut off correctly.  Water saving taps can convert existing taps with a more efficient water adjustment method. A new push-type tap can really reduce the amount of water needlessly draining away.

Fix those leaks!

It seems like fixing leaks would be an obvious action, but leaks in the type of valve now standard in low flush toilets currently available in the UK can leak without most maintenance staff being aware of it. These dual-flush valves are great, until they wear, allowing water to leak continually. Another problem is that many users will double flush, thinking that the amount of water used is not really flushing the toilet. If you are planning a new washroom or upgrading, consider purchase of a more efficient toilet with a siphon valve. Siphon valves never leak because no washers are used to seal, and so obviously there will be no worn washers to leak.  Until the UK aligned with the European Union, siphon-type cisterns were required. This means that British plumbers are familiar with them, so that they can repair them more efficiently.

A combination of all of these techniques will help any facilities manager reduce water usage.


Chloe is a writer who works for PHS Washrooms, a company which offer washroom supplies such as hand dryers. She currently resides in Cardiff in the UK.  Image source.

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Greener Ideal is an independent environmental news and lifestyle publication that has been curating content since 2008 to further the green movement. The views expressed by contributing authors are their own and may not reflect those of Greener Ideal.