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A Solution to Industrial Sanitation

Recent decision of Delhi civic bodies banning 800 waterless urinals across the city and installing conventional urinals sparked new controversies right from their procurement process to the viability of its gel based cartridge-waterless urinal solution. Anil Nair, Joint GM-Essar Oil Ltd, talks about another affordable and retrofitting waterless urinal technology that is operational at the Essar campus for the last six months. The technology is an outcome of a three-year research at IIT Delhi and has recorded more than 6000 installations over nine months’ time.

A conventional urinal in India uses an average of three-five litres of water per flush, which amounts to substantial water wastage. Besides, lack of disciplined use of water also adds to sanitation problems. “To mitigate this problem we explored waterless urinals at our refinery and found that some of the urinals were being offered at a high cost of `40,000 or more per urinal besides the spend on a lot of consumables.” Uttam Banerjee, an IIT-Delhi alumini and Dr Vijayaraghavan M Chariar, Prof-IITD who
have successfully introduced an innovative product (now patented by IIT- Delhi) in the
market – ZERODOR – which saves water and minimizes odour; thereby providing improved hygiene and sanitation to restrooms at nearly 1/10th of the cost offered by other manufacturers with no expenditure on consumables.

The IIT incubated Ekam Eco Solutions does not change the existing urinal pots but modifies and provides retrofits to befit the waterless urinal system. No consumable or cartridge or chemicals are needed as is seen in other waterless urinals. The water supply to the pots are also disconnected.

On an average 8,300 litres of potable water is consumed in a month by a conventional urinal. Considerable amount of money is also spent on auto janitors, sensors, batteries and waste pipes to make a decent conventional urinal function. The cost incurred per month actually works out to nearly `2500 per urinal whereas the cost of these waterless installations is just about `5000. The average savings per urinal pot including the water that comes at a cost to us works out to a sizeable `30,000 per year.

Zerodor besides being retrofitted can also installed onto new urinals. It comes at only one fifth the cost of competing products and is equally efficacious. In addition, there are no consumable costs or replaceable components associated with this technology. It adapts to most existing urinal pans.


The Zerodor Waterless Urinal Technology functions based on the principle of a ball valve used widely in process engineering dealing with gases and fluids. The design utilizes differences in specific gravity of urine and the hollow LDPE ball valve used in the trap.

In order to enable ease of conversion of existing urinal pans available in the market into waterless urinals, the design and dimensions of Zerodor are kept similar to waste couplers which are usually fitted to men’s urinals. The Zerodor has a trap body with a contracted flat bottom having a smaller orifice at bottom, an open-able cap at top and a free seated LDPE ball. Specific gravity of urine and LDPE are 1.002 and 0.91 respectively. The free seated LDPE
ball allows passage of urine due to buoyancy and comes to rest in its normal position over the orifice sealing odours coming out of the pipelines attached to urinals.

“The concept development, design and testing happened at IIT Delhi and test results are available. These test indicates the efficiency of the product in controlling the odour after installation.”

Essar Oil Vadinar has now completed installation of 52 such waterless urinals in its Refinery in Jamnagar. Various buildings, including the premier Essar House Complex, has been covered in this initial stage.

“We are closely monitoring its performance and are hopeful it will certainly turn out to be a game changer in the field of industrial sanitation.”


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