Industry gets closer to uniform standard for toilets

BY ROBERT P. MADER OF CONTRACTOR'S STAFF THE PLUMBING industry seems to be getting closer to agreement on how toilets should really perform with the publication of a voluntary standard, "Uniform North American Requirements for Toilet Fixtures." The UNAR document was put together by engineers Bill Gauley, Veritec Consulting, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, and John Koeller, Koeller & Co., Yorba Linda,

BY ROBERT P. MADER
OF CONTRACTOR'S STAFF

THE PLUMBING industry seems to be getting closer to agreement on how toilets should really perform with the publication of a voluntary standard, "Uniform North American Requirements for Toilet Fixtures."

The UNAR document was put together by engineers Bill Gauley, Veritec Consulting, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, and John Koeller, Koeller & Co., Yorba Linda, Calif.

Gauley and Koeller are the creators of the MaP test, Maximum Performance Testing of Popular Toilet Models, now in its fifth edition. Koeller and Gauley created the MaP test protocol based on the premise that 1.6- gal.- per-flush toilets might use more water than allowed and may not be able to adequately flush waste products.

The MaP test was created with the aid and funding of several local Canadian governments and U.S. water utilities that wanted to be sure that all water-saving toilets are viable.

Aiding Gauley and Koeller in developing the voluntary UNAR document were representatives of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials Testing and Services division.

An advisory panel assisted on various elements of UNAR, reviewed UNAR proposals and protocols, and communicated back to their respective organizations and industries on the development of the UNAR document.

The advisory panel consists of eight members, four each from the plumbing industry and the water suppliers. The panel members are Burt Preston, plumbing industry consultant; David Viola, Plumbing Manufacturers Institute; Glen Pleasence, region of Durham, Ontario; Tom Gackstetter, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Peter De-Marco, American Standard; Shabbir Rawalpindiwala, Kohler Co.; David Broustis, Seattle Public Utilities; and Dave Bracciano, Tampa Bay Water.

The MaP test established that 1.6-GPF toilets should, at a minimum, dispose of 250 grams of waste. Toilets were tested using soybean paste from a miso soup base imported from Japan. The paste was extruded into 50-gram, 4-in.-long objects. Toilets were tested to the point of failure.

A significant change for the UNAR test is that the soybean paste is now covered with a latex condom tied with an elastic string, making the test media reusable.

The UNAR standard also recognizes that toilets have evolved over the years so it and the MaP test track the performance of pressure-assisted toilets, dual-flush models and highly efficient 4 liter/1.1-GPF toilets, or combinations of those, such as pressure-assisted 1.1-GPF toilets.

The UNAR test refers to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Supplementary Purchase Specification on replacement flappers. Water utilities, many of which either subsidize or even give away low-flush toilets for water conservation purposes, are concerned that water-saving toilets still save water five or 10 years down the road. Toilets using proprietary flap-pers are preferred because only one flapper, the correct one, can be used on a toilet. Toilets with standard 2-in. flappers were tested under the UNAR protocol using off-the-shelf Fluidmaster or Coast Foundry replacement flap-pers and the toilets could not flush more than 2 gal.

In the latest MaP tests, 18 models failed out of 213 tested. Six models stopped at the 250-gram minimum; most toilets exceeded the standard.

At the top end, researchers gave up at 1,000 grams, 2.2 lb., a load most toilets will rarely encounter. Toilets that could pass 1,000 grams include gravity and pressure-assisted models from American Standard, Gerber, Kohler, Vitra, Western Pottery and Zurn.

The latest MaP testing results may be found on the California Urban Water Conservation Council Website, http://www.cuwcc.org/MapTesting.lasso. That page contains a link to the full report, http://www.cuwcc.org/uploads /product/MaP-6th-Edition-1-30-06.pdf

A copy of the UNAR document (UNAR-toiletfixtures-1-27-06.pdf) that describes toilet testing protocols for both MaP and Los Angeles SPS may be obtained by e-mailing, [email protected] or [email protected]