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courtesy of Supply House Times magazine, August 1999
by Pat Lenius

Residential customers in Hollywood and southwest Los Angeles were offered the opportunity to have free ultra-low-flush toilets delivered at no cost to their homes in August.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is spearheading this water conservation effort with help from community groups including the Korean Youth Community Center, ADRO Environmental, Asian American Drug Abuse Program, CBH Inc., Watts Labor Community Action Committee and ADVANCE, a nonprofit Latino group.

A canvass of these neighborhoods was scheduled for Aug. 28. Other neighborhoods had been canvassed earlier. New toilets were to be delivered to the homes of those residents who accepted the offer the same day. Old toilets will be picked up for recycling.

“We have been offering free 1.6-gal. toilets for seven years, but customers had to go to the local community group’s warehouse to pick them up or had to arrange for their own purchase and delivery,” S. David Freeman, general manager at the Department of Water and Power, said in a statement. “This door-to-door program enables us to provide the best possible customer service.”

The purchase of the low-flow toilets and the management of distribution is being handled by Honeywell DMC Services, a local contractor, said Thomas Gackstetter, water conservation coordinator at the Los Angeles DWP.

Richard Owens, program manager of the contractor’s efforts at Honeywell DMC Services, negotiates the price of the toilets with local wholesalers and direct with some manufacturers. Among the companies Owens is working with are the following distributors: Desert Industrial Supply, Lancaster, Calif.; Mission Valley Pipe & Supply, San Diego; and the Los Angeles office of Ferguson Enterprises (formerly Familian Corp.). Other firms involved include California Water Conservation Co., San Jose, Calif.; Niagara Conservation, Cedar Knolls, N.J.; California Conservation Resources, Yorba Linda, Calif.; and Western Pottery, a manufacturer based in Southgate, Calif., Owens said.

The canvassing of homes and free home delivery of ultra-low-flush toilets has been ongoing since February, Owens said. “We plan on buying 60,000 to 80,000 units this year,” he said. “We have learned that it is best not to work with only one distributor or one manufacturer.”

The DWP estimates that customers can save up to $35 a year on water bills and thousands of gallons of water by switching to 1.6-gal. toilets.

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