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Things To Know About the Big Game Flush

Hillsborough County debunks urban myth that a halftime rush to the bathroom overwhelms utility systems

Municipal sewer problems caused by rampant toilet flushing at halftime of the Super Bowl are more rumor than reality.

Utility systems in major U.S. cities report no pipeline damage or other troubles caused by masses of people simultaneously using their toilets at the championship football game's midpoint break.

Yes, there is a moderate surge immediately after teams head for their respective locker rooms. But there's also an increase every weekday morning, when people flush toilets and take showers, and in the evening, when people return home to cook, wash clothes, shower, and use toilets.

Utility systems are built to accommodate flow variations, and do so effectively. Modern low-flow toilets - Hillsborough County is among governments that offer rebates on purchases of the fixtures - help prevent system failures. They also save water and lower your monthly bills. Annual savings with low-flow toilets, per household, are about $90.

Hillsborough County Public Utilities water customers with homes built before 1995 may apply for a toilet rebate when they replace older high-volume toilets with new "ultra-low flow" models. Before 1995, the County's plumbing code allowed the installation of toilets that used more than 3.5 gallons of water per flush. Today's models use 1.6 gallons or less.

Apply for a Toilet Rebate

Hillsborough County began its rebate program 24 years ago, based on statistics showing that toilet-flushing uses more water than any other routine household activity. Up to three toilets per residence may be included in rebate applications, and people who take advantage of the program receive an average return of about $160 on purchases of the low-flow devices.

Like any appliance or piece of furniture, new ultra-low flow toilets vary greatly in price, shape, and style. They can cost from about $90 to more than $300, and that doesn't include installation. But the savings - both of water and money - are substantial over a fixture's lifetime.