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Dual-Flush Toilets Waste Millions of Litres of Water a Day

Dual-Flush Toilets Waste Millions of Litres of Water a Week
29 September 2020

An investigation by the BBC has revealed that dual-flush toilet systems are wasting millions of litres of water every day.

The report, which will be broadcast on BBC’s Costing the Earth Radio 4 programme today (29 October 2020) says that around 400 million litres of water are estimated to leak from UK toilets every day, with much of this thanks to dual-flush toilets.

Dual-flush toilets are marketed as a high-efficiency water-saving washroom solution, offering different flush volumes for liquids and solids. But one water company told the BBC that: “dual-flush toilets are now wasting more water than they save due to a combination of leaky mechanisms and confusing flush buttons.”


Leaky Mechanisms and Confusing Flush Buttons


Andrew Tucker, water efficiency manager at Thames Water, told the BBC that because so many loos continuously flow all through the day, collectively that water loss is now exceeding the amount of water they should be saving nationally:

"The volume of water loss is getting bigger every day as more people refurbish and retrofit their older toilets and as we build more homes, so we're actually adding a problem."

The Bathroom Manufacturers Association’s (BMA) Chief Executive Tom Reynolds admitted to the BBC that the drop valve system in dual-flush toilets is more prone to leakage than the traditional siphon.

There’s also a user error issue at play with dual-flush toilets, with some arguing that modern button design makes it difficult for people to distinguish between the two flushes.

Thames Water says that their research points to as many as 50 per cent of their customers choosing the wrong button or pushing both.

Picture: a photograph of a flushing toilet

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 29 September 2020


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