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Young Water Conservation Warriors Find Leaky Toilets

By Meaghan Goepferich Posted on May 5, 2021

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, 210 Citrus County students from 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes 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 316 toilets and discovered 49 leaks.

“They had fun doing it and learned a lot,” said Marlise Bushman, a 3rd grade teacher for Citrus Virtual. In total, 12 classes from seven schools participated in the project that is estimated to save nearly 10,000 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 (EPA) created the national “We’re for Water” campaign to educate consumers about water-saving behaviors and WaterSense labeled products.