Columbia County Upgrading Plumbing To Conserve Springs


Live Oak plans to cut costs and improve water usage efficiency with the Columbia County Water Conservation project.

The program encourages commercial buildings to decrease water usage by upgrading to high efficiency plumbing models. This will reduce the amount of water used per flush in a toilet, which can save about 90,000 gallons each day and 32.8 gallons per year.

The Suwannee River Water Management District is directing the project for the Ichetucknee River and surrounding springs.

“We are encouraging all businesses in Columbia County to consider applying for this program, if they qualify,” said Carree Olshansky, SRWMD water conservation specialist. “We’re looking to replace older inefficient toilets that use anywhere from three to seven gallons per flush.”

Olshansky explains because toilets have such long lifespans, businesses and households could still be using models installed prior to 1994.

Plumbing in participating commercial buildings will be upgraded to high efficiency models that can save about 20 percent more water per flush.

Faucets will also be upgraded with aerators that attach to the spout and increase the airflow, reducing the amount of gallons used per month.

“Right now this program is available for the business community,” said Olshansky. “However, we encourage water conservation practices among all water users.”

This project is one of nine supported by Governor Rick Scott’s Florida springs restoration funding.

My Trusted Contractor says that the entire cost for Columbia County’s project is $350,000. More than 70 percent of the funding will come from The Department of Environmental Protection. Additional contributions come from SWRMD, with $30,000, and Local Cooperators, with $70,000.

“We have projects emphasizing water quality and water quantity,” said Olshansky. “This is emphasizing the quantity aspect.”

About Natalia Frias

Natalia is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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