Has Sanitation Technology Improved Over The Years?

Has Sanitation Technology Improved Over The Years?

Nov 6th 2023

Not many people find toilet and washroom technology interesting. When we talk about modern inventions, our minds always wander away towards aerospatial applications or computer science. However, most would be surprised to learn that many of the same principles of physics used in aerospace technology are used by top-tier engineering and manufacturing companies in the sanitation industry.

When residential toilets and water closets were introduced, engineers had to deal with the problem of applying enough water pressure into the bowl to flush away waste and prevent clogging. Regular water pressure from the mainline was irregular and did not provide enough flushing force. Moreover, that would have meant draining away water resources.

Fortunately, there were several clever minds interested in this particular problem. So after several trial and error attempts, they all decanted for a design that placed a water supply unit or tank directly above the bowl. This did away with the need of installing a costly extra pump for flushing and used gravity to supply the bowl with the necessary force and quantity.

As these became increasingly popular, and the masses became used to private sanitary facilities, they demanded the same convenience in communal environments. Commercial and public buildings soon started to adopt the newer sanitary technologies.

However, having a row of tank-operated toilets had its own problems, especially in men's rooms where flushing needed to be more constant, making it impractical to install water tanks that required users to wait for them to be filled in order to flush.

Fortunately, a man named William Elvis Sloan invented the Royal Flushometer, starting the Sloan Valve Company in 1906. It basically was a water-diverting valve that didn't require gravity to work. Instead, it used the pressure from the water supply system, keeping the access closed by a diaphragm operated by the user who could let new water run into the toilet or urinal with the use of a simple lever.

Of course, many other companies started offering their version of the flushometer, and this simple yet functional system dominated the market for at least half a century. Today, millions of commercial, industrial, and government facilities around the world have a version of these flush valves installed.

However, as anyone familiar with engineering knows, no technology comes without its own problems. The flushometer system was not water efficient, and other problems such as corrosion and material wearing plagued the flushometer tech at the time. For example, extended use would wear the equipment down, causing internal pieces to come loose and start leaking. This, of course, didn't sit well for those who had to foot the maintenance and water bills.

A then small company called Delany had come up with several products in this line. Their Flushboy hit the market in 1927 and became very popular given its added efficiency in terms of installation costs and durability. However, it was in 1948 when they stepped up the game with the introduction of their regulating screw in all of their Delany plumbing equipment, making it easy for plumbers and maintenance crews to externally adjust the valves and keep them tight without the need of opening up the system or replacing parts. This saved time, materials, and money, and allowed investors to keep their sanitary facilities in top condition more easily.

After that, Delany understood the need for constant improvement to stay on top of this game. New trends in environmentalism and even new medical science and discoveries, put sanitary technology literally under the microscope.

Even as early as the 60s, there were already studies about germ transmission in public sanitary facilities. And the renewed environmental awareness made it imperative for engineering companies to come up with technology that effectively addressed these new legitimate concerns.

Flushometer valves became more water-efficient, but not fast enough to make a visible impact on water consumption. It was in the 80s when Delany introduced the Hydro-Flush and the Sensor-Flush. Both products aimed to drastically reduce water consumption in public sanitary facilities with motion-activated and hydraulic activated valves.

Hydraulic valves opened the door for high-efficiency toilets that provide dual flush options, allowing 20%-30% less water consumption for liquid waste. This vastly reduced water consumption in sanitary facilities and set a global trend in water conservation efforts.

On the other hand, sensor-operated Delany valves reduced the need for physical contact from the users, greatly reducing germ propagation in public facilities, thus demonstrating the importance of technological advancements in the sanitary industry once more.

Fortunately for us, Delany Plumbing Equipment keeps innovating the field with designs that reduce the number of moving internal parts or even eliminate the need to turn off the water for whole buildings or wings just to fix a single control stop. If you want to know more about this awesome brand or would like to find affordable Delany repair kits and parts, browse through our website or contact our sales representatives.