By Joel Hall
The Clayton County Water Authority is now offering cold hard cash to customers willing to stop flushing it down the toilet.
Starting today, CCWA customers who own or rent a home that was built in 1993 or earlier and replaced their toilets with more efficient models are eligible for a cash rebate from the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District.
Those who replaced their pre-1993 toilets -- which generally use 3.5 to 8 gallons per flush (gpf) -- with Ultra Low Flush Toilets, that use 1.6 gpf, can get a $50 rebate. Those who replaced their old toilets with High Efficiency models, which use 1.28 gpf, can get a $100 rebate.
Mike Thomas, general manager of the Clayton County Water Authority, said that the newer, more efficient toilets can save water users 1,000 gallons per month per household and often reduce a family's monthly bill by 25 percent.
"When it comes to inside use, the toilet is one of the biggest water users," said Thomas. "With the new toilets, you can save about three and a half gallons a flush, so it is pretty significant."
Thomas said that High Efficiency and Ultra Low Flush toilets generally look the same as older toilets, but are designed to use the water more efficiently. He said the toilets could be purchased at most hardware or home improvement stores for $100-$300 for High Efficiency models and $80-$200 for Ultra Low Flush models.
"The newer, high efficiency toilets have a better design in how they purge water out of a bowl, but you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference," by comparing one with an older toilet, Thomas said. The rebate incentive, "will help us reach our conservation goals that the state has given us and it will help people save money."
Toto USA -- one of the country's leading toilet and plumbing manufacturers with a manufacturing center in Morrow -- currently has more High Efficiency toilets on the US market than any other company. Lenora Campos, public relations manager for Toto USA, said the recent droughts in Georgia and other states have made people reconsider their water usage.
"There is a very interesting attitude about water," said Campos. "We believe that it's an inexhaustible resource, but its not. Water is a finite resource and we are starting to feel that."
Campos said the High Efficiency toilets made by Toto uses "high head pressure" which essentially uses gravity to move water through the bowl at a higher speed. The action "creates a siphon jet that removes the waste from the bowl in one flush."
"It's a sound investment," said Campos. "Those toilets will pay for themselves in two years."
Campos said the company is also starting to introduce toilets which have a lower flush settings for liquid waste and toilets with cleaning and drying systems which eliminate the need for toilet paper all together. She said it takes 37 gallons of water, a pound and a half of wood, 1.3 kilowatts of energy, and several toxic chemicals to produce just one roll of toilet paper.
"We're being called again to think about a lot of things that we have taken lightly," said Campos.
The rebate applies to any Ultra Low Flush or High Efficiency toilets purchased after September 28. Rebate applicants must have an original receipt and there is a maximum of two toilet rebates per household.
To apply, contact the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District directly at (404) 463-8645 or www.northgeorgiawater.com/toiletrebate.