A Toilet in Ten

Interested in helping the community? Getting paid? Earning money for college? Saving water? Are you between the ages of 18 and 24 and looking for a job? Come join Mile High Youth Corps’ Water Conservation Crew – apply here.

In the next ten steps get a feeling of what life as a Mile High Youth Corps’ Water Conservation Corpsmember is like, installing High Efficiency Toilets (HETs) in low-income homes and non-profit organizations.

1. On this particular day, we didn’t have to go too far to start installing HETs and saving water, we ventured just across the street to Veteran’s Green Jobs where they were in need of some new, more efficient toilets. Transporting toilets takes teamwork – an integral aspect of the Water Conservation Crew. Corpsmembers work on a crew with other youth interested in making a real difference in their communities and their own lives.

2. Before replacing a toilet, we have to measure its water use to make sure it qualifies. It’s a simple equation; all you need is a measuring tape and a calculator. Multiply the width by the height by the depth by .00433 and the answer tells you how many gallons of water your toilet uses per flush.

3. Say goodbye to this old, inefficient toilet!

4. First step is vacuuming out all the water so you don’t make a mess when removing the toilet.

5. Next you must remove the closet bolts that attach the toilet to the floor. This step sometimes requires some problem solving, for example if you have rusted closet bolts ot a really intense calking job.

6. Remove the old wax ring and see how secure the current flange and closet bolts are. You may be able to use the existing flange and closet bolts or you may need to replace them. Either way, you’ll need to replace the old wax ring with a new one. This is what creates a seal between the toilet and floor. Wax is used because it is impossible for bacteria to live and grow in it.

7. The next step is to build the brand new toilet. Our toilets come in three parts: tank, bowl and lid. With just a few turns of a wrench, the toilets are put together in no time.

8. With the help of a teammate, we carry the HET to its new home. Be sure the toilet compresses the new wax ring – this is what creates a seal between the floor and toilet and we want to be sure it’s secure with no leaks. Next, we tighten down the toilet by adding the top bolts and screwing them into place. A few flush tests later, and we’re sure that our new toilet is secure and leak-free.

9. The last step in securing our shiny, new toilet is to calk the seam between the floor and toilet. And then voila – your new HET is ready to save water!

10. And last but not least, one of the most important steps is to reduce waste by recycling our old toilets. The porcelain from these water-guzzling beasts is ground up and eventually mixed with the asphalt and cement that paves our streets and sidewalks.

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