Water Conservation: It just makes $cents!!
- How much do we have?
- How much do we really use?
- How do we use it and how can we save it?
We have loads of water in Ontario, so why should we care?
Every ounce of water that enters your residence has to be pumped. That costs you money. All water leaving your residence must be stored, treated or removed. That costs you money. As we use more water, those distribution systems must be upgraded. That costs you money. Dispersing and disposing of water means maintenance. More maintenance means more money.
From a purely economic point, you pay for water use. Maintenance costs are controllable. Switching over to a high efficiency water product is not only good for the planet, but it is also very good for your wallet. We need to face the fact that saving water isn’t just the right thing to do for the earth; it is the right thing to do to save us money!
Here is a breakdown of how the average family uses water:
- Toilets 36%
- Shower 35%
- Laundry 11%
- Other 18%
Total = 100%
Even the most conscientious environmentalist doesn’t want to give up household comfort. Take for example, the toilet. The majority of people still have old style toilets that waste too much water. The typical toilet still uses 13 litres or more of water with every flush. Today, there are a number of good quality low flow toilets that perform while saving 50% of water consumption.
So what does this mean? Simply you have a lot of choice. Being “green” in the past meant sacrifice. It meant sacrifice in performance, extra costs and definitely to the look of your home. This is no longer the case. Sustainability is about innovation, not sacrifice!
Many people in North America still think of low flow toilets as “bad technology” introduced in the 1990’s. They worked on six litres of water, but “didn’t really clear the bowl properly, and plugged constantly”. That is because those old toilets used a siphon action to pull waste out of the toilet bowl.
When they reduced the amount of water being used they had to reduce the size of the outgoing pipe or trap - way in the toilet in order to get that same siphon action. With trap -ways that were often less than two inches in diameter, it’s no wonder they plugged all the time.
- Certain dual flush 3L/4.8L toilets use a wash down system that has been used all around the world for decades,and are the only toilets on the market that feature a full four inch trap -way.They work well every time and they simply don’t plug.
- Certain 3L single flush toilets feature a revolutionary new flushing system, harnessing the dynamics of air, water and pressure. As the inner chamber fills with water, air is forced through a small transfer tube which helps to pressurize the trap-way. With each flush the waste is
quickly and quietly evacuated from the bowl.
The Coalition of Haliburton Property Owners Associations has tested a Canadian Invented 3 litre toilet.
We were so impressed with it that we are arranging for Haliburton County TIM-BR Marts to carry the toilet. It is called the Water Matrix Proficiency toilet and is available in:
- a regular model-N7716 and
- a comfort height, elongated bowl model-N7717
Now let’s look at septic systems. Hydraulic overload (too much water use in a short period of time) is one of the leading causes of septic system failure. Two significant things happen with too much water use. Fine solids are stirred up and pushed out of the septic tank and into the tile bed causing bio-matt build-up in the stone layer preventing effluent from leaching into the ground easily. Nutrients, both dissolved and suspended, exit the tank and enter the environment through the buried pipes in the tile bed intern leading to a lake,stream, river or wetland,where they can cause excessive algal growth and even blue green algal blooms in severe cases.
The source of hydraulic overload can be caused by high volume toilets, leaky flapper valves in toilet tanks, too many loads of laundry in one day, long showers, etc. The smaller or older your septic tank the more important it is to use low volume water fixtures-namely shower heads and toilets.
The life expectancy of septic systems can be significantly increased with proper use, common sense and maintenance. There is a myth out there that says septic systems need lots of extra water, this is false.The septic tank is always full-one drop down the drain equals one drop out the end and into the tile bed. Excessive water use only flushes nutrients and undigested solids into the environment.
Some common sense ways to help mitigate this is to use low flow, dual flush toilet systems or even waterless toilets as they do in Scandinavian countries. It is important to use an approved microbial septic treatment (EEST) which contains appropriate bacteria to accelerate the breakdown and conversion of nutrients by bacteria to mineral ash, water, carbon dioxide, heat and more bacteria, which all lead to cleaner effluent leaving your septic system and a healthier lake environment. Using biodegradable cleaning compounds, avoiding chlorinated, phosphate and antibacterial products goes a long way to keep septic systems operating well and polluting less.