"Fix a Leak Week" March 12 - 18, 2012

Photo by Wikipedia.com

Photo by Wikipedia.com

The Lake Champlain Committee (LCC) is joining with the EPA’s WaterSense Program to promote Fix a Leak Week. Fix a Leak Week encourages Americans to find and fix water leaks at homes and businesses. “Leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water loss in an average home every year—enough water to wash nearly ten months’ worth of laundry,” said Lori Fisher, LCC Executive Director. “As a WaterSense partner, we are encouraging consumers to find and fix leaks to save water.”     

Wasting water can contribute to lake pollution. Sewage treatment facilities remove phosphorus pollution from the water that leaves our homes. However, the efficiency of pollution removal at the sewage treatment facility decreases when sewage is diluted by leaked tap water. Furthermore, municipal drinking water systems often add a phosphorus containing compound to drinking water to prevent lead from leaching from old pipes. This compound must then be removed from wastewater before it enters Lake Champlain. Of course, removal is not 100% efficient, so waste of water leads to additional phosphorus pollution.

Wasted water also means wasted energy. Water must be pumped from its source, often Lake Champlain, to its end use in houses, apartments, businesses, and institutions. “Moving water to where it will be used is a highly energy intensive process,” notes Fisher. “Letting a faucet run for five minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours.”

To help save water, the Lake Champlain Committee asks consumers to check, twist, and replace:

  • Check for leaks. Look for dripping faucets, showerheads, and fixture connections. Also check for toilets with silent leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring into the tank and seeing if it appears in the bowl before you flush.
  • Twist and tighten pipe connections. To save more water without a noticeable difference in flow, twist on a WaterSense labeled faucet aerator.
  • Replace the fixture if necessary. Look for WaterSense labeled models, which are independently tested and certified to use 20 percent less water and perform as well as or better than standard models.

Fixture replacement parts often pay for themselves, and they can be installed quickly by a handy do-it-yourselfer or plumbing professional.

WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeks to protect the future of our nation's water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes, and services. For more information on WaterSense, visit www.epa.gov/watersense.