LA votes for lower low flow plumbing ordinance

Posted on | July 22, 2009 | 4 Comments


Reporters tour a mens room in the Los Angeles Convention Center. Urinals once requiring 1.5 gallons per flush now require 1/8th of a gallon. Savings at the Convention Center's 190 urinals alone are estimated at 1 million gallons a year.

LOS ANGELES: Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti,  City Councilmember Jan Perry, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power General Manager David Nahai and representatives from the environmental and business community gathered at the Los Angeles Convention Center this morning to introduce a water conservation ordinance capable of saving an estimated billion gallons of water over the next 20 years.

The ordinance, which was passed unanimously hours later by the City Council, will set yet lower low flow plumbing standards for toilets, urinals, faucets, showerheads and dishwashers in new buildings and retrofits of existing properties.

Individual families installing the latest toilet models should expect savings of $90 per year.

Plumbing conservation into the system in addition to the calls to the public to willingly conserve is necessary,  said DWP’s  Nahai, because voluntary conservation by the citizenry is not consistent. “Behavior modification is not something you can rely on forever,” he said. “It’s like gas prices. They go up and people drive less.  They come down and people think the crisis is over. “

During debate at the City Council, District 15 Councilmember Janice Hahn pressed DWP presenters over why the current measure does not include “purple pipe” features involving gray water recycling. “We know it’s going to happen some day in LA. Wouldn’t this be the right time?” she asked.

Presenters from the city responded that there was too much work to do reconciling conflicting regulations between different city agencies, including Sanitation and Building and Safety on the handling of  waste and storm water. Gray water ordinances would need to be incorporated into a later low impact development ordinance.

“I’m in favor of this ordinance, I just can’t wait till we get to the next step,” said Hahn.

District 11 Councilmember Bill Rosendahl supported the plumbing changes, but wanted to know what his constituents could do.

“Fix leaks,” responded a DWP official.

DWP officials hastened to add that response to the two-day lawn watering ordinances that came into effect in the City of Los Angeles on June 1 have produced the second lowest June demand for water on record.

Click on the Leed-certified Convention Center mens room to be taken to the City Clerk’s records of the legislation.


4 Responses to “LA votes for lower low flow plumbing ordinance”

  1. Lenora Campos, Ph.D.
    July 22nd, 2009 @ 6:15 pm

    People will want to do their homework because not all high-efficiency — 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf) — toilets are created equal. I’ll admit I’m biased since I work for TOTO USA, which makes really beautiful, water smart toilets. If it takes two to three flushes to clear the bowl on a “high-efficiency” toilet, it’s not saving water. To learn more about how high efficiency toilets work, check out:

  2. Ilsa Setziol
    July 23rd, 2009 @ 10:14 am

    It would be great if there were some kind of “leak advice” line. I recently shelled out $3,000 to fix a small leak. I was told I needed a pressure control system. When it leaked again a few months later, the same company pushed a $3,000 water softening system (which I did not buy). When it leaked again another plumber filed and sealed and solve the problem for $75. I’m guessing many folks would not persist and would live with a drip.

  3. Jeff
    July 24th, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

    I wonder if they will count dual flush toilet conversion kits like SelectAFlush. I found they save as more water and they cost almost nothing.

  4. admin
    July 26th, 2009 @ 8:20 am

    Here is a link to the LADWP web page “Looking for Leaks.”

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