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Part 3: Restroom Retrofit Cuts Water Use by Half at Detention Center
By Dan Hounsell, Editor
May 2014 -
Plumbing & Restrooms
Bartlett says he has been more than pleased with the results of the retrofit. A June 2006 meter reading showed that the facility had been using 116 gallons per person per day.
"As we moved through the project, the numbers start coming down," he says, adding that current readings show the savings are around 16.8 million gallons per year. "As of 4/30/2014, the inmate population was around 710, and the meter reading was 50 gallons per day. It has gotten as low as the low 40s.
"It's astounding because that's water that doesn't have to be pulled out of the aquifers, it doesn't have to get pumped, and it doesn't go down the sewer lines. Out of all of our energy-saving methods, this was probably the most successful one. We ended up doing (the same retrofit) to our juvenile hall, as well, after this project."
The retrofit's benefits go beyond the bottom line.
"In addition to less water waste, the new system has minimized the problems with clogged pipes, flooding, and the related safety and security issues and maintenance costs, creating a cleaner, more sanitary environment for staff and inmates," he says. "It has also significantly reduced the number of foreign objects turning up in the municipal sewer system, saving maintenance costs incurred by the city of Santa Rosa."
Bartlett points out one unexpected complication from the retrofit — a flow of water that at times was too low.
"The one thing we did that I maybe would do differently is that when we installed the controls, we probably were a little too aggressive right off the bat," he says with regard to setting flow levels. "You need a certain amount of water flowing through the system to keep the pipes clear, and we probably started off too low and then had to turn it up, which resulted in more water use. So if I had to do it again, I'd probably start at a more conservative number and then tune down so it looked liked we were achieving better and better water savings, instead of being too low and having to come back up a little bit."
Online Exclusive: Past FMD Achievement Award winner
Part 1: Plumbing Retrofit in California Detention Center Captures Savings
Part 2: Specification Considerations for Detention Facility's Plumbing Retrofit