DEP Initiates High-Efficiency Toilet Replacement Program

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced a new program to replace as many as 200,000 inefficient toilets in up to 10,000 buildings citywide. The first phase of the program will target between 7,000 and 10,000 owners who participate in DEP’s Multifamily Conservation Program (MCP). The MCP provides qualified multiple-family housing of four or more dwelling units with billing based on a fixed charge per unit in lieu of billing based on metered charges. The program objective is to promote water conservation in multiple-family housing, while giving owners control over their water and wastewater costs.

The toilet replacement program intends to replace older toilets with high-efficiency models that use 1.28 gallons or less per flush. It’s anticipated that this will save approximately 10 million gallons of water each day. The toilet replacement program is part of DEP’s broader efforts to reduce demand for water by 5 percent citywide, ahead of the planned shutdown and repair of the Delaware Aqueduct, which currently supplies about half of the city’s drinking water. In addition to helping ensure the city has an adequate supply of healthy drinking water during the temporary shutdown of the Delaware Aqueduct, the 5 percent reduction in consumption will reduce electricity, chemicals, and other costs associated with operating the water system.

The residential toilet replacement program aims to build on the success of a similar program that ran from 1994 to 1997 and replaced 1.3 million toilets, reducing citywide water consumption by 90 million gallons per day. Applicants cannot have participated in the original DEP Toilet Rebate Program (1994-1997) or have existing water-saving toilets, and cannot be in arrears with their water/sewer account without a valid payment agreement in place. Applicants must have a functioning water meter and AMR box, as their consumption will be monitored.

DEP will mail information to qualified customers on how to participate, which will include filling out an application on DEP’s My DEP Account website to receive a $125 voucher that can be redeemed at a participating vendor for the purchase of a high-efficiency toilet. DEP has determined there are several toilet models certified as high efficiency by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that sell for $125 or less. In the future DEP hopes to broaden the program to include smaller residential buildings that could replace an additional 550,000 toilets and save a total of 30 million gallons of water each day citywide by 2018.