Low-Flow Toilet Giveaway Begins Again

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The town of Payson is embarking on a second round of free toilet replacements in September.

Through the program, the town's residential water customers whose houses were constructed before 1991 can receive a free Toto low-flow toilet. A Japanese brand, Toto is considered the best toilet on the market, Jeff Durbin, town water resource specialist, said.

"The Toto is a very expensive toilet, but we wanted to make sure it was going to last and that there would be no flushing problems," Durbin said.

The town plans to offer anywhere from 400 to 900 toilets during this round of replacements. The final number will depend on whether federal money becomes available to offset some of the cost. During the initial toilet replacement in 2002, 550 toilets were replaced, with the town and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation sharing the cost on a 60-40 basis.

Town water customers who want to participate need to fill out an application at the water department during the week of Sept. 22 to 26, at Payson Town Hall, 303 N. Beeline Highway.

If demand exceeds supply, a lottery will be used to determine recipients. Successful applicants will be notified by mail.

The low-flow toilet replacement program is part of a concerted conservation effort by the town to reduce consumption.

Low-flow toilets use 1.6 gallons of water per flush, a savings of at least two gallons over older models. According to a cost-effectiveness study conducted by the town, the average household can operate the new Toto toilet on $45 worth of water a year, compared to $110 for older models.

Participants can drop their old toilets off at the water department after the new ones have been installed. Waste Management is once again hauling the old toilets to the landfill free of charge, so the town only has to pay the landfill disposal fee.

Other conservation programs:

  • Commercial Retrofit Program

The town's commercial retrofit program provides low-volume toilets and waterless urinals for retrofit of existing fixtures in qualified nursing homes, schools and town-owned buildings. The program may be expanded to high water use businesses if funds are available.

"All commercial facilities have to retrofit their fixtures by Jan. 1, 2005, so they need to take advantage of our program," Durbin said. "The town is providing toilets to some facilities such as public buildings, and others we will assist with no-interest loans or such."

  • Share Program - Residential

This program will provide 100 low-flow toilets to low income customers who have demonstrated problems paying water bills. Full installation cost assistance is also available.

  • Residential Hot Water Recirculating System Installation

Through this program, $200 in cash assistance is available to 50 owners of existing single-family homes for installation of a home hot water recirculating system.

  • Public School Landscape Assistance

This program will provide $10,000 to Payson public schools for conversion of existing turf areas to natural or granite surfaces.

  • Ongoing programs

The town still offers free shower heads and faucet aerators to its water customers. Dye kits to check for toilet leaks are also available from the water department at no charge.

"They're real simple," said Scott Stratton, town water resource technician. "If you get the same color water in the tank as you do in the bowl, you know you have to replace your flapper."

Town water customers can also call the water department to schedule a free audit of their home. The most common problem uncovered by audits is over watering.

"People often over-irrigate, especially native or established trees," Stratton said. "It's a pretty simple thing to figure out by using a moisture meter or just observing the health of the tree. It's just a waste because trees can only utilize so much moisture."

For more information, call the water department at 474-5242, ext. 4.

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