DEP Offers Tips to Save Water, Ease Load on Treatment Facilities in Wake of Flooding

Sep 09, 2011, 16:49 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Environmental Protection is recommending that residents of flood-stricken areas conserve water to reduce the load on local wastewater treatment plants, many of which may be either partially or fully inoperable due to recent flooding in central and eastern Pennsylvania.

"This historic flooding has put a strain on many of these facilities," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. "While we have encouraged plant managers to advise their customers to use water during off-peak hours whenever possible, there are steps we can all start taking now to help move flood recovery along."

DEP recommends that residents, businesses and other institutions follow these guidelines, which can also save money in reduced water and energy bills:

  • If you have more than one toilet, use one for urination and use it at least twice before flushing. This can save five to seven gallons per flush. Users should keep toilet lids shut and keep children and pets away from toilets that have not been flushed. Avoid unnecessary flushing by disposing of facial tissues and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
  • Place a plastic jug of water or commercial "dam" in older toilet tanks to cut down on the amount of water needed for each flush, which can save more than 1,000 gallons a year.
  • Verify that your home is leak-free. Many homes have hidden water leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
  • When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water and a second sink or basin with rinse water. If additional rinsing is needed, quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet. Wash fruits and vegetables in a basin, not under running water.
  • Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
  • Store drinking water in the refrigerator and do not let the tap run while you are waiting for cool water to flow.
  • Wash clothes and use the dishwasher only when you have a full load, and set it to use the minimum amount of water required.
  • Take quick showers and save an average of 20 gallons of water.
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving, saving more than five gallons of water per day.

For more information, visit

Media contact: Katy Gresh, DEP; 412-298-7538 (cell)

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection