GW ups residence hall water flow

Water flow to bathroom sinks in residence halls will be increased in the next month in response to student complaints about low water pressure caused by a water conservation project implemented by the University last month.

The amount of water flowing to bathroom sinks will increase from one-half gallon per minute to 1.5 gallons, according to Jim Marshall, manager of energy and environmental management for the University’s facilities office. No adjustment will be made to the pressure in showers and kitchen sinks.

The University implemented the project to cut GW’s water bills after the city raised water rates by more than 40 percent last April, Marshall said. The project is expected to save the University $5,000 a month.

The low-flow faucet regulators reduced the pressure in bathroom sinks to one-half gallon of water per minute and in showers and kitchen sinks to 2.5 gallons per minute.

“It isn’t pressure reduction,” Marshall said. “What’s coming out is less water in a unit of time.”

GW administrators agreed last week to replace bathroom sink aerators and increase the flow by one gallon per minute.

The cost of the original project was $105,367, and replacing the regulators will increase the amount of the project by $5,883. But Marshall still expects the program to pay for itself in savings in less than a year.

Marshall toured Thurston Hall and heard complaints from residents. Similar comments flowed from residents of other buildings.

Soon after the regulators were installed in residence halls, students complained they had problems showering and shaving with the new equipment, and said they needed to wake up earlier and spend more time in the bathroom.

“We weren’t surprised by the complaints,” Marshall said. “People (at other places where the project was implemented) usually had a reaction to the change, but they usually adjusted to it.”

Similar conservation projects have been implemented at Brandeis and Georgetown universities and many apartment buildings. Marshall said residents at other locations had similar complaints, but few other schools or apartment buildings made changes to the project.

“We’re not trying to deliberately upset students,” Marshall said. “We’re trying to help them in the financial area.”

Aqualine Resources Inc., the company contracted by the University to install the system, will begin replacing aerators in Thurston Hall Thursday, and then will continue replacing the regulators in seven other residence halls.

Several residence halls already were equipped with the improved aerators after complaints were made, and will not need to be revisited, Marshall said. The New Hall had environmental conservation measures when it was built.

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