Written by NewMediaJournal.us
Source: The Chicago Sun-Times
There's been a stench coming from the second floor of City Hall -- and it has nothing to do with the steady stream of Chicago aldermen convicted on corruption charges.
Waterless urinals installed to promote water conservation in the public men's room outside the City Council chambers have turned into a stinky mess. The odor got so bad that the "green" urinals are now being ripped out and replaced with the old-fashioned kind at a cost City Hall has refused to disclose.
The problem is that Chicago's building code requires commercial buildings to use copper pipes in indoor plumbing. But the US Army Corps of Engineers specifically states that drainpipes for waterless urinals "cannot be made of copper pipe, which corrodes."
That's what's happened at City Hall, with the corrosion causing urine to build up in the wall behind the men's room. That's the source of the stench wafting through the second floor, which includes the City Council chambers and aldermanic offices.
The men's room is now closed while the marble wall is "removed" and new urinals are installed.
Environment Department spokesman Larry Merritt said copper pipe was used in the February 2006 installation of waterless urinals donated to the city "to take advantage of existing infrastructure and minimize the cost." The Illinois Department of Public Health authorized "this experimental installation with copper piping," he said.
Merritt estimated that each green urinal saved the city 1.5 gallons of water "per-use" or 50,000 gallons a year. But he acknowledged that they "didn't perform as expected" and are being removed..."When working with this emerging field, it is important to test out new technologies and rework their use with experience."
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