Friday, December 29, 2017

The Royal Flush

If you have a dog, the toilet is their favorite drinking fountain.

If you like to post nasty Tweets, the toilet is the ideal setting for this nefarious activity.

And of course, there’s the toilet’s main purpose: perusing the Victoria’s Secret Catalogue in private.

Short history of the toilet, per Google:

Hole in the ground, outhouse, the indoor flushing extravaganza! Yay!

At Pacific Tower our toilets originally used massive amounts of GPF or Gallons Per Flush.

Then politicians became enlightened and agreed it was important to reduce sewer flows and decrease the amount of potable water the City had to import, and the Water Conservation Movement was born.

In 1994 all toilets in California were required to switch to low-flow using only 1.6 GPF.

In 2017 all toilets in California were required to be only 1.28 GPF.

IN PACIFIC TOWER: If you bought or sold your unit between 1994 and 12.31.16, that transfer required your toilets be updated to 1.6 GPF either by the seller or the buyer.

If you bought or sold your unit in 2017, that transfer required replacement of your toilets to 1.28 GPF either by the seller or the buyer.

You have 90 days to comply with these state regulations, as stated in Pacific Tower CC&Rs.

How do you know if your toilet is compliant? Open the top of the tank. Most low-flow toilets in Pacific Tower use the Sloan Flushmate air-assisted device that makes a lot of noise and forces the water down (and with so little water in the tank, you need the device to make the brown go down. Otherwise you have to flush twice – which defeats the entire purpose). The sticker on the device states the GPF. (See photo)

Flushmaster Conversion info

Out-dated toilets use the familiar gravity system where there’s a rubber ball floating in a sea of water and chain that opens a hole that lets the water out of the bottom. These are antiques that use way too much water and are ineffective in a high-rise building.

In conclusion: If you care about the environment and you want to be compliant with the Pacific Tower CC&Rs, you need to check your toilet. If your toilet needs to be swapped out, the Building Manager can provide a list of several plumbers who can do the job.

Soon you will receive a special mailing regarding the Pacific Tower Water Conservation Policy and new Rules and Regulations concerning that policy.

Water Conservation Policy

The following was adopted by the Board at its meeting on November 21, 2017.

Pacific Tower Community Association

Board Meeting November 21, 2017

Report From Legal Committee

Re: Considerations for Water Usage

· WATER CONSERVATION – in Southern California – semi arid desert area – everyone needs to be aware and helpful as it is a major social and environmental issue.

· POLITICAL AGREEMENT – even the politicians have agreed by passing legislation to encourage and require conservation of water especially in the use of toilet flushing. The law says its purpose is to reduce sewer flows and decrease the use of imported potable water in the City.

· REDUCED STANDARD FOR USE - since 1994 the law has required installation of toilets that only use LESS water per flush

o From 1994 ……….only 1.6 gallons/per flush (gpf) until 12/31/2016

o From 2017 ……….only 1.28 gpf

· LEGAL OBLIGATION – State and local law since 1994 has created a legal obligation applicable upon the transfer of any unit in PTCA on the Seller or, if agreed, by the Buyer to install toilets that comply with the applicable usage standard. If not done by the Seller, escrow documents usually provide for the Buyer to assume that obligation. So the Buyer (new Owner) has the legal obligation to make the change in compliance with the law.

· NON-COMPLIANCE with the law- if the toilets in a transferred unit were not changed within 90 days then the unit is NOT IN COMPLIANCE with the law.

· VIOLATION of CC&Rs – Sec 16.3 states as follows:

Section 16.3. Violation of Law. Any violation of any state, municipal or-local-law, ordinance or regulation, pertaining to the ownership, occupation or use of the Project or any part thereof is hereby declared to be a violation of the Governing Documents and subject to any or all of the enforcement procedures set forth herein.

· PTCA CONCERNS – our Association has self interests to protect for the common welfare in assuring the integrity of the building by compliance with the LAW as well as its own economic benefits through lower expenses for water and the perceived value of the toilet upgrades in the Building.

· USAGE – in the region toilet flushing uses millions of gallons a day. In our building, “old toilets” that do not (or did not) comply with the applicable usage standard when last purchased may be using perhaps 5.6gpf or 3.6gpf instead of the standard of 1.6gpf (applicable for many years 1994 - 2016) or the new current standard of 1.28gpf. Every day – every time - those “old toilets” are flushing more than 4 times or almost 3 times the amount of water currently allowed as the desirable water conservation usage.

· PTCA COSTS – the cost of all the water in the building is an Association cost because it is not separately metered for each unit. Our regional water resource agencies try to limit usage through conservation efforts and must also increase costs in the cycle of supply / demand. Our assessments have had to cover INCREASING COSTS for the building water usage as follows;

o HOA Budget Year Amount Increase

o 2015 $44,400 $5,100

o 2016 $52,200 $7,800

o 2017 $61,600 $9,400

With non –compliant toilets our building is using more water than we should and we are facing increasing water rates. We are also subject to public criticism and adverse reputation as non-complying with public law.

· BOARD ACTIONS – when brought to its attention, an issue that involves enforcement of a clear provision of the CC&Rs (Sec 16.3), some actions by the Board may be expected as a matter of performing its duty. Perhaps the Board should consider the following program of steps to act in behalf of the general welfare of the Pacific Tower Community:

o Resolve to recognize the law and the benefits of enforcement to the Pacific Tower Community as a matter of urgency.

o Effectively communicate the requirements of the law -- PAST AND PRESENT -- to all member/ owners so there is no misunderstanding of the legal requirements by authorizing a newsletter and / or a general letter to all members.

o Within a 120 day grace period, request voluntary compliance of affected Unit Owners whose unit toilets do not comply with the standard applicable at the time of their purchase and require compliance with the current standard.

o After the 120 day grace period has ended, the Association may make an inspection of each toilet in a unit and require compliance as a condition of approving any Architectural Application for a Unit, or as a condition for making any unrelated entry into a unit for any reason requested by the Owner.

o If a Unit Owner needs such work to be done, the Association will provide the names of plumbing businesses that are familiar with the Building and are capable of completing the kind of work needed to comply with the applicable plumbing standards.

· CONFLICTS OF INTEREST – If it appears that a Board member has a unit with non-compliant toilet(s) and feels that any personal obligation to comply should affect a decision in behalf of the community interest, then that may be a matter of conflict of interest to be considered seriously.

· LEGAL COUNSEL – our counsel has provided the legislative history of the progressive efforts in the State and local laws to conserve water as they apply to the PTCA building since the 1994 Ordinance. Copies attached.

Addendum: Although the applicable law does not specify the use of an air assisted device with the required lower water volumes, their use is highly recommended by toilet manufacturers, toilet distributors, and all plumber organizations as a practical matter for an optimal flushing effect.
Tom Ward