Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Are you flushing precious resources down the drain? – January 15, 2010

Are you flushing precious resources down the drain?

I had to examine this question after reading Mr. Komorowski’s article on the water meter question a while back.

Mr. Komorowski suggested that local government consider a program to subsidize low flow toilets before looking at purchasing and installing water meters to encourage people to conserve treated water.

Installation of low-flush toilets has been the law in Ontario since 1996.  Low-flush toilets use 6 litres or less per flush.  Our house was built before this time so we have recently ordered and will soon have at our disposal a model that will be more efficient in using the water resources we need to look after our daily needs.  I am pleased to report that we purchased this product locally from a reputable dealer who has been in business in this community for some 60 years.  Our new water efficient model will be installed in the coming week.

There are many municipalities throughout North America that offer incentives and subsidies to exchange their water hunger old technology for these newer water miser counterparts.  Should Cornwall be so inclined to offer this to residents what would happen to the older models?

Although there are ways to repurpose a discarded toilet such as a flower pot, or by creating a funky piece of art work, toilet recycling facilities generally crush the porcelain and use it to make concrete for roads and sidewalks once all the extraneous hardware is removed.

We would certainly wish to locate a reputable toilet recycler before instituting a low-flush toilet program here to insure these older toilets do not languish needlessly in our landfill sites when they can be recycled effectively.  Pick up of toilets are available in some Canadian cities for a nominal fee by reputable recycling facilities.

Some of the low-flush technology, although approved by the CSA is not as efficient as others.  Do ask questions of friends, retailers and plumbing professionals about these newer toilets.  They will help guide you to a purchase a model that will serve you well. is a site that I found that gives results of low-flush models that they have tested.  Also, read maintenance information that comes with your new toilet as some cleaning materials can damage some of the flushing materials that equip your new toilet.  We look forward to incorporating a throne in our daily lives which is going to be a little kinder to our kingdom.

On another note Cornwall and District Environment Committee has moved their bi-monthly meetings to the Cornwall Library.  The meetings are open to anyone who wishes to attend.  Next meeting is January 19th, 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. in program room one.  CDEC’s Mission is ‘to take care of our environment for ourselves and our children’.

Your comments about this column are appreciated and encouraged.  Kindly contact


  1. Great article Jacqueline! Did you send a copy to City Council?

  2. City Council is not interested in conservation, as they proved by their installation of old style street lights on Kaneb Drive, rather than energy saving LED lights.

    But the name of the game is conservation, not revenue grab. Many areas that have had water meters introduced have seen their rates go up to cover the reduced demand for water. In other words, the utility’s income remains the same, the only difference is that some people will pay a little more, others a little less. The same will happen in Cornwall, and even if water consumption is reduced overall, few citizens will actually benefit.

    The province has subsidized compact fluorescents, energy star air conditioners, LED Christmas lights, etc., all in an effort to save electricity. Why can’t city council lessen the load on its sewage facility and subsidize low flush toilets with the money it would otherwise waste on meters?

    And also, where will these meters come from? Perhaps from a friend of a friend in Montreal, who just happens to have a half million surplus meters imported from connections in Sicily?

  3. Right on Watcher!!!

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