Updated plumbing on campus promotes water conservation

State Hornet Staff

A government grant is partially funding Sacramento State’s toilet renovation to help the campus reduce water usage by 20 percent.

Facility Operations Director Daryn Ockey said a grant from Proposition 50, which provides money for public water systems, is giving $150 per fixture to help Sac State’s Facilities Services change out urinals and water closets with new porcelain fixtures and flush valves. 

The money from the state is only guaranteed if all 521 designated toilets are fully upgraded by Sept. 10, but Ockey said it is a doable process and is not concerned about the amount of work ahead.

“It is pretty straight forward,” Ockey said. “I don’t see any significant challenges. It’s just a matter of time.”

Planned at the end of last year, the first shipment of materials for the project came in the beginning of March. One plumber has been temporarily hired by Sac State to install every fixture and will be assisted by three more.

Ockey said the funding collaboration between the state and the school happened by chance.

Facilities Services was already planning on renovating the toilets when Ockey received a call from Ryan Geach, a Sacramento water conservation specialist. Geach said he had extra funds and wanted to use it at Sac State because the school is one of Sacramento’s biggest water users.

“We could have done it on our own, but to get money that basically covers half of the project is huge,” Ockey said.

Ockey said approximately $84,000 will come from the grant and the whole project is estimated to cost approximately $150,000 to $160,000, but it might be a little higher than that. The rest of the funds will come out of Facilities Services‘ budget.

Even though the installation process is now underway, Ockey said they are doing their best to not disrupt students or faculty. The plumber will work in the middle of the night when not many people are on campus.

Senior history major senior Haylee Lederer said she felt there were good and bad bathrooms on campus, especially when considering how crowded they can become. She had no idea the administration had not upgraded some toilets in over 40 years and said it is an unacceptable amount of time to let pass.

“They should be restored more frequently,” Lederer said. “They are able to afford televisions all over campus, but toilets took them this long?”

Lederer said many of her friends are frustrated with the buildings that have the male bathroom on one floor and the female one on the other.

 Sophomore chemistry major Kristine Castro said she was shocked to hear the toilets were so old, but was glad to see Sac State addressing water issues in real ways.

“It is kind of nice to have toilets that are more efficient because we have to do our part to save water,” Castro said.

Ockey said the outdated plumbing is a result of having an old campus and it just never became a big focus. But now, the college must represent good practices as a partner with the community and fulfil its obligation in terms of conserving water.

“I can’t really explain why they stayed the same, but we have an opportunity so let’s fix it,” Ockey said.