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January 5, 2007

Water conservation will be a focal point at this year’s Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival with the addition of the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s water-conserving restroom. The restroom station will be at the annual event Jan. 13-14 at Al Lopez Park in Tampa.

“The water-conserving restroom station is a practical and effective tool to spread the word about water conservation,” said Melissa Roe, project manager for the District. “Seeing the restroom station at community events like the Black Heritage Festival peaks people’s interest in water conservation then provides on-site information.”

The trailer features the District’s Florida-Friendly Yards “Grow Smart” campaign through water conservation displays and materials. It also features six private air-conditioned half baths with water conservation features, running water, lights, mirrors and a bathroom attendant who will keep the stalls clean and stocked.

Although the trailer is an alternative to some bathrooms found at large events, these bathrooms aren’t just about convenience. A water filtration and circulation system for the toilets makes water conservation the main focus. This re-circulation system allows for the water used in the sink to go down the drain and circulate back to the toilet’s tank. Once flushed, the toilet water is filtered and chemically treated then returned to the toilets’ tanks. Although state-of-the-art for this event, it’s a system similar to those currently used on airplanes.

By using this filtration system, the water conservation restroom trailer saves more water than a standard restroom trailer. The tank of a regular restroom trailer has to be pumped out after 750 to 800 uses; a water restroom trailer has to be pumped out after 750 to 800 uses; a water conservation restroom trailer tank doesn’t have to be serviced until approximately 7,000 uses.

The water conservation restroom station began as a pilot program in the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin. The project is now funded by the Hillsborough River Basin, Pinellas-Anclote River Basin and Withlacoochee River Basin. The Hillsborough River basin includes portions of Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk counties, the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin includes Pinellas County and a portion of Pasco County and the Withlacoochee River basin includes portions of Citrus, Hernando, Levy, Marion, Pasco and Sumter counties.

To learn more about water conservation and how you can make your yard Florida-friendly, visit the District’s web site at

Southwest Florida Water Management District home page

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