You could ALMOST eliminate it. Few realize just how little sulfite is needed if you take precaution to keep the developer airtight (glass or PET plastic filled to the rim). I could get away with using only about 5 grams per liter. And you will have a sharper image too, because the sulfite will not be 'destroying' (softening) the silver grains.
But take a good look at the contrast which might be lower because of the lack of hydroquinone. Really, there is little better than the marriage of metol and HQ.
Yes, pierods, PH is important to consider here since sulfite is actually alkaline. Add a bit of carbonate, maybe one gram or so. - David Lyga