TexasIsHot – Energy Efficiency

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Jul 27 2011

City kicks off toilet giveaway program to save water

CORPUS CHRISTI — Residents have until Aug. 26 to apply for one of about 2,000 high-efficiency toilets the city is giving away to promote water conservation.

To receive one, a resident must own or rent a home built before 1994, be in good standing with the utility billing department and agree to recycle the old commode through the Solid Waste Services Department. There is no income requirement to receive a new toilet, which will be available on a first-come, first served basis and limited to one per resident.

Applications are available through the city’s utility business office and water department and corpuschristihet.com.

The free toilets are a one-time offer being paid for with a portion of a $2.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. About $226,535 went toward a contract to purchase toilets.

Corpus Christi is one of three large Texas cities where an average household of four uses more than 800 gallons a day, or 24,000 gallons a month, according to a 2010 Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club report.

A report published in March found Corpus Christi’s 234 gallons per capita water use ranks second to Dallas when compared with 18 Texas cities. A four-person household in Corpus Christi uses 936 gallons a day, compared with Brownsville’s 496 gallons, according to the report by the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, a Texas environmental advocacy group.

City officials say water consumption numbers are skewed by Corpus Christi’s large number of industrial users, which make up 40 percent of consumers.

Energy efficient toilets could save a household about 1,500 gallons a month. The city also saves because it will use less energy and chemicals for water treatment.

The toilet rebate program is a part of the recent city efforts to ramp up water conservation programs, which have been stagnant for several years. Similar toilet rebate programs exist in several other Texas cities, including Austin and San Antonio.

A large majority of Corpus Christi homes were built before 1992, the year regulations for low-flow toilets took effect. Some older toilets use as many as 7 gallons per flush, compared with the 1.28 gallon toilets offered through the city program.

Residents who receive a high-efficiency toilet will be required to recycle their old one with the city’s Solid Waste Services Department. Old porcelain toilets will be cleaned, crushed and recycled into oyster reefs in the bay under a partnership with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Read More From Jessica Savage at the Corpus Christi Caller Times.

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