©2018 Mahoning Valley Water Inc.  Water Conservation How much does it cost to brush your teeth      Many of us overlook water  conservation during our daily routines, because when you have enough of something you don’t have any incentive to use it moderately.   The water we use to brush our teeth can illustrate this point.          A typical bathroom faucet flows about two gallons per minute and dentists recommend brushing teeth for two minutes.  Leaving the water running for the entire brushing will run about 4 gallons of water down the sink drain.  Filling an 8-oz glass (1 cup) with water to rinse would have taken less than two seconds and saved 98.4 percent of the water released from the aquifer for this activity.  If you brush your teeth twice per day then 126 cups (7.88 gallons) of water would have remained in the aquifer.  A family of four would use about 32 gallons less water per day or 11,500 gallons of water per year.  A 1,000 gallon capacity on- site septic tank will cycle almost 12 extra times a year just from the wasteful practice of brushing teeth while the tap is running!      “So what?”, you say, “The water goes back into the leach field.  That’s fine except for two things—the water could take several lifetimes to get back into the aquifer and a septic systems lifespan is partly related to how much wastewater it receives.  They work best when there is time for the solids that enter the tank to settle out so they do not enter the leach field and clog it.  The more use you make of your septic system the greater the chance of needing a $5,000—$20,000 replacement (depending on the geologic and soil conditions).  Alternatively, you might get away with pumping the septic tank more often than once every two years, but at $150 to $300 per pumping, that adds up quickly too.  Guess who pays for this.  You do.      By filling a small glass with rinse water for your teeth, your well pump will likely not have to run because residential pressure tanks that control when the well pump cycles on, don’t usually kick in until a gallon or more is used.  Well pumps are like any appliance that turns on and off—the more you use it the sooner it will need to be replaced.  Guess who pays for this.  You do.      If you are on “city water” operated by a utility, the 7.88 gallons that runs down the drain in two minutes takes up about one cubic foot of space in a pipe (7.48 gallons in a cubic foot).  Most of the families in your neighborhood brush their teeth at about the same time as you do.  This is called peak demand time.  Several thousands of people may be trying to get their cubic foot of teeth-brushing water at the same time.  There is only so much room in the piping system so new and larger pipes may be needed to supply the extra capacity required by thousands of cubic feet of un-conserved teeth brushing water.  A 30-inch ductile iron water main costs about $400,000 per mile.  And that doesn’t even cover the cost for the sewage treatment side of the equation.  Guess who pays for this.  You do.      Many municipal systems are fed from wells which can produce only so much water per day.  Having to replace all the “lost” water that ran unused down the drain, may require the city to drill additional wells to supply the needs of the system.  A well that produces 500,000 gallons of water a day can cost about $1,000,000.  Guess who pays for this.  You do.      As you can see from the math, using a small glass of water in the bathroom can be a valuable habit.  Now think about other daily activities that use water.  How much water and money can be saved if we only run the dishwater when its full, or the clothes washer, or if we take shorter showers, and if we don’t water the lawn.      When we use more water than what we need, the water that runs down the drain isn’t available for us to use for something else.  It goes back into the ground where it can take generations for it to be available for our use again.  If we all do our part to conserve water, we can save our money and resources.  Guess who benefits from this.  We all do! MAHONING VALLEY WATER