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March 16, 2012


Farrell Sklerov / Corey Chambliss  (718) 595-6600

DEP Seeks Company to Process Discarded Toilets for Beneficial Reuse

Reused Porcelain Can Produce Bathroom Fixtures, Tiles and Construction Material; Part of Upcoming Toilet Rebate Program to Replace 800,000 Toilets Citywide to Reduce Water Demand

Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland today announced that DEP released a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for companies to process discarded toilets for beneficial reuse. DEP will begin a voucher-based toilet replacement program in 2013 to replace roughly 800,000 toilets in conjunction with the Water for the Future program. The RFEI seeks a provider for the collection, transport, and processing of the replaced toilets so that they are recycled instead of simply discarded. Porcelain products can be ground down to produce new products such as tile and other bathroom fixtures, as well as provide beneficial reuse as the foundation for road beds, construction fill or drainage material. The toilet rebate program will reduce water consumption, typically one billion gallons per day, by 30 million gallons per day— a 3% total reduction. The program vouchers are expected to be valued at $125, covering all or most of the cost of a typical toilet. Responses to the RFEI are due on April 6, 2012.

"DEP is making substantial investments in our world-class drinking water system so that it continues to provide the best tasting water to nine million New Yorkers," said Commissioner Strickland. "As the ambitious Water for the Future program becomes a reality, we are planning for the relatively brief period of time that the aqueduct will be offline. Part of the program is to reduce our daily demand and there is no better way to do that than by replacing inefficient older toilets, which use substantially more water than modern ones. Since we pride ourselves in protecting the environment and promoting sustainable solutions, this RFEI will help us determine whether a market exists for beneficial reuse of porcelain toilets instead of adding to our solid waste footprint, a win-win for the city and the environment."

The new toilet rebate program will build on the success of a similar rebate program from 1994 to 1997 that replaced 1.3 million toilets and reduced citywide water consumption by 90 million gallons per day. High-efficiency toilets use only 1.28 gallons of water per flush, compared to traditional toilets which can use as much as five gallons.

The program will achieve substantial water savings by reducing demand in the years leading up to the temporary shutdown of the Delaware Aqueduct for repair as part of Water for the Future, a $2.1 billion initiative to ensure clean, reliable and safe drinking water for nine million New Yorkers for decades to come. In November 2010, DEP outlined a design and timeline to address leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct by building a two-and-a-half mile bypass tunnel around a portion of the aqueduct that is leaking in the Roseton area of the Town of Newburgh, and repairing leaks in the Town of Wawarsing from inside the existing tunnel. Under the plan, DEP will break ground on the bypass tunnel in 2013, and complete the connection to the Delaware Aqueduct in 2021.

Porcelain products can be ground down into powder which can be re-baked to produce new porcelain products such as tile, bathtubs, sinks and toilets. Porcelain can also provide beneficial reuse as a substitute for gravel or as construction fill material. The Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) will evaluate qualifications to process discarded toilets and reuse the resulting porcelain, or store the porcelain and make it available for beneficial reuse by another party. Important elements of each RFEI submission will include the provider's proposed staff and maintenance of designated toilet drop-off locations where discarded toilets will be collected, as well as a commitment to transport toilets to facilities equipped to receive and process the material for beneficial reuse. RFEI submissions will provide DEP with guidance for a Request for Proposals, if advisable. The RFEI is available on DEP's website at

DEP manages the city's water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,400 miles of sewer lines and 95 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP employs nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $13.2 billion in investments over the next 10 years that creates up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at

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