EPA Sets WaterSense Specifications for High-efficiency Toilets

On Jan. 24, EPA announced the release of final specifications for the latest generation of water-saving, high-efficiency toilets. Those that use less than 1.3 gallons per flush and meet performance standards for quality will qualify for EPA's WaterSense label to help consumers make informed buying decisions about water-efficient products.

"The WaterSense label will help consumers identify high performing, water efficient products," said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water, Benjamin H. Grumbles. "By purchasing WaterSense labeled plumbing fixtures, consumers can help protect the water supply and their wallets."

The new toilets are the product of extensive research in fluid dynamics conducted over the last six years, officials said. While the exterior differs little from traditional toilets, interior redesign and new mechanical approaches significantly improve flow and reduce water usage.

During the development of its WaterSense program, EPA analysis determined that toilets represented a significant target for its water-efficiency activities. Toilet usage accounts for nearly one-third of home water consumption.

It is estimated that high-efficiency toilets can reduce water bills by about 10 percent. Replacing older, inefficient toilets, which are responsible for much of the water wasted in American homes, could save more than 900 billion gallons of water a year -- enough to supply almost 10 million households.

WaterSense-labeled toilets are certified by independent laboratory testing to meet rigorous criteria for both performance and efficiency. Only high-efficiency toilets that complete the third-party certification process can earn the WaterSense label.

WaterSense is a voluntary public/private partnership that recognizes high-performance products and processes. The WaterSense program also seeks to promote consumer use of water-efficient products, certification for water industry professionals, and innovation in water-efficient product manufacturing.

Companies that manufacture, sell or distribute household plumbing fixtures are encouraged to join the WaterSense program, which is also open to water utilities, trade associations, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations.

Additional information on the specifications for high-efficiency toilets can be found at http://www.epa.gov/watersense/partners/specs/het.htm.

This article originally appeared in the 01/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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