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Fort Worth, Arlington continue programs offering free toilets

10/24/2012 11:08 PM

10/24/2012 11:21 PM

For the fourth year, both Fort Worth and Arlington are giving away free toilets as part on an ongoing effort to conserve the region's water supply.

With the average person flushing five times a day, toilets can account for about 30 percent of home's indoor water usage, said Dustan Compton, Arlington's conservation program coordinator. Older toilets, such as those made before 1992, can use up to 7 gallons per flush while new models work with 1.28 gallons of water.

"We have to supply water for a growing population. When we are looking 50 years down the road, projections are showing our population is going to double. Our water supply is not going to keep up with that," Compton said about the North Texas region. "The cheapest source of new water is using the water you have now more efficiently. The easiest way to do that is with new fixtures."

Fort Worth plans to distribute about 7,000 toilets this fiscal year to residents and business owners as part of its SmartFlush Voucher Toilet Distribution Program.

Participants must be Fort Worth water customers who own or rent a home or a commercial property built before 1994 and have existing high-flow toilets that use more than 3 gallons of water per flush.

Switching to the 1.28-gallon toilets resulted in an average 20 percent decrease in water consumption during winter months for Fort Worth residents, department spokeswoman Mary Gugliuzza said. That could mean an average savings of $76 per year, she said.

Qualifying residential customers can receive up to two free toilets. Fort Worth distributes vouchers on a first-come, first-served basis and does not maintain a waiting list. Applications are available online at www.savefortworthwater.org.

Arlington has about 150 toilets remaining out of the 950 high-efficiency toilets it will distribute to residents this fiscal year through its Go With the Flow toilet giveaway, Compton said.

Residents with toilets made before 1992 can apply on the city's website at www.savearlingtonwater.com.

Once approved, participants will be given a voucher to pick up one or two free 1.28-gallon toilets, which are paid for with fees collected on high-water users' water utility bills.

The first 400 toilets went to Arlington applicants on the waiting list after last October's giveaway, he said.

Susan Schrock, 817-709-7578

Twitter: @susanschrock

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