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
We've become our own worst enemies
The past month has been marked by a seeming unprecedented number of man-made tragedies, as distinct from those caused by violent outbursts of the natural world, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis.
Plenty of blame to go around for Bangladesh horror
After last week's act of ``corporate terrorism'' in Bangladesh, the irony is that worker advocates there are asking western consumers not to boycott the retailers or the clothing linked to the poor Asian nation's garment industry.
Obama is going against his word on Social Security
President Obama in his proposed budget posited cuts to Social Security cost-of-living increases as a way to get Republicans to go along with higher taxes on the wealthy. It's a strategy that's likely doomed to fail, and if it doesn't, it will tarnish his legacy as a Democratic president.
Reflecting on a Florida trip
After spending two months in Florida, on the southwest coast, I have returned with a few major impressions of the region's wildlife, and some experiences that are entirely unique for me.
Those magnificent spies in their flying machines
- Tuesday, March 5, 2013
2nd Amendment needs rewritten for 21st century
Over the years, I have written mostly about peace and the way our world leaders infringe upon it with war, personal freedom and the way our government tries to steal some away, and the environment, which is under constant assault by corporations.
- Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Cuomo, Obama aren't necessarily environmentalists
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and President Obama both are stalling on making major environmental decisions on energy development proposals. Meanwhile, the opposition is building as the climate-change issue gains momentum with each new statistic and extreme weather event.
- Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Like newspapers, obituaries have evolved
When I left The Daily Star a few years ago, I promised our news clerk that I would be sending along my obituary so she could keep it on file. That way, when the time came, all she would have to do is plug in the date.
- Tuesday, January 8, 2013
We get fooled again on FISA amendments
While everyone was busy teetering on the edge of the fiscal cliff 10 days ago, there was little fanfare or outrage when President Barack Obama signed a five-year extension of a Bush-era surveillance program.
- Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Fracking in N.Y. poses dilemma for Gov. Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who could be squaring off with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, is stuck between shale and a hard place on the question of whether to allow fracking in the state.
- Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Keep up-to-date on condition of fuel-oil tank
Former Oneonta residents Rob Kamerling and Cynthia Marsh Kamerling had a lot to be thankful for this past Thanksgiving -- family, friends, good health and a new community near Boulder, Colo.
- Tuesday, November 13, 2012
U.S. inches closer to edge of 'fiscal cliff'
I'm not sure who came up with the term "fiscal cliff," but it has been bouncing around for decades with one meaning or another. Now, with looming spending cuts and an end to tax cuts at the end of the year, the phrase has become a fearful household word.
- Tuesday, October 30, 2012
My two votes for McGovern weren't nearly enough
Back in the 1960s, a verse in a folk song by Barry McGuire proclaimed ``you're old enough to kill, but not for votin'.'' That's because the voting age was 21, while you could join or be drafted into the military at 18.
- Saturday, October 20, 2012
A 'democratic' system, but with caveats
- Saturday, September 29, 2012
Violence over film goes much deeper than blasphemy
- Saturday, September 8, 2012
Calling Ryan's words 'lies' is an understatement
It's no shock to learn that our presidents lie. Nixon did it. Clinton did it. And George W. Bush did it. What is shocking is that they are so easily forgiven, or that we so easily forget.
- Saturday, August 18, 2012
A few titles to help answer the deep questions
I have had a copy of Wittgenstein's "Philosophical Investigations" in my library for about 40 years now, and only one person has ever borrowed it.
- Saturday, July 28, 2012
Crying 'Marxist' alone is not a valid argument
It is strange that so many people like to throw around the "Marxist" label whenever someone advocates a little more planning for our economy or supports a more-inclusive and less-profit-making health-care system.
- Saturday, July 7, 2012
Affordable Care Act doesn't make care affordable
When the Supreme Court upheld the health-care reforms known as "Obamacare" as constitutional last week, there were not nearly as many people cheering as there were jeering, though often those jeers were for the wrong reasons.
- Saturday, June 16, 2012
An independent bookseller reads her market well
- We've become our own worst enemies