Local News

New Toilets Have Condos Flush With Savings

Posted September 4, 2007 4:42 p.m. EDT
Updated September 4, 2007 6:51 p.m. EDT

— A simple change in a local condominium complex has saved owners money and water in recent months.

Managers of Cedar Court replaced 91 toilets , most of which were installed before 1980, with new, low-flush commodes. Water use at the 50-unit complex has dropped by about 140,000 gallons a month since the change.

"Just to see how much of a difference we've actually made, it is overwhelming," manager Ann Aylward said, noting the bill to condo owners was cut in half.

The toilet swap was part of an effort to shore up leaks in the Cedar Court condos to save money. But officials with Orange Water and Sewer Authority said low-flush toilets, which use three-and-a-half gallons less than older models, are a huge water conservation move more people should consider.

"Toilet flushing is the largest single use of water at residences," said Greg Feller, public affairs administrator for OWASA, noting is usually accounts for about a quarter of water used in homes.

Feller estimated that 31,000 toilets in Chapel Hill and Carrboro aren't low-flush, meaning more than 100,000 gallons of water is wasted each day if those toilets are flushed just once.

Water conservation is OWASA's main concern during the ongoing drought, which has left its three reservoirs at about two-thirds of capacity. But Feller said homeowners can also save about $160 a year on their water bills by installing a low-flush toilet.