Pa. town attacks guzzling toilets Residents offered $75 to get rid of inefficient toilets.

March 04, 1992|By Knight-Ridder News Service

PHILADELPHIA -- Officials in suburban Dublin Borough are touting a new kind of potty training to save water.

The council is offering residents $75 for each water-guzzling toilet they remove and replace with an efficient one.

Councilman Joseph P. Biebl said he got the idea of replacing the commodious commodes from that pipeline of innovation, Carmel, Calif., the drought-plagued town that once had Clint Eastwood as mayor.

Dublin, he said, often has to conserve water because of its rocky terrain, which does not hold moisture well, and the severe groundwater pollution that has landed the town on the Superfund cleanup list.

"If you have a five-gallon toilet that works, there's no motivating factor to promote conservation," Mr. Biebl said.

"So that's why we offered the rebate."

Only eight people in the last year have taken up Dublin's offer. Residents have to install toilets using less than 1.6 gallons per flush, and they have to dispose of the old toilets themselves.

But the idea also has been taken up by the nearby North Wales Water Authority, which has replaced more than 225 toilets in the last year, and is now replacing about 15 a month.

North Wales, which has paid $17,000 for more efficient toilets, is the only utility "east of the Mississippi" to make such an offer, manager Peter Lukens said.

Like Dublin, the water authority pays $75 for each toilet replaced and limits each household to two new efficient toilets, or $150 in rebates.

New water-saving toilets start at $49.

"This is something we're encouraging everybody to do," said Jeffrey Featherstone, a policy analyst at the Delaware River Basin Commission, who estimates that a stingier toilet can save $50 to $200 a year.

Mr. Biebl knows firsthand.

When his neighbor's well went dry several years ago, the neighbor drilled a new one for $2,500. But when Mr. Biebl's well went dry, he installed two ultra-low-flush devices and cut his consumption by 50 percent.

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