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Consumer Tips

Water Conservation

Water is a vital and limited resource. It is crucial to conserve water. Between the years 1980 and 2000 Americans have more than doubled their water usage. In many areas severe shortages already exist. We must learn to conserve water now, to avoid severe shortages in the future.

By saving water you can also reduce your water, sewer, and utility bills while easing the burden on water storage, purification, distribution, and treatment.

There are four basic ways to save water: economize, repair leaks, install water- saving devices, and reuse water.

Water Savings Tips

The following are some water saving suggestions that you may find useful:

Dishwashing: Wash dishes in standing water after you wipe grease off dishes with a paper towel or cloth. Turn off faucet frequently, and you will save over 20 gallons of water a day. Soak pots and pans before washing.

Tooth brushing: Don’t let water run while you brush your teeth. Rinse your mouth with water in a glass and you will save over a gallon of water each time you brush.

Shower & Bath: Plug the drain before you run water. Take shallow baths. Keep showers short with pressure at low force. Bathe small children together. Reuse bath water to use on lawns and shrubs, and for heavy cleaning jobs (e.g. floors, cars, etc.).

Sink: Fill bowl with water instead of letting water run when you wash or shave. Try a faucet aerator to reduce the amount of water used.

Toilet: Flush only when necessary. Don’t use as a wastebasket for cigarette butts or disposable diapers. Install water saving displacement devices. “ When it’s yellow, let it mellow, when it’s brown, flush it down”

Laundry: More than 10% of all water used in the home is used in the washing machine. Use the load selector to match water level to size of load. Try to wash full loads whenever possible. Presoak heavily soiled items. If buying a new washing machine, choose one with conservation features.

Cleaning: Use a pail or basin instead of running water. Use sponge mops instead of string mops (uses less water for mopping and takes less water to keep clean).

Lawn & Garden: Water slowly and thoroughly during cool, shady, and windless times of the day. Let grass grow taller in hot weather. Use judicious amounts of mulch in the garden and around shrubs to conserve moisture. Plant shrubs that don’t need a lot of watering.

Car Washing: Wet car quickly, turn hose off, wash car from a bucket of soapy water, and rinse quickly with hose. Used water is fine for cleaning chrome, hubcaps, and wheels.

Leak Detection 

  • Check the small red (leak detection) dial, found between the 7 & 8 on the face of the new water meter. If this dial is turning when you think the water is not being used, this indicates a leak somewhere inside the house.
  • Check for leaks from faucet. A slow drip can waste 15 to 20 gallons a day, fix it and save 6,000 gallons per year. Most leaks are caused by worn out washers, which often can be repaired by the homeowner.
  • Check for leaks from toilet tanks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. Without flushing; wait 10 to 15 minutes; if the color shows up in the bowl, you have a leak. It’s possible to lose up to 100 gallons a day from an “invisible leak”, that’s more than 30,000 gallons per year. Nearly 90% of all residential leaks are caused by leaks from toilet tanks.
  • Check for leaks from tub faucets and showers. Replacing old showerheads with low flow models can save 5 to 10 gallons per minute.
  • Detect for leaks on service lines by listening for a “hissing” noise at your water meter when no water is being used inside the house. You could have a water line that goes to another building, such as: (1) front house to rear building; (2) house to garage. If you suspect a problem, you should contact your plumber to check this out.

* Note that water loss due to leaks in a multi-family building are multiplied by the number of units in the complex.

Water Loss Chart

Appearance 

Brown or Red Water
...If your cold tap water appears brown or red it is probably mineral deposits (tuberculation) in your water caused by:

  • Water main break
  • Water or sewer workers flushing fire hydrants
  • Vibrations caused by construction
  • Children playing with fire hydrants

Cloudy Water
...If your water appears cloudy in winter or early spring it is most likely trapped air. Cold water has a much greater capacity to hold gas than warm water, and if this tendency is combined with a faucet aerator, your water may appear cloudy due to air bubbles. If the water is allowed to sit for a short while, the bubbles will eventually rise to the surface and dissipate.

To report these problems, call the water dept. at 851-4749. Once the reason has been identified and the disruption of the water main has ceased, run your cold water tap until it clears.

Taste & Odor

Chlorine Taste
...After chlorination there remains a minute amount of chlorine in tap water known as residual chlorine. This residual is necessary to maintain a disinfected water supply. Many consumers dislike the inherent taste. The following are some ways to eliminate or improve this taste:

  • Expose water, in a clear uncapped bottle, to sunlight for one hour, and the smell of chlorine will be removed.
  • Cool water to less than 60°F in the summer. Cool water definitely tastes better. If the smell of chlorine is removed before cooling, the taste will be much better.
  • Leave water in a kettle overnight. The smell of chlorine will be removed.
  • Boil water for 5 minutes in a kettle with the lid off, cool to room temperature, then place in a refrigerator with the lid on, but not air tight, until cool.
  • A well-maintained point-of-use charcoal filter will eliminate the smell of chlorine.

Bitter Medicinal Taste
...Another common cause of taste & odor in tap water are PVC supply lines. PVC can impart a bitter medicinal taste to water that is allowed to stagnate within a supply line. To eliminate this problem, run the water until the taste & odors has dissipated or change the supply line to a material other than PVC.

Sewage Smell
...A non-functional drain trap can give the illusion of a sewage smell in tap water. This is due to the introduction of sewer gas from the drain whenever water is flowing through it. Repairing the drain trap will eliminate this problem.