Young Water Conservation Warriors Find Leaky Toilets

By Meaghan Goepferich Posted on April 30, 2022

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about ten percent of homes have leaks, and toilets are among the most common.

Young Water Conservation Warriors Find Leaky Toilets

To help tackle the issue, 228 Citrus County 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students performed leak detection on their home toilets. The effort is part of an annual challenge issued by Citrus County Utilities to raise awareness to the nearly 1 trillion gallons of water lost to leaks annually nationwide. Together, students tested 333 toilets and discovered 32 leaks.

“Thank you for the opportunity to teach my students the importance of water conservation. They absolutely loved this lesson and the experiment we conducted!” said Michelle McAvay, a 5th grade teacher at Citrus Springs Elementary. In total, twenty classes from nine schools participated in the project that is estimated to save nearly 6,500 gallons a day when the leaks are fixed.

Students used blue dye tablets dropped in the toilet tank to determine if the toilet leaked. If the color appears in the bowl after waiting 15 minutes, the fixture is leaking.

Residents are encouraged to test their toilets for leaks too. Ten drops of food coloring can be used in place of the dye tablets. Always flush color away after testing. According to EPA Water Sense, a leaking toilet can waste hundreds of gallons a day and sometimes can be silent.

Toilet leaks are usually fixed by replacing the flapper, which can become hard and brittle over time. The flapper is the rubber device that opens and closes to allow water into the toilet tank. When a flapper does not fit snuggly, water leaks from the tank into the toilet bowl, and then goes down the drain without the need of flushing.  Flappers cost less than $20 and are simple enough for the average homeowner to replace on their own.

Citrus County Utilities is doing its part to save water and ensure local water supplies last for future generations. Learn more about how we use water by visiting and take the “I’m for Water” pledge.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency created “We’re for Water” as a national campaign to educate consumers about water-saving behaviors and WaterSense labeled products.



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