NYC Council Approves Dual-Flush Toilets, Stricter
New York City is looking to make its plumbing code much, much greener.
The City Council on Oct. 14 approved a package of bills that, starting July 12, 2012, would increase water efficiency standards for such plumbing fixtures as new toilets, showerheads, urinals and sink faucets. The fixtures' efficiency and compliance would be verified through a third party under the United States Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense program.
If Mayor Michael Bloomberg signs the legislation, the city's ban on dual-flush toilets — which do not comply with city code — would be lifted, and toilets used in renovations or new construction either would have to have a maximum flow rate of 1.28 gallons per flushing cycle or be of the dual-flush variety.
Also included in the package is the requirement for separate spouts on water fountains for drinking and filling containers, and the mandate that commercial buildings have alarms and sub-meters for detecting water leaks.
Supporters of the changes say the city could save 60 billion gallons of water each year, while opponents cite significantly higher costs — as much as 50 percent in some case — and concerns about government intrusion into private citizens' lives.
The changes would affect new construction, large renovation projects and homeowners requiring a permit from the Department of Buildings to replace bathroom or kitchen fixtures.