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The following article was posted on November 1st, 2012, in the New Times - Volume 27, Issue 14 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 27, Issue 14

Bowl me over

BY KRISTOFER MARSH

Sorry Los Osos, if you want to flush excrement down the new sewer system, you’re going to have to get new toilets.

At the Oct. 23 San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting, the board unanimously approved the Water Conservation Implementation Plan, which requires residents who live in the Los Osos wastewater service area to buy low-flow, high-efficiency toilets, showerheads, and faucet aerators if existing fixtures don’t meet a minimum water usage requirement.

“The installation of water-conserving fixtures is a condition of connection to the sewer project. Properties cannot connect to the sewer until the retrofits are verified,” John Waddell, project manager for the Los Osos Wastewater Project, said in an e-mail to New Times.

The California Coastal Commission mandated that a water conservation program be set up as a condition of the Coastal Development Permit they approved for the Los Osos Wastewater Project.

According to the plan, water conservation will aid in resolving water shortage issues in Los Osos by reducing demand on the groundwater basin, easing seawater intrusion, and meeting permit conditions to lower residential indoor water usage to 50 gallons per capita per day.

Several Los Osos residents at the meeting expressed concern about the costs and inconvenience of retrofitting their homes under the project.

“The rebates for residential retrofits are inadequate,” resident Gwen Taylor said. “The sum of $250 for a toilet alone will only cover the cost of a basic toilet and not cover any addition costs for installation.”

Rebates have been offered to help lower the costs of the purchase and installation of low-flow fixtures, but only toilets with a Water Sense label are eligible. For a full list, visit epa.gov/watersense/products/toilets.html.

“The rebates include an incentive to cover the cost of both the fixtures and installation for those who retrofit before 2014. After the first year, the rebates are for the cost of the fixtures only,” Waddell wrote.