Monday, September 12, 2011

Ways to conserve water after a flood

After the record floods caused by Tropical Storm Lee, The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection asked residents of flood-stricken areas to conserve water to reduce the load on local wastewater treatment plants, many of which were be either partially or fully inoperable due to the flooding.

DEP recommends that residents, businesses and other institutions follow these guidelines after flooding affects their water treatment plants:

• If you have more than one toilet, use one for urination and use it at least twice before flushing. This can save five to seven gallons per flush. Users should keep toilet lids shut and keep children and pets away from toilets that have not been flushed. Avoid unnecessary flushing by disposing of facial tissues and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
• Place a plastic jug of water or commercial “dam” in older toilet tanks to cut down on the amount of water needed for each flush, which can save more than 1,000 gallons a year.
• Verify that your home is leak-free. Many homes have hidden water leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
• When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water and a second sink or basin with rinse water. If additional rinsing is needed, quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet. Wash fruits and vegetables in a basin, not under running water.
• Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
• Store drinking water in the refrigerator and do not let the tap run while you are waiting for cool water to flow.
• Wash clothes and use the dishwasher only when you have a full load, and set it to use the minimum amount of water required.
• Take quick showers and save an average of 20 gallons of water.
• Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving, saving more than five gallons of water per day.