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The Big Flush vs. The Little Flush

Recently, the San Francisco Board of Realtors posed a question to the members about toilets. 

Now, it’s not like when you see a group of Realtors standing around, all we’re talking about it toilets.  But, some some toilet related legislation potential rearing its ugly head, the Board thought they’d get some comments from members. 

The proposal that is being developed by the city’s Public Utilities Commission would require the installation of ultra low-flow toilets at point of sale.

I felt strong enough on the subject to write in, as did many others.  I thought I’d share the responses with you all.  My comments are in there as well.  But the funny thing is that I wrote in BEFORE my plumbing incident this weekend where my toilet became backed up for NO reason, and ended up in causing poo water (yes, water filled with human waste) to rise up into my bathtubs.  Yes.  You read that right.  Poo water actually came up into my tubs.  Needless to say – I’m opposed.

Anyhow, here’s the scoop from other members.  Feel free to add your own thoughts and comments.


“We should oppose this legislation. Unless the City can come up with a City-funded solution to solve the inadequate waste pipe diameter issues, it’s unfair to have the Seller bear the cost of low-flow toilets at point of sale. Most of the newly mandated toilets will fail at the job they are intended to do, and we’ll not only have the cost issues, but liability tied back to the seller for plumbing failure issues, which will ultimately tie back to the Broker and Agent – the people we are committed to serve as an Association. Plumbing first, then fixtures – if there is anything related to this that should hit the ballots.” Anonymous

“…I know quite a few people with low and ultra low toilets, and there are lots of complaints due to the poor flushing ability, plus leaks and pipe problems, partly due to the pressurized nature of the flush. Rather than make people have more costs added by force, either at point of sale or by a certain date, I would rather see the Supervisors just ask people to conserve water, and let the people decide, in whatever way they can, to do just that. Generally, our city dwellers are pretty darned good at this.” Danita Kulp

“Oppose low flush; let it be discretionary…But there is only so much government should be involved with.” Astrid Lacitis

“I made the stupid mistake of actually installing one of those in my home – and I even went as far as getting a dual flush toilet to be SUPER conservative about water. Here’s the issue – nothing goes down in just one flush. And I mean NOTHING! Not even with the “big” flush. And when it comes to, er, um, solid human waste – it can take 4 or 5 flushes something to get it down. I haven’t quite figured out how flushing 5 times will ever save as much water as using twice the water of one flush but just flushing once.” Luba Muzichenko


“California, and S.F. in particular, has historically been a tremendous agent for change on many types of issues, especially environmental ones. This is a heritage I am very proud of, and I hope we continue that heritage with the mandate for ultra low-flow toilets. I only hope that Sup. Leno’s bill is reasonable in its requirements. “Reasonable” is obviously very grey territory, but the basic concept of mandating the installation of ULF toilets is sound and appropriate, and is the only way we will be able to get the job done in a meaningful way. In sum, the CONVENIENCE of being able to use as much water as we please to flush a toilet is simply irresponsible and one we, as “citizens of the earth” cannot responsibly ignore, and I urge the Association to support Sup. Leno’s bill (assuming he doesn’t tack a ton of other garbage onto it!).” Brian Birney

“But in-wall tanks should be exempt since there is no way to retrofit them.” Lena Emmery

“I agree that the Association is justified in taking the positions — since we are a trade organization — that point of sale requirements should be opposed. BUT…what if it is actually a really good idea and would help the world? I am not saying this particular idea is the greatest, but I ask you this, will we ever support a really good idea that might not be good for our wallets?” Daniel Hershkowitz

“I think the politics are such that it will likely pass no matter what we do. So to be on the “green” bandwagon, I think the Association should come out in support of requiring ALL properties to install them, not just at the point of sale. It is much more persuasive to have the whole city save water instead of the 1% or 2% of properties that sell each year.” Mark Karwowski

“In my humble opinion, I think we need to do all we can to curtail the use of water wherever we can. It is clearly becoming a worldwide catastrophe. Perhaps we could have some suggestions from the experts as to how homeowners can accomplish the goals without too much expense.” Alice Micklewright

“Here’s the opportunity for SFAR. Since this is an inevitable issue and will eventually happen anyhow, SFAR members have a chance to show community leadership and responsibility by taking a positive stand for water and the environment…Such a position will help maintain the community conscious image of REALTORS®. Pierce Smith