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New Law Regarding Indoor Plumbing to Take Effect

In September of this year, a new law regarding indoor plumbing fixtures will take effect statewide.

This blog explores what is contained in the law, what is affected, and why this law is not revolutionary.

Beginning in September 2016, you will not be able to purchase a new non-conservation-oriented indoor plumbing fixture in Colorado. For the purpose of this blog, we’ll focus on residential toilets, though this also includes faucets, showerheads, and urinals. The new law, SB 14-103, was introduced at the Capitol by a representative from Fort Collins in 2014. It proved to be a very well-received piece of legislation, and a 2015 attempt by another lawmaker to modify it readily failed. After Governor Hickenlooper’s June 2014 signing of the bill, Colorado joined only Georgia, Texas and California with these requirements. Supporters say it will save the state, which is experiencing constant water supply concerns due to a rapidly growing population and a changing climate, as much as 13 billion gallons of water a year. Billion!!!!

SB 14-103 requires all new applicable fixtures sold in Colorado to be in compliance with federal WaterSense standards. For toilets, this means they cannot exceed 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf). The biggest difference homeowners might see when they visit their local retailer is the absence of 1.6gpf toilets. 1.6 used to be considered “low flow.” Today, that figure represents the maximum volume allowed by federal law. This is much different than what many Denver-area HOAs have in their units. Many Colorado HOAs built during the 1970s and 1980s had 3.5 or even 5.0 gpf toilets installed in them when they were completed. So many HOAs continue to have these original toilets installed in them today.

This law is very meaningful and will save a great deal of water for Colorado, but it is by no means revolutionary. Homeowners who have elected to replace their old, water-chugging toilets have been replacing them with lower-flow toilets for quite some time. Have you heard of any homeowners that would want to replace those old clunkers with fixtures that use just as much water? That wouldn’t be very financially wise.

In summary, homeowners probably won’t notice much of a change resulting from the new law. There will be no fines for those with old toilets, nor is there any expectation for homeowners to swap out their old toilets right away. However, for those wanting to upgrade their old fixtures and take advantage of rebates while they last, CAP Management can help. From first steps of negotiating contracts to seeing the final rebates entered into HOA reserve accounts, our sustainability department can help your homeowners association save money and water. Reach out to our Chief Sustainability Officer Alex Bergeron at 303.832.2971 ext. 102 or to learn more.