This is all about the flush.
But don’t blush, or cuss, or wish I would hush, because even a lush knows many toilets gush way too much.
Yes, I was looking at a newspaper advertising insert the other day and noticed that some modern toilets selling for less than $100 offer 1.1 gallon tanks, which are much smaller than the older models that remain prevalent in so many of our older homes, apartments and businesses.
On the same day, I couldn’t help but read about Oneonta spending $20,000 for some out-of-state firm to come up with a new motto and logo for the community.
Talk about a waste of money. At least we can be thankful that it was not entirely tax dollars. The project was funded by a coalition that included local colleges, businesses, municipalities, cultural organizations and other groups, Given the results, ``Life Enjoyed’’ set on a background featuring a black-eyed Susan, I kept thinking that the money could have been used for a variety of more-useful purposes.
Of course, many other people, including members of the editorial board of this newspaper, also were disappointed with what was obtained for the money. And some suggested that, indeed, other, more important community needs could have been addressed instead.
Like 200 new and efficient toilets, or how about 50 percent funding for 400 of them, or some formula based on income for 500 or more. And such a project would have benefits far beyond the lower water bills for those who do the flushing.
You see, older toilets typically used up to seven gallons per flush. Over time, tank sizes were deceased to a standard of 3.5 gallons. Many older homes still have that size and, unless you load the tank up with bricks, that’s a lot of water going down the drain.
The standard size in recent years has been lowered to 1.6 gallons, but that’s only if you have a newer model. Just by switching to the 1.6-gallon variety, experts say, the average family could conserve more than 3,000 gallons of water a year and trim its annual water bill by up to $100.
Oneonta has a reservoir and wells, and only during severely dry seasons have there been issues with drought. But saving thousands of gallons of water per family with an upgraded toilet, at least partially financed with the money wasted on the ``Life Enjoyed’’ New Hampshire outfit, sounds like real community progress.
And now, the more efficient toilets on the market use as little as 1.1 gallons per flush.
According to federal Environmental Protection Agency, the average person likely will flush the toilet nearly 140,000 times during a lifetime. Based on that, if every home with an older, inefficient toilet replaced it with new 1.1-gallon model, the EPA says nationally we would save nearly 640 billion gallons of water per year, equal to more than two weeks of flow over Niagara Falls.
As we know, what goes in must come out, so in addition to conserving thousands of gallons of water a day in Oneonta, more-efficient toilets also would prevent all those wasted gallons of water from going to the wastewater treatment plant. It could then be operated more efficiently and less costly.
I’m sure the Susquehanna River would be much healthier without that excess wastewater discharged each day. Imagine if all communities up and down the river stopped releasing so much water into it each day. It certainly would be a good way to help clean up the river.
Then there’s the question of how a community such as Oneonta comes up with hundreds of new and efficient toilets. Naturally, it could be a boon for local home-improvement stores.
Split the order between all the local suppliers and factor in the installations for those who aren’t the do-it-yourselfers, and you’re talking lots of business and perhaps even some jobs.
On a national scale, such a project would mean millions of new toilets and perhaps thousands of jobs.
But it is too late now for that $20,000 ``Life Enjoyed’’ payout. In the future, however, there will be other opportunities, and the city, town and community groups should keep the value of such a project in mind.
Some say one of civilization’s greatest achievements are the modern sewage and wastewater treatment systems.
A progressive next step would be to help communities make flushing more efficient by conserving water and producing less waste.
Cary Brunswick of Oneonta is a freelance writer and editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.
This is all about the flush.
- Cary Brunswick
'Insurgent' or 'patriot' can be hard to define
A common perception may have been that writing human history is a mere description and explanation of events. We know better now, however, that even the driest facts are colored by the language and ideology of those doing the writing.
Gaskin and The Farm filled a void
Stephen Gaskin, who died July 1 more than 40 years after founding one of the largest and longest-surviving communes in American history, knew that it was healthy for people to have a meaning in life.
We shouldn't be surprised by Iraq's turmoil
"It's clear the violence will not end until there is hardly anybody left to fight or die in a civil war our government blindly did not foresee.''
Brunswick column on hiatus
Two-tiered Internet is a bad idea
I have to admit I was always a little surprised back beginning back in the 1960s and since that you could find just about any book, no matter how subversive or radical, in most American bookstores.
- Tuesday, May 13, 2014
New York should follow Vermont's lead
Now that Vermont has approved a law requiring the labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients, it is time for New York state lawmakers to do the same.
- Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Government is failing to protect us
American governments, at all levels, for a century have been increasingly forced to step in to protect people from big business, whether in our factories, the supermarket, our cars, nearby streams and even the air we breathe.
- Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Government lost trust by spying on us
Flaws in that little padlock on people's supposedly secure Internet sites have sent users in recent days scrambling to change passwords and question whether they should keep providing sensitive information in their online interactions.
- Tuesday, April 1, 2014
History hurts our credibility on Crimea
What? President Obama had to try to justify our invasion of Iraq so that the U.S. does not look ridiculous in condemning Russia's intervention in Crimea.
- Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Hardships, repression, don't get Cubans down
Two weeks ago, I wrote that it was time to normalize trade and diplomatic relations with Cuba. President Obama has made some progress, but not enough and too slowly.
- Tuesday, March 4, 2014
It's time for warmer relations with Cuba
It has been 55 years since Fidel Castro and his bands of nationalist fighters and supporters took over the government of Cuba. The United States immediately took issue with that regime change, and ever since has had serious problems with the tiny nation just south of the Florida Keys.
- Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Unconventional events changed my outlook
On the night of Aug. 28, 1968, I put away my books, turned on the 13-inch, black-and-white television and sat down to check on the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. I hadnâ€™t planned to watch it, since Vice President Hubert Humphrey was supposed to be a shoo-in for the presidential nomination. But I had heard reports on the radio of unrest both inside and outside the convention hall, so I decided to tune in.
- Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Keystone XL pipeline is still a terrible idea
It is hard to believe, in fact unbelievable, that a government report could claim that the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline would have no major impact on the environment and not contribute to more airborne carbon pollution.
- Tuesday, January 21, 2014
We shouldn't trade privacy for security
If it were not for Edward Snowden, President Barack Obama would not have been making a major speech Friday about the government's massive spying program, acknowledging that debate about surveillance practices is important and will "make us stronger."
- Tuesday, January 7, 2014
I'm pleasantly surprised by Pope Francis
When some Internet websites reported just before Christmas that the pope had made some startling remarks about Catholic doctrine, my first reaction was that, "boy, was I ever wrong about Francis being a rotten choice for pope.''
- Tuesday, December 24, 2013
After 15 years, sharing my words still worthwhile
I keep wondering, if our high court had not declared George W. Bush president after the 2000 election, what would I have written about during those eight years that he led the nation.
- Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Obama knows if you've been bad or good
``This weather is terrible,’’ the president said to an aide as he boarded Air Force One for his flight to the North Pole. ``I was expecting all this snow and ice up there, but not here in Washington.’’
- Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Instead of boycotting, buy locally
Buy Nothing Day, that international day of protest against rampant consumerism, is traditionally reserved for Black Friday in the United States and for the next day, Saturday, in other countries.
- Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Don't expect high scores from hungry students
It seems odd, almost irrational, to hear all the talk of the new Common Core teaching methods and tests to measure student and teacher performance without first figuring out how to address the biggest problem many schools face: poverty.
- Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Obama's stuck between a rock and a hard place
Poor President Obama. If he hasn't had a rough enough time of it dealing with House Republicans lately, now the facts are surfacing that we have been spying on dozens of world leaders, many our allies.
- 'Insurgent' or 'patriot' can be hard to define