Town Offers Discount Program To Reduce Water Use

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With the deadline looming for businesses to convert to waterless urinals, the Payson Water Department is making the fixtures available to commercial customers at a reduced price.

"According to the new water conservation ordinance, businesses that maintain rest rooms have to upgrade their fixtures, and the most expensive requirement is to install waterless urinals to replace flush-type urinals," town water resource specialist Jeff Durbin said. "Flush-type urinals use a minimum of 1.5 gallons per flush, and there's some out there that use three to five gallons."

Participating businesses can purchase waterless urinals through the town for $252 each and pay for them interest-free with their water bills over a 12-month period. Participants also have the option of paying the total cost of the urinals at the time they are received.

"We are purchasing high-quality urinals in quantity at a reduced price and will pass those savings on to the participating businesses," Durbin said.

The new ordinance, which took effect March 1, 2003, requires all businesses that do not have up-to-date water conservation fixtures in their rest rooms to retrofit them with modern fixtures by Jan. 1, 2005. In addition to replacing flush urinals with waterless urinals, the ordinance also mandates the replacement of older toilets and sinks with 1.6-gallon low-flush toilets and self-closing faucets.

"Only businesses that already have urinals are required to remove them and replace them with a waterless urinal, but businesses that do not have a urinal but would like to install one qualify for assistance also," Durbin said.

The 12-page water conservation ordinance, one of the toughest in the nation, is primarily aimed at outside water use and is based on the previous year's rainfall totals.

"(We enacted the new ordinance) to look out for the existing water supply and our existing customers," Buzz Walker, town public works director, said. "Almost every day you'll pick up the paper or a periodical or hear on the news that the predictions of the experts for continued drought are gloomier and gloomier. We don't want to get into trouble, so that's why we're taking these measures now."

Under the new ordinance, water waste of any kind is prohibited, as are new turf areas, artificial water features such as ponds and lakes larger than 50 gallons are prohibited, plants that require spray irrigation and the use of misters. Charity car washes are encouraged to utilize commercial car washing facilities and automatic shutoff nozzles are required for all outdoor uses.

The town recently earned a major award for its water conservation efforts from the Bureau of Reclamation, besting communities large and small in a three state region.

Business owners who want to participate in the waterless urinal program must fill out a brief form at the water department at 303 N. Beeline. The urinals will be delivered to the business when they arrive, but the business is responsible for the cost of installation.

Questions about the program should be directed to Jeff Durbin or Scott Stratton at (928) 474-5242 ext. 380.

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