Originally Posted 1/17/07
I was at the fancy-shmancy El Segundo Public Library, and I discovered their latest convenience gift to the literate populace: waterless toilets.
I have to say, I'm not sure I understand this.
I appreciate their conservational spirit - certainly we American flush far more than we need to, and I'm sure there are some drought ridden countries somewhere that wouldn't mind our extra toilet water. Then again, water conservation is something I've never really understood. Isn't water kind of, um, renewable? Like it literally falls from the sky? And don't we already have, um, two-thirds of the world covered in the stuff? I realize much of it is salt water, but anyone who's seen a Great Lake or spent a week in Seattle knows that one doesn't have to mine too deep to find something to drink these days.
The main reason waterless toilets confuse me is this: why did they introduce water to toilets in the first place? I could be wrong, but I think it's because of the well-known scientific principle that human waste smells about 1,000,000,000 times worse when it's not in water than when it is. Maybe they've developed some kind of miracle technology to make up for it, but look at this thing - I sure don't see anything. It's just a chunk of porcelain.
After some intense internet research (about 5 minutes), I learned that the waterless toilet was developed on the premise that "you don't need water to transport water." Sure, but how about smelly cabbage urine? To my amazement, the only technology to the thing seemed to be gravity: pee goes in, pee goes down, pee is gone. The same philosophy behind alleys behind bars, I think, and we all know how good those smell. And this was after I clicked to the "How to Works!" page, which assured me that if I had any questions about "how it worked", I should feel free to contact their customer service department. Thanks, but if I have any questions about how gravity works, I'll probably just go ahead and throw myself off a bridge.
After further exhaustive research (another 2 minutes), all I could find was something about the Illinois Health Department banning waterless toilets because they were, quote "unsanitary." But at least they have that pretentious, art-neveau feel to them.
Maybe I'm missing something, or maybe El Segundo should be let off the hook somewhat because they only had waterless urinals and not the full-out, paragons-of-hygiene that are the sit-down commodes. But I made sure to wash my hands after my futuristic, gravity-driven pissing experience. And I actually did use water for that part.