Birch Bay officials urge conservation

Published on Thu, Feb 7, 2008 by Jack Kintner

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Birch Bay officials urge conservation

By Jack Kintner

The city of Blaine is working with Birch Bay Water and Sewer District (BBWSD) to promote indoor water conservation as an efficient way to manage their shared water supplies.

Birch Bay water conservation specialist Emily Resch said that while Blaine and BBWSD stress outdoor water conservation during the summer months when peak demands occur, most water use actually takes place inside the home. “According to EPA, about 70 percent of residential water consumption comes from indoor use,” she said, noting that most city and district customers are residential.

The bathroom is the place to begin in reducing indoor domestic water consumption, Resch said, because that’s where more of it is used - and wasted - than in any other room. The toilet accounts for 27 percent of indoor water use followed by showers at 17 percent.

“Three simple steps can significantly reduce water use in the bathroom,” she said. “Detecting and repairing leaks, installing low-flow showerheads and reducing shower times to five minutes.”

Toilet leaks can waste up to 200 gallons of water each day, and they’re relatively easy to repair once identified.

Installing a low-flow showerhead can save more than 500 gallons a week. Reducing showers to five minutes or less can save up to 1,000 gallons per month.

Resch said that under normal conditions, no water should move from the toilet tank to the bowl except when it’s flushed, and if it is, then it’s leaking, but if it’s slow it may not be obvious.

To detect a toilet leak, Resch recommended placing a few drops of food coloring or a dye tablet in the toilet tank and waiting for 30 minutes. If you see colored water in the bowl, you have a leak. In most cases, leaks can be fixed by replacing the flapper valve at the bottom of the tank that keeps water in until flushed.

Leak detection tablets are available to water customers at Blaine’s Public Works office and the district’s office. Leak detection tablets, toilet repair kits and low-flow showerheads are relatively inexpensive and can be found at local hardware stores. Resch recommended devices that have a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute.

Other indoor conservation tips include turning off the water while brushing your teeth, operating the dishwasher and clothes washer with full loads and investing in water-efficient appliances.

For more information, call Blaine public works at 332-8820 or Resch at 371-7100.