During the past year, a small number of those claiming to be the only experts who know anything about water efficiency have been approaching governments and regulatory bodies to warn them about dual flush toilet mechanisms. They have no experience in the testing or manufacturing of dual-flush mechanisms and so paying them heed is being questioned.
A number of intelligent, and environmentally aware people are converting their 1.6-gallon (6.0-litre), 3.5-gallon (13-litre), 5-gallon (19-litre) or more fixtures from a single-flush, tank-type gravity toilet to a dual-flush toilet and saving significant amounts of money simply by converting the mechanism within to dual-flush. My own water bill is 80.00 a year less. The essence of a dual flush mechanism is that it offers 2 sizes of a toilet-flush, which can’t help but save us money. In many cases toilet makers oppose the sale of these devices, as they are the one thing that changes the essence of how a toilet operates. Additionally, if they don’t sell more porcelain, they won’t make any money. Since the vast majority of people have a toilet, that can absolutely be made to be more efficient, this is cause for doubt about the motivation of those pushing us to buy toilets
While the goal of reducing water use in the home is admirable, there are endless cases in which low flow toilets have been shown to clog, require more water to actually flush away solid waste, are not built in concert with proper engineering of the rest of the plumbing system, and are of questionable financial- and life-value. Two primary reasons for this are…
(1) The removal and replacement of an older piece of equipment with a new low-flush toilet ignores the reality that the plumbing in every building was engineered to carry solid waste with a given volume of water. A lack of that water leads to solid matter lying still in a pipe, which becomes a clog beyond the toilet. This is especially so in MURBs, (Multiple Unit Residential Buildings). The finest experts will agree that 1.6-gallon and 1.28-gallon toilets have finely tuned hydraulic characteristics. Such tuning helps allow a smaller amount of water to move waste through the toilet bowl. The aging, less finely tuned pipes that the waste flows into have are an enormous problem. Failure to change the profile of the plumbing pipes will adversely affect flow performance, leading to total system clogging. In a perfect scenario, a new 6-liter toilet would be used with plumbing that is on a greater slope and which has a much smoother interior than almost all-existing sewage pipes in all buildings.
(2) Every toilet has a carbon footprint. That footprint is a function of mining, drying, firing, glazing and transporting porcelain. So, while some water is conserved through lower flushes, enormous amounts of Co2 are being emitted into the atmosphere which in turn causes global warming, and a decrease in the pH levels of the oceans (an increase in acidity) Most of the factories are based in China where the primary source of energy is low quality coal. 80% of all energy in China is generated with burning coal. At this point few if any Chinese industrial cities have air that is clean enough to be able to meet the more relaxed Chinese air quality standards, which are far below those of other parts of the industrialized western world. Many of the cities are so badly smog-ridden airplanes are regularly rerouted, as visibility is too poor to see to land.
Other factors to be considered by those installing, recommending, or subsidizing these low-flow toilet products are:
(1) Ethics of manufacturers that knowing sold the North American Population toilets that were not properly engineered.
(2) Redundant making of porcelain fixtures leads to equally un-necessary installation costs, transportation costs and income taxes.
In conclusion, the purchase, endorsement, or subsidy of these low-flow toilets should be
approached with much caution and eyes wide open. If an individual or agency wishes to proceed, however, they should: (1) insist upon full repayment of amount received for sales of 6 L toilets that were previous supplied and clogged from day one due to mismatched tanks and bowls; (2) require that the product be installed in properly engineered buildings only with plumbing that does the job of carrying solid waste through the entire plumbing system; and (3) insist that the manufacturer prove he has considered the necessary slope of the pipe, diameter, and materials, and the probable condition of the pipe materials after varying lengths of time in use beyond the individual toilet (e.g. cast iron, clay, plastic, and so on) and that the waste will actually move
Finally, it is our opinion that the water savings potential and cost-effectiveness is much greater with the use of toilet retrofit devices even if the toilets meet the above requirements, as the air pollution at stake is staggering. At such time that a toilet meets the standard, is independently tested, and demonstrates that it will not adversely affect the overall performance of plumbing or do harm to the environment, we will report that information