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New York City Adopts Water-Saving Plumbing Code

The Big Apple will get much greener in 2011. That's when a series of amendments to the New York City Plumbing Code projected to save a billion gallons of water each year will take effect, including a measure that prohibits the use of potable water for once-through cooling systems.
 
The city's Urban Green Council proposed the amendments at the direction of the mayor and the City Council speaker in 2008. The cooling-system amendment went into effect Jan. 1, 2011, as did an amendment that requires alarms and sub-meters to detect water leaks and monitor usage on water equipment.
 
Two other changes will become mandatory July 1, 2012: one that lowers the maximum water consumption flow rate or quantity for certain plumbing fixtures and allows the installation of dual-flush toilets; and a law requiring drinking fountains in commercial buildings to have a separate faucet designed to fill a container with water.
 
The code changes apply to new construction and the repair or replacement of existing structures and fittings.
 
"A typical New Yorker uses 125 gallons of water every day," said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "That's quite a bit of water. And sometimes, in our day-to-day, we tend to take it for granted, as other cities and countries across the world struggle to find access to fresh water. But I'm proud to say that our legislation today will do its part to make sure that New Yorkers are using water wisely, not wasting it. Our legislation has the potential to save more than a billion gallons a year!"
 
New York City is not alone in adopting greener building standards in building and plumbing codes. Los Angeles and Chicago are among other municipalities that have approved changes, and California's green building code became mandatory statewide on the first day of 2011.



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