A particularly sobering thought comes from The Weekly Standard: "(W)hen federal law governs the way we flush toilets and take a shower -- and threatens punishment for defiance -- there is good reason to worry about the next particle of freedom on the progressive hit list." Sigh.A little googling brings us to this "Scrapbook" article in the weekly standard, though that piece is more about showerheads than toilets. But had Scaife's braintrust actually read the thing c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y they would have spared themselves the embarrassment of a brief history (or arithmetic) lesson.
First the Trib:
Of course, the move (nearly a decade ago) to toilets that allow only 1.6 gallons per flush...[emphasis added]And now The Weekly Standard:
Unless, of course, you find yourself in your bathroom, and look around. Over there is the federally mandated toilet which, in compliance with the Energy Policy Act (1992), flushes—or attempts to flush—its meager supply of 1.6 gallons of water. [emphasis added]Do I really need to remind my good friends at The Trib that it's 2010? And that 1992 is a little more than "nearly a decade ago"? Even if you take into account when the law went into effect (1994) that still doesn't wipe away the stain of them getting something so simple (addition and/or subtraction) so wrong.
But beyond that, what about the rest of the The Trib's paragraph? They say that the standards limiting flushes to 1.6 gallons:
[H]ave had the expected (to thinking people only) unintended consequences: Many folks end up using more water, not less. Double flushing often is required to get the job done (ahem) and longer showers are required to wash away soap and shampoo. Don't you just love the moronism of do-gooding?But is this actually true?
Not according to American Standard. This press release from 2004 (And Trib-guys? that would be about 6 years ago) is titled:
10 Years After Low-Flow Toilet Regulations Went Into Effect, Plumbing Innovations Make Major Inroads in Efficiency, FlushabilityAnd it says:
Ten years after the nation’s low-flow toilet regulations went into effect, the U.S. is saving more water every day, with the potential to save billions of gallons more in the next decade and beyond. And while toilet manufacturers continue to develop new technologies that make low-flow toilets more efficient, they also are fast increasing customer satisfaction.And they give a little history lesson:
In an effort to save water and increase efficiency in municipal wastewater systems, the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) was signed into law. Prior to this law, U.S. consumers were happy with their water-guzzling toilets, yet these fixtures were among the most water-consuming appliances in many homes, using anywhere from 3.5 gallons to 5 gallons per flush. In 1994, EPAct went into effect, requiring that all residential toilets be manufactured using the 1.6-gallons-per-flush standard.Safeplumbing.org has more:
Early on, toilets underwent considerable changes. While the majority of toilets worked well and did save water, some consumers were not satisfied with the performance of these new toilets. Driven by anecdotal complaints that household toilets simply didn’t work, some lawmakers even urged repeal of the federal law, albeit unsuccessfully. What consumers were saying was that they wanted to be 100 percent confident that their toilets would get the job done in one flush, every time. Manufacturers listened and continued to strive for improvements, and today the worry-free 1.6-gallon toilet is becoming a reality.
Indeed, there were problems with some toilets sold in the early-to-mid-1990s. Consumers complained about having to flush twice to clean the bowl, bringing water usage back up to 3.2 gpf; clogs created messes, as well as waste; and small water spots that made it harder to keep the toilet bowl clean and sanitary.So no, Taint true. The Trib would be wrong on the double flushing of the toilets. Indeed it's a story of an industry becoming more efficient and its products more beneficial to the public because of a piece of legislation. And wasn't that what that legislation was all about anyway?
The objective of the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 1992 was water conservation, but the objective of plumbing manufacturers was water efficiency. Fortunately, it didn't take long for the technology to catch up, and by May of 1998 a well-known consumer ratings publication found "several affordable low-flow toilets that work very well."
High-performance flushers hit the market earlier in this millennium. Using advanced hydraulic modeling techniques, engineers literally changed the way water moves through the channels of the toilet to eliminate waste. Newer finishes fired into the chinaware give more power to less water, actually improving bowl-cleansing ability over the old 3.5 gpf gushers.
Even when they're talking shit, they can't seem to get it right.