The City of Nelson has found huge water losses in commercial buildings, especially from leaking toilets. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Leaking toilets a leading cause of water loss in Nelson commercial buildings

City project has saved 62.4 million litres of water per year so far

One leaking toilet can waste 178 litres of water per hour. That’s about 1.6 million litres per year per leaking toilet.

Consultant data analyst Rory Gallaugher reported that and similar statistics to a very attentive city council at its Dec. 3 meeting – statistics that are likely to have a major effect on Nelson’s water supply.

For several years the city has been installing water meters in industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) buildings in Nelson, for the purpose of data collection, following a recommendation in the city’s Water Master Plan, written in 2007 and updated in 2017.

The meters are equipped to monitor and track hourly, daily, and monthly water use.

Most ICI buildings now have now been equipped with meters, and over the past year, Gallaugher said, 40 to 50 of them have shown 24-hour continuous flows – water flowing in and out of the building continuously, even though the businesses are not open at night. The main reason is leaking toilets.

Gallaugher gave one persuasive example.

In a Nelson multi-unit commercial building, monitoring discovered a continuous 24 hour flow.

Gallaugher and his team discovered a leaking toilet (the main leak) as well as a secondary leak that was a water fountain that was triggering automatically throughout the night.

“This one toilet was leaking to a loss of 175 litres per hour,” Gallaugher said, “every hour of the day. One leaking toilet can lead to a lot of water use.”

He said most toilets leak for two reasons: the flapper will leak water or the floater is incorrectly adjusted and water is flowing into the overflow tube.

The building manager fixed the toilet.

“Eighty-two per cent of the water coming into that building was being lost in that one toilet,” Gallaugher said. “We got it down to zero per cent.”

This saved 1.5 million litres at this single facility over a year.

“So the numbers are quite shocking,” Gallaugher said. “It really really adds up. It’s so great that we can fix these things so easily.”

He said that in addition to toilets, the main water-loss culprits are swamp coolers, freezers, ice-makers and other appliances that cool with water.

In another example, Gallaugher said he worked with a building manager to fix an irrigation system, “which was pouring water into the parking lot.”

He offered the following projected numbers for the whole project, which will be completed in January.

• Prior to fix: 11.551 cubic metres per hour lost

• After fix: 4.425 cubic metres per hour lost

• Saved: 7.126 cubic metres per hour or 62,423,960 litres per year

Councillor Keith Page’s enthusiasm about this data was typical of the appreciative response at the council table.

“There are some significant water savings there, and we should be really proud of this work,” he said. “The signature problem identification I have seen here is just excellent.”

Plugging leaks in the water system complements another arm of Nelson’s water-saving efforts, the improvement of its water supply, with the goal of counteracting potential drought caused by climate change and wildfire.

Related:

Nelson council adopts water plan

Completion of Selous Creek line improves Nelson’s water supply



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

Boxing club owner Jesse Pineiro, Nelson’s 2021 sports ambassador, recommends the novel Hurry Home by Roz Nay, the new cultural ambassador, who has taken up boxing (at least for this photo). Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Nelson bestows annual ambassadorships, awards

Residents recognized for achievements in arts, sports, heritage and sustainability

South Columbia Search and Rescue called in the Nelson Search and Rescue and Kootenay Valley Helicopters to provide a long line rescue. Photo: BCSAR submitted.
Long-line rescue needed for injured hiker near Trail

Members of South Columbia and Nelson SAR and Kootenay Valley Helicopters did a long-line evacuation

The Civic Theatre’s Eleanor Stacey writes there’s plenty of evidence to show theatres will rebound after the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
COLUMN: The future of cinema is bright

Why we can all expect to be seeing films on the big screen again soon enough

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kamloops hospital grows to 66 cases

A majority of cases remain among staff at Royal Inland Hospital

Most Read