Books and Bullets

A gun shop and a school make great neighbors

Our Leader, I.P. Freely

Houston forever claims to be bravely focused on the future, whether it's building a metropolis on a swamp, dredging the Ship Channel or calling itself Space City.

But now it has turned its back on progress. The kind of progress that comes via waterless urinals.

No-flush urinals are environmentally terrific, says Danny Gleiberman, VP of governmental affairs for Falcon Waterfree Technologies. Flushing isn't necessary -- the urine goes down a drain and a special cartridge filters the air so the sewer smell doesn't escape. It's all explained in one of the company's brochures, which inexplicably features a photograph of a toddler peeing on a beach.

The folks at the City of Houston used to okay the use of such urinals, but at some point -- Gleiberman isn't sure, and the city didn't respond to Hair Balls -- they reinterpreted language in the Uniform Plumbing Code and started rejecting construction plans that included waterless urinals.

"It's a minor shift to everybody else, but to us it was almost cataclysmic," Gleiberman says mournfully.

The company is lobbying City Hall, but officials have somehow been slow to jump on the urinal bandwagon.

At least three local sites were grandfathered in before the change, says Rebecca Bryant of the U.S. Green Building Council, so there remain opportunities to add excitement to your pee life. She didn't know the exact addresses, but described them thusly: "An HISD administration building, a psychiatric institution and a Burger King."

Happy hunting.

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