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Low-flow toilets to be offered for free to Alhambra residents


900 South New Avenue
Alhambra , CA United States

It's a whole new take on drive through convenience: With help from the Alhambra High football team, you can get a brand new toilet without even getting out of your car.

On May 14, Alhambra residents can exchange their old toilets for new, low-flow ones at "The Great Toilet Giveaway," a joint effort between the City of Alhambra, the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, and ConserVision, an environmental consultation firm. The event will take place from 10am to 2pm at the Alhambra City Yard on 900 South New Avenue.

Members of the Alhambra High football team will be on hand to load a new toilet into cars. Participants will be required to install the new toilets within three weeks, then drop off their old toilets at the same location on June 4th from 10am to 2pm. The event is reserved for Alhambra residents only. A water bill and driver's license must be presented to obtain a low-flow toilet. More information can be found at the Alhambra city website (PDF file).

The aim of the project, according to Claudine Meeker, deputy director of utilities for the City of Alhambra, is to promote water conservation among local residents. Aside from being more friendly to the environment, low-flow toilets can also save the city money, Meeker said.  "In a financial sense, it's good to save water. Water is a resource, and the more you save, the more money you save."

Older toilets have a tendency of being "sneaker leakers," according to Meeker. Unlike leaking faucets, leaking toilets are hard to detect because they expel extra water directly into the bowl, which goes unnoticed to the naked eye. Low-flow toilets also use less water per flush. Users can save up to 40,000 gallons a year by switching their old toilets for low-flow ones, according to the water management initiative, WaterSense.

Alhambra has participated in the toilet giveaway for 13 years, with the Alhambra High football team pitching in for the last seven. The team will receive $15 for each toilet given away. The money goes toward sporting gear such as footballs and sweats.

The event has become a sort of tradition for the team, said head coach Lou Torres. He sees it as a team-building workshop where players are required to coordinate their efforts. Mark Keppel High's football team had participated in the past, and the sense of rivalry between the two teams were evident, prompting each one to outwork the other. In the end, however, it was about establishing a feel for teamwork, Torres said. "The kids look forward to it. They take pride in the work. It really shows who the leaders are."

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