BAKERSFIELD, CA - We should all be looking for ways to conserve in our state as we face ongoing water woes. People can take shorter showers, not water lawns as often, and go to the bathroom outside. Yes, a Bakersfield man has invented a way guys can conserve at the can.
It's called "Sweet Pea." It's basically an outdoor urinal for men. Because we are in a drought, and everyone has to go at some point, inventor Mike Henson thought now was the time to throw Sweet Pea into the marketplace.
As a third generation farmer and professional landscaper at Maranatha, the custom clay can was his next pit stop.
"You know, I would be in the backyard taking care of the flower beds and I would hear, "You kids! Don't go in the house soaking wet. Go over there and pee in the flower bed." And, I'm thinking, I'm going to be digging in that in a little bit," said Henson.
Henson came up with the backyard Sweet Pea a year and a half ago. It’s a decorative clay sculpture with a drain fitted to a pipe.
"This fits down into the pipe and it's shaped so it won't splash and the urine runs out real quickly," said Henson describing how his invention works.
Its patent is still pending. But, as our state has seen so little rain this year, Henson couldn't hold it any longer.
"But as the drought got worse, I thought just throw the dice and let them go," said Henson.
And speaking of going, our state's 16 million men go, on average, six times a day. That's two gallons a flush. That's 192 million gallons of water a day.
"They're cool," said customer Erica Hurley. "I'm definitely going to look into more about it and see where we can put one and eventually have one one day."
Henson says Sweet Peas can drain deep into the ground. A three-foot pipe will bury the business. And, Henson says it won't harm plants. Or, Sweet Pea's pipes can be thread into the clean out line leading to the sewer.
"There's no air that brings the stench back up like a porta-potty or porta-bathroom. The air (from those) you can smell them a block away," said Henson.
Each is handmade and kiln-fired into a flower, acorn, beehive, or fish, sure to lure urine to the loo.
The Sweet Peas take three to four weeks to make and run $150 to $350. There is not one designed yet for women, but Henson says it's in the works.