Four fall tips to brighten your landscape

Published: 9/9/2019  9:34 AM
​After Labor Day, many landscapes may look dull, especially if most of the flowering plants bloom in early summer. Fortunately, September is a wonderful month to add a few more plants to your landscape. The soil is warm and the air temperatures have ...

CSFD releases report on Aug. 20 fire at Drake Power Plant, Unit 7 will be back online later today

Published: 8/28/2019  2:26 PM
​Thanks to the efforts of our dedicated employees, Unit 7 at the Martin Drake Power Plant is scheduled to be put back into service later today after a small, isolated fire last Tuesday night. Per the Colorado Springs Fire Department announcement bel ...

We're transforming public spaces with water-wise plants

Published: 8/22/2019  12:17 PM
Our water-wise plant experts are partnering with the City of Colorado Springs to bring sustainable landscapes to public spaces, while broadening the availability of water-wise plants for the public. Springs Utilities staff from the Conservation and ...

Drake Power Plant update: Small fire will not impact customers

Published: 8/21/2019  10:25 AM
​If you’ve been watching the local news since last night, you’ve likely heard about the small, isolated fire at our Martin Drake Power Plant, located just south of downtown Colorado Springs. The fire was limited internally to a single generating uni ...

Prevent high water bills during warmer weather

Published: 8/19/2019  2:38 PM
As we settle in to the hottest time of the year, we expect to use more water but is it necessary? Have you done everything you can to improve your watering efficiency? Here’s five important water-saving landscape strategies to get the most out of yo ...

Three reasons you need a rain sensor

Published: 8/7/2019  2:19 PM
​August weather can be unpredictable, alternating between 90-degree weather and monsoon thunderstorms. With the bustle of school starting and late summer routine changes, it’s a challenge to turn your sprinkler system off every time it rains-- not t ...

Smart technology powers the home of the future

Published: 7/30/2019  1:48 PM
We’re partnering with Classic Homes for the 2019 Colorado Springs Parade of Homes to showcase the parade’s smartest home yet, and to learn how smart technology will power the future.You can join us for a special 'Ask the Experts' tour with our energ ...

Innovative partnership protects 11,000 acres of critical watershed

Published: 7/23/2019  9:20 AM
​On July 23 we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to continue our partnership with the U.S. Forest Service Region 2 Office and the Colorado State Forest Service to fund critical forest management and wildfire risk mitigation projects in area ...

Water outlook after 6 months

Published: 7/18/2019  2:15 PM
I love summer. Call me crazy, but I love the hot, dry weather. If you’re like me, the weather in June frustrated you to no end! While the weather didn’t do my disposition any favors, it did do wonders for our water supply. June’s weather brought t ...

Top 10 tips to keep cool this summer

Published: 7/17/2019  1:36 PM
​As temperatures rise and we transition from the cooler months into summer, you can take some easy steps to keep an attractive landscape and a comfortable home while using energy and water wisely. These 10 tips will help you reduce overall electric ...

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Turning commodes into roads   

Natalie W.  by  Natalie W.  on  6/17/2019

Saving water and reusing materials for the benefit of all customers

Toilet crushersColorado Springs Utilities employees are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to save our customers money. One of the most creative ideas I'd ever heard of came about in 2011 when an employee looked at all the old toilets we were throwing away and thought of an alternative use for them. Working internally first with our gravel production department, safety and health, and our water conservation group, we figured out a way to turn these old toilets into gravel and avoid putting them into landfills. The idea was to collect and crush old porcelain toilets as part of a rebate program offered to the citizens of Colorado Springs for installing low-flow toilets.

"All our questions were carefully analyzed using air monitoring during a demonstration which showed that this was a viable option, and could potentially impact the flow of discarded toilets to our local landfills. Repurposing roll off containers that were originally used for our water main replacement pipe, we began delivering these units to large apartment complexes undergoing low flow toilet upgrades of 50 toilets or more," said Sean Evans, supervisor of our gravel production department.

The rebate incentive ended, but the benefits of the program had proved positive. Working with local area contractors and recyclers, we've explored other collection streams to keep the program alive. To our amazement, we were met with an overwhelming response.

Today Colorado Springs Utilities provides roll offs to agencies such as Good Will Industries, El Paso Household Hazardous Waste, Mr. Rooter, Olson Plumbing and Habitat for Humanity Restore. The success of this program spread, and in 2017 Mile High Youth Corps in Denver approached us to learn about the program and explore a partnership. After a visit to our crushing operations, the management of Mile High Youth Corps leaped at the opportunity to bring the benefits of our unique program to Denver.

Mile High Youth Corp roll offIn February 2018 we signed an MOU with the Mile High Youth Corps. Leveraging the success of the porcelain program, we've assisted them with drafting a statement for a Pell Grant to help this non-profit purchase a 30-yard roll off of their own.

After a year of collection, they called us for the first pickup of the collected toilets. The collected material weighed about 11 tons or 22,00 pounds and because of the careful oversight of the Mile High Youth Corps team, the product was very clean and free of contamination. With the addition of this roll off, we have diverted 1,144 tons or 2,288,000 pounds of porcelain from Colorado landfills.

"With an average household toilet weight of 50 pounds, this equates to 45,760 toilets recycled. Partnering with PPRTA, this material is immediately used as road base in the upgraded handicap ramps, curb and gutter infrastructure throughout Colorado Springs," Evans said.

This unique program was a recipient of the Outstanding Government or Non-Profit Recycling/Diversion Program from the non-profit organization Recycle Colorado, and recognized by the Investment Recovery Association in the August 2014 web page tutorial. Thanks to the hard work and creative thinking of our employees, we have found a clever way to save our customers thousands of dollars.

Crushed  Toilets


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