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Great Lakes Article:

Mayors float ban on wasteful toilets
By John Spears

Toronto Star
Published May 3, 2007

The Ontario government should ban inefficient toilets just as it proposes to ban inefficient light bulbs, say mayors from around the Great Lakes.

Civic leaders taking part in a meeting of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative at Toronto City Hall yesterday voted to back the proposal from Toronto Mayor David Miller.

Low-flush toilets use about 6 litres per flush, while new conventional toilets cycle 13 litres. Older toilets use as much as 20 to 25 litres per flush.

While the province already requires builders to install low-flush toilets in new homes, there's no requirement that replacement toilets be low-flush, Miller said.

Switching to minimal-volume toilets means cities don't need to pump and purify as much water, or treat as much sewage, which takes a lot of energy.

"If the province banned non-low-flow toilets, as many American states have done, we could make a huge difference in water conservation and electricity consumption," Miller said.

Toronto offers a $60 rebate to property owners who install a low-flush toilet. A rebate of $75 is paid for installing dual-flush toilets, which give the user a choice of a 3-litre flush for liquids or a 6-litre flush for solids.

Each year, about 4 per cent of toilets in Toronto single-family homes are replaced, according to city staff. If all of those replacements were low-flow models, in 10 years the city would save about 26 million litres of water a day.

That would eliminate the need for nearly $60 million in water and sewage-treatment capacity.

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