Delphi Questions: Auto-flush technology, flag flying
Question #448 (received 13 April):
I've been wondering ever since they were installed exactly how the
"auto-flush" toilets are supposed to save water . . . or are they? I've
never seen the advantage in them, but when, recently, and not for the
first time, one flushed three times while I was in the stall, I thought
they must actually be wasting water. I'd like to get an explanation of
what their advantages are and what causes them to get out of adjustment.
Does Maintenance rely on employees to call and report malfunctions, or
do they check the mechanisms routinely? Thank you.
Response (April 26):
Auto-flush (sensor-operated) valves on toilets and urinals primarily
serve a sanitary function by insuring that waste is not left standing in
the fixtures. When combined with low-flush-rate fixtures, sensor-
operated valves will conserve water. Fixtures in the Mesa Lab operate at
between 2 and 3 gallons per flush. Recommended flush rates for water
conservation fixtures are 1.6 gallons for toilets and 1.0 gallons for
urinals. The sensor-operated valves at the Mesa Lab were installed
approximately nine years ago based on recommendations at that time from
the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP). I have been unable to find
a current FEMP recommendation for sensor-operated valves as a water
conservation tool except for hand washing. A documented account of water
conservation utilizing sensor-operated valves at the Denver Federal
Center can be found
on the Web.
I spoke with a customer service engineer at Sloan Valve Company, the
manufacturer of the sensor-operated valves at ML, about your question.
The infrared sensor operating the valve is part of a microprocessor
circuit that is affected by power problems and can cause the sensor to
malfunction. In most cases the problem can be corrected by resetting the
microchip. I have passed this information and the procedure for
resetting the units on to the maintenance people responsible in this
Although maintenance personnel do regularly check bathroom facilities
for leaks, there is no routine check of sensor operation. Maintenance
does rely on employees to report malfunctions to the maintenance request
line at X1120.
Thank you for you question.
John Pereira, director
Physical Plant Services
Question #451 (received 14 June):
On the occasion of Flag Day, I have a question for you: Why is it that
there is no flag being flown at the Mesa Lab (recognizing the obvious
answer that there is no flagpole!)? As a national institution, and being
a site that is frequented by the public, it seems odd that we do not
have one at least somewhere on the grounds. Even in the Main Seminar
Room, the American flag gets shoved around more like it's a nuisance
than an official emblem of our nation. Shouldn't we try to do a little
better than that?
Delphi coordinator's note: Questions about flying the American flag
at UCAR/NCAR facilities have been raised several times in the past:
1975, 1983, 1991, and 1994.
Response (June 21):
The question posed is both complicated and simple. It is complicated
because there is a wide range of opinions among staff regarding the
appropriate display of the flag. What pleases one person may seem
inappropriate to another. It is simple in that UCAR and NCAR management
have addressed this issue numerous times since the 1970s, at which time
it was decided to display the flag in the lobby area at ML and more
recently in the lobby of FL. This practice has been successful and is
deemed by management as the most appropriate way to show respect for the
flag. As for the flag in the ML Main Seminar Room, it will be moved to
an appropriate location in the ML lobby.
Steve Sadler, director
Safety and Site Services
Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted
in confidence to the coordinator, Janet Evans (ext. 1114, ML room 517).
They should be submitted in written form, preferably via interoffice
mail in a sealed envelope marked confidential; they must be signed.
Detailed procedures for submitting questions are given in the UCAR
Policies and Procedures Manual,
Questions and answers of general interest to staff are submitted to
Staff Notes Monthly by Janet. They may be edited for publication.
For more information, including links to questions and answers published
in Staff Notes Monthly and a log of all questions submitted since
1995, see the
Delphi Service Web page.|
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Edited by Bob Henson,
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
Last revised: Wed Jul 19 13:56:38 MDT 2000