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NYC toilet rebate program unveiled.

In what appears to be a win-win-win situation for New York City's Licensed Master Plumbers, building owners and residents, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) unveiled it's new Toilet Rebate Program yesterday at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

The program, scheduled to began later this Fall in The Bronx and be expanded to Manhattan 3 months later, offers rebates to building and home owners for the installation of approved Ultra Low Flow 1.6 gallon fixtures. The program will be offered in Brooklyn in June and city-wide by next September.

Owners will receive a $240 rebate for the installation of the first water closet per dwelling, and $150 for each subsequent installation in a residential building. Rebates for commercial buildings will be $150 per water closet.

For example, if an apartment building has 200 apartments and each unit has only one water closet, the owner would receive a rebate of $48,000 to install the Ultra Low Flow units. Owners will receive a check after the program's administrator has inspected the work to verify that the installations have been done and the units are on the approved list a fixtures.

The city expects to pay out over $240 million in rebates over the next three years.

Any homeowner, apartment building or commercial building owner is eligible for the program, however individual tenants cannot apply. At least 70 percent of the toilets in a building must be replaced to qualify for the program. Metered and frontage customers are eligible.

Water-saving showerheads (under 3 gallons per minute) must be installed at the same time as the new toilets, unless the building already has these units. Faucet aerators must also be installed if the faucets are the "high-flow" type.

All installations must be done by a Licensed Master Plumber to insure the quality of the work. The 1.6 gallon water closets will work just as well as the older 3.5 gallon units, provided they are installed properly. More than half of the city's estimated 4 million toilets use more than 5 gallons per flush at present.

The rebate application form will require that the property owner indicate the name and license number of the plumber they intend to use.

The program's goal is to changeout 1.4 million water closets over the next 3 years, saving the city about 120 million gallons of water each day. The conversion would also save the city $5 billion off the cost of renovating its 14 sewage treatment plants.

"There is so much to be gained that owners should not hesitate to make the conversion," said George Whalen, executive director of The Plumbing Foundation of the City of New York. "The change out should pay for itself in the first year."

In addition to the rebates, The Plumbing Foundation estimates that each unit in a residential building will save $59.40 off water and sewer charges per person per year. In commercial buildings, the savings will be $22.85 per full time employee per year, or a 35 percent reduction in water and sewer charges annually.

At one point, the city wanted to credit the rebates to owners water bills, but the Plumbing Foundation argued that this would have a drastic negative impact on the number of owners who would take part in the program. "The fact that a check will be issued allows the owner to use this money to help pay for the work," Whalen said.

Any toilet that is included on the "List of Certified Water Saving Plumbing Fixtures" published by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will qualify for the rebate program. DEP will publish a list of qualified toilets to be mailed along with rebate information packages.

The rebate program will operate under the direction of DEP, but in a unique privatization plan. Much of the application processing, inspection and publicity work will be performed by a private contractor. That Project Coordinator will process applications and issue the rebate checks. Once the Project Coordinator receives paperwork from the property owner that the new fixtures have been installed, a rebate check will be issued within 30 days. If an inspection is to be performed, it will take place within two weeks and the rebate check will still be issued within the same 30 days.

DEP plans to conduct an extensive publicity campaign among housing organizations, plumbers, community organizations and the general public when the program is ready to begin.
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Title Annotation:New York, New York Department of Environmental Protection approves rebates to building and home owners for low flow toilet installation
Author:Gerard, Eric R.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Oct 27, 1993
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