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ZeroFlush Urinals Aid Water and Energy Sustainability

ZeroFlush Urinals Aid Water and Energy Sustainability

Zeroflush waterless urinals installed at Brisbane International Airport by Whywait Plumbing

Zeroflush waterless urinals installed at Brisbane International Airport

ZeroFlush Waterless urinals supplied and installed by Whywait Plumbing are precisely what they sound like. Instead of using water to flush away the urine, like traditional urinals which waste anywhere up to 25 litres of water every time they flush. ZeroFlush waterless urinals utilise gravity, putting urine through an odour barrier or one-way valve system which eliminates 100% of the water from a conventional flushing process.

Replacing a water flushing urinal with a ZeroFlush waterless model can save an average of 152000 litres annually per urinal. There’s one urinal for every three toilets in non-residential properties, which together account for more than a quarter of Australia’s water consumption.

The supply of water to commercial office buildings, shopping centres, educational facilities and hotels utilises a substantial amount of energy. The simple act of installing ZeroFlush waterless urinals and the disconnection of urinals from a buildings water reticulation system can reduce by 50% a building’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Throughout Australia, water charges continue to increase annually. The advent of sewerage discharge factor charges based on the amount of water consumed is increasing in popularity. These charges alone require reductions in water consumption to avoid substantial annual increases. For commercial property managers, this means they must budget for paying for water coming into the building and also going out via the sewage system. This means the installation of ZeroFlush urinals will not only aid with sustainability but reduce water and energy costs.

The urban myth that waterless urinals are unhygienic and stink is a myth perpetuated by opponents of waterless urinals that has no foundation in fact. A recent study by th

e  Shanghai Environment Project Design Institute once again proved that waterless urinals contain five times fewer bacteria than water flushing urinals. Bacteria and germs from water flushing urinals are created by airborne fecal matter that is reproduced when the urinal flushes water. The combination of water moisture with the fecal matter creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and flourish. As waterless urinals don’t flush water every time they have been used the opportunity for bacterial and germ contamination becomes very remote.

The real reason most male bathroom facilities have putrid odours is triggered by the bacteria created from airborne fecal matter and water moisture. Urine by itself has a very soft odour but combined with the water flushing urinals spraying of water particles it can quickly create odours over the entire bathroom facility.

ZeroFlush waterless urinals are a guaranteed path to reducing water and energy consumption plus greenhouse gas emissions in any non-residential commercial building. Installing them will always help water and energy sustainability.

 

Gold Coast Council Water Rates to Increase

Gold Coast Council Water Rates to Increase

Gold Coast council water rates to increase call Whywait Plumbing ServicesGold Coast council water rates are about to increase again. For both homeowners and business owners, this could be a double whammy when you couple this with the increases in power bills in recent years.
The Increases are likely to continue in coming years even though the City of Gold Coast has not increased its portion of your water bill at all for three years. Bulk water charges for the City of Gold Coast are recommended to increase by the Queensland Competition Authority a further $12 a year for the next two years.
The City of Gold Coast has now finalised the 2018-19 budget. Your Gold Coast council water rates charges will not increase on the retail and distribution component of the water and sewerage charges from the last financial year.
Gold Coast council water rates increase in part due to Tugun desalination plant from Whywait Plumbing Services

Tugun Desalination Plant

However, the significant portion of your water cost which is Queensland Government’s bulk water price will increase in line with the recommendations by the Queensland Competition Authority. The bulk water price will increase by 2.5% from $2.74 per kilolitre to $2.91 per kilolitre.

Contrary to some urban myths City of Gold Coast no longer owns Hinze Dam and the desalination plant. Gold Coast Water buys the water that you use through your meter from Seqwater owned by the Queensland Government. The price paid for the bulk water is itemised in your water bill.
Essentially the bulk water charges levied by the Queensland Government makes up the bulk of your water bill.
These charges are still reflecting the poor planning from 20 years ago that resulted in the multi-billion dollar water grid construction in 2007-08 which resulted in supply pipes connecting all of South-East Queensland being built. To a large extent, the pipe grid was constructed without dams being built and to lesser extent dams constructed without pipes which also resulted in the construction of the seldom-used Tugun desalination plant.
For 2018-19 your Gold Coast council water rates will increase on 1 July for your water and sewerage which will comprise of the following charges:
  • Queensland Government bulk water charge $2.91 per k/L
  • City of Gold Coast distribution           $1.09 per k/L
  • Total water consumption charge    $4.00 per k/L 
The water and sewerage access charges will remain the same as in previous years being:
  • water access charge of $212.08 per year
  • sewerage access charge of $724.12 per year.
Currently, water charges are relatively stable, but significant problems are looming. Long term planning is required to address the issues of aging infrastructure and their maintenance costs which will impact Gold Coast council water rates.

 

Infrastructure Australia in a major report has predicted water bills will go the way of power bills increasing by at least $50 every year. They predict today’s average annual water bill of $1200 will increase to $2500 within 20 years.

 

The report correctly says we need to start planning now as our dams are relatively full which gives us the rare opportunity of “….clear thinking and long-term planning to meet our future needs.”
As we all know from the water management supply crisis of 2007-09 South East Queensland can be adversely effected quickly with a combination of natural disasters, poor planning and below average rainfall.
Very simply if we don’t start long-term planning now for planning our future water needs the drastic increases in water bills will cripple family and business budgets in the same way power bills are now.
Gary Mays is a Master Plumber and the owner of Whywait Plumbing Services. Since 1976 Gary has grown Whywait Plumbing into one of Queensland’s most respected, professional and innovative plumbing companies. Gary is a member of Gold Coast North Chamber of Commerce and is trusted by media to speak on matters of local infrastructure and development.
Plumbing Urban Myths

Plumbing Urban Myths

A combination of disposable wipes, paper towels and toilet paper blocking a drain because they were unable to break down in water.

Plumbing urban myths abound these days with social media and media sensationalism.

For the plumbing technicians at Whywait it’s frequently hard to get clients to understand factual information because they have Googled their problem and found what is, in reality, a plumbing urban myth that seems to fit.

Unfortunately, plumbing urban myths abound and below are a few popular myths and the real facts:

  • Myth – disposable baby, kitchen or bathroom wipes and paper towels can be flushed down a toilet. Fact – The photo above is a pipe full of disposable wipes, paper towels and toilet paper that shows they don’t break down and degrade like toilet paper but pile up inside the drain and block your entire sewer drainage system.
  • Myth – loud banging noises in a hot water service are a warning sign that it is about to burst and leak.  Fact – unfortunately, there are no real warning signs that a hot water service is about to start leaking. If you do hear banging or rumbling noises coming from the actual storage tank it indicates that the loose minerals in the sediment in the bottom of the tank are causing air bubbles during the heating cycle and that in reality, your hot water service needs a 5 yearly service that includes flushing the tank of sediment.
  • Myth – Thomas Crapper invented the toilet.  Fact – No he did not invent it but made it work better with the flushing mechanism.
  • Myth – Water flushes in a toilet clockwise in Australia in the southern hemisphere but anti-clockwise in Germany in the northern hemisphere. Fact – No the actual design of the toilet bowl dictates which direction water flushes as such a small amount of water is not affected by the Coriolis Effect.

Myths are often fun but the reality is plumbing urban myths can be dangerous if taken as factual which is why plumbing problems should always be diagnosed and repaired by a licensed plumbing contractor.

A Plumbing Inspection Is Not A Guarantee

A Plumbing Inspection Is Not A Guarantee

A plumbing inspection by the council is not a guarantee and never have been, they are a compliance audit – nothing more, nothing less.

Recently Kelly from Hope Island sent me an email which began with the comment that, “builders are liars, plumbers are incompetent and the Gold Coast plumbing inspectors are frauds who take no responsibility…..” 

I can only repeat to Kelly what many of us know and see everyday in new or recently renovated buildings – “everyone who worked on your home did so because they were the cheapest not because they were the best qualified and skilled to undertake the work.” Sadly that has become the reality in the construction industry.

The pressure by builders on plumbers to reduce prices and take “SHORT CUTS” increases daily as I have stated previously and in fairness is frequently driven by the client demanding a cheaper price looking for the “BEST DEAL”.

In respect to Kelly’s comment about the Gold Coast plumbing inspectors, I understand the remark as there is a common urban myth that once your home or building has had a final inspection that it has been certified by the council and that the plumbing is perfect and that they are guaranteeing it.

This is not correct as the plumbing inspectors functions are set out in the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002. A plumbing inspector’s functions are to conduct investigations and inspections for monitoring and enforcing compliance with-
(a) the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002; or
(b) the Sustainable Planning Act 2009; or
(c) the Local Government Act 2009.

The important word in the legislation is COMPLIANCE. When the council inspector signs off the plumbing and drainage work on your home after being requested to undertake a final inspection by the licensed plumber who is responsible for the work you will only get a letter that says it is a PLUMBING AND DRAINAGE COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE and it will state clearly that, “This Compliance Certificate approves the regulated work or on-site sewerage work for the above property in respect of Compliance Permit number…..”   

A compliance certificate from the plumbing inspectors are not a guarantee in any way shape or form and should not be construed as such.

Unfortunately and sadly but these days it is ultimately up to you to make sure that you are getting high standard, quality work by ensuring you are dealing with reputable, experienced licensed contractors who perform work to the standards set out in the Plumbing Code of Australia.

Always ask to see the plumber’s contractors license and always ensure for insurance purposes you get a copy of either the council compliance certificate or the QBCC form 4 compliance certificate depending upon the work you have had undertaken.

By Gary Mays

Don’t Fall For The Sacrificial Anode Rip-Off

Don’t Fall For The Sacrificial Anode Rip-Off

It is normally the routine of a knock on the door by a friendly “salesman” stating they were in your neighbourhood doing some work and that a neighbour had suggested they do the same “free check” on your hot water service.

hot water service sacrificial anode replaced by Whywait PlumbingThis unsolicited pitch or a variation of it is a signature of rip-offs who prey on gullible homeowners, especially the elderly. They commonly show a great deal of empathy and concern and are only doing the “free check” of your hot water service as your neighbour had already had theirs repaired and were concerned for you.

In the photo on the left the anode on the left was replaced by Whywait Plumbing with the one on the right with the differences between old and new perfectly illustrated.

Take it from me knocking on your door and cold-calling is not a professional or viable way to market or operate a plumbing business.  And yes to work on your hot water service you must be a licensed plumber. In all likelihood the person knocking on your door is not a licensed plumber or a licensed plumbing contractor and in our experience they are ordinary old con artists who have no experience or knowledge in servicing a hot water service.

Yes your sacrificial anode on your hot water service should be checked at least every 5 years. But if it has never been checked and your hot water service is over 7 years old you are wasting your time replacing it as the damage has already been done to your steel storage tank.

By Gary Mays

Plumbing Is Expensive

Plumbing Is Expensive

Not Compliant? It’ll Be Expensive!

Plumbing Costs for Correct and  Compliant Work

Plumbing is expensive if not done correctly and compliantly. Quality plumbing is not a luxury but is a legal requirement under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002.

Cheap, illegal plumbing repaired by Whywait Plumbing after sewer odours were escaping inside an office because there was a 35mm gap allowing the odours to escape where a 65mm pipe had been pushed inside a 100mm pipe

Not everyone can afford a Lexus GS450h at $130497 or a BMW 7 Series 760Li 4 door Sedan at $141,200, but everyone can afford and should ensure they use a quality plumbing company. So if price is your only consideration, PLEASE phone another plumber as there are plenty of “cheap”, “competitively priced”, “discount”, “budget priced” plumbers out there who will do your work to a price but for your own sake please make sure they are:

  • licensed plumbers by the Plumbing Industry Council
  • licensed plumbing contractors with Queensland Building and Construction Commission
  • insured for your protection with at least $10 million of Public Liability

However if you have come to the conclusion that your home is your biggest investment and you want to maintain your home to peak value then please phone Whywait Plumbing provided you want the work undertaken legally and compliantly with Australian WaterMark approved materials and highly skilled licensed plumbers who guarantee their work.

Please don’t phone us and ask for free quotes or free advice over the phone as no professional plumber can give you a price over the phone without an on-site diagnosis. Believe me, every plumbing installation is a one-off no matter how similar they appear.

Just remember if you use the cheap meeting the standard market price plumber ask to visually to see their plumbing license and their contractor’s license as they are required to carry them with them by law. In the end, these licenses are put in place by the Queensland Government for your protection, not for the plumber’s protection.

If you want cheap plumbing or free plumbing estimates or discount to meet the market pricing please do both of us a favour and save each others time by calling someone else.

 

By Gary Mays