Water agencies giving away low-flow toilets

Three local water agencies have planned two upcoming days to
distribute free ultra-low-flow toilets in an effort to promote
water conservation in the county.
Three local water agencies have planned two upcoming days to distribute free ultra-low-flow toilets in an effort to promote water conservation in the county.

Water customers of Hollister, Sunnyslope County Water District and San Juan Bautista can pick up free toilets on either March 22 or April 26 at the Public Works yard, 1221 South St., if their toilets were installed before 1992. Before that time, typical systems were either standard-flow or low-flow, which do not conserve water as well as the ultra-low-flow toilets.

The three districts are a part of the Water Resource Association.

The city is particularly keen to conserve water because of its wastewater problems over the past year that included a 15-million gallon sewage spill May 4 at the wastewater treatment plant. As part of the state’s Administrative Civil Liabilities fine against the city for that spill, Hollister in January paid $126,000 to the WRA for such conservation programs.

The program is part of larger water conservation efforts of the WRA, which is funding the program that will cost between $30,000 and $50,000, depending on the number of residents requesting toilets. Utility Manager Jim Perrine said he hopes for 400 to 500 requests. And he said there is no limit for each household.

“If they have three toilets in the house, they can get three for free,” Perrine said.

Recipients must bring a copy of a water bill and identification that matches the address on the bill, Perrine said. Once the household has installed the free toilet, it must bring in the old unit. Otherwise, the city will charge $75 on the next water bill. If residents do not own their home, the owner’s written permission is necessary, Perrine said.

“We would encourage all landlords to participate in the program,” he said.

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