The wisdom of government regulations and toiletsPosted by Ed Davis, DPM on 6/19/03 at 16:07 (122381)
I cannot buy a toilet nowadays that does not clog or I don't have to flush twice ever since the government mandated that flushes be limited to 1.6 gallons per minute:
~~1.6 Gallon, Low-consumption Toilets~~
The need to conserve water has pushed governments everywhere to look for every means possible to reduce the amount of water used by the customers of municipal water companies. Since toilets account for a major amount of the water used year round, many of the municipal programs and new laws have focused on how to make a toilet flush with less water.
Before the 1950s, toilets typically used 7 gallons or more for each flush. By the end of the 1960s, toilets were designed to flush with only 5.5 gallons, and in the 1980s the new toilets being installed were using only 3.5 gallons. Today, a new toilet uses no more than 1.6 gallons of water.
While some states mandated the 1.6 gallon toilet standard some years ago, in 1995 the National Energy Policy Act (H.R. 776) went into effect and mandated 1.6 toilets for the entire U.S. In addition to dealing with radioactive waste disposal and metallurgical coal development, the federal law also determined in an obscure part of the Act what kind of toilet you can have in your bathroom. By federal decree, new toilets must flush with no more than 1.6 gallons of water, less than half the amount they used in the '80s..
At first, manufacturers tweaked the valves and floats in the tank to reduce the water used without making any changes to the tank or bowl. The two most common adaptations were to install a flush-valve flapper which closes before all the water escapes the tank (early-close flapper) or to install a plastic bucket, or toilet dam, which retains some water in the toilet tank behind the dam, thus lowering the volume of flush. Some manufacturers switched to low-capacity tanks with a standard flapper, and others chose to utilize new pressurized flush technology.
Since the 1995 mandate went into effect, there have been numerous outcries from the public regarding the poor flushing of many models of toilets that have been available. Many of the articles published in the newspaper have been based on anecdotal accounts of problems. But a recently published report by the Water Resources Research Center at The University of Arizona is supported by research. This report concludes that, despite the skepticism that greeted their introduction and a history of early problems, most low-consumption toilets are doing their job. Unfortunately, the research also shows that, over time, a significant fraction of the anticipated water savings is lost due to poor toilet design and performance modifications. Some of the modifications are inadvertent on the part of homeowners.
Jim Henderson and Gary Woodard, then with the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Arizona, studied 170 households which participated in a Tucson Water rebate program to encourage replacement of older toilets with 1.6 gallon low-consumption models. Toilets studied were purchased between 1991 and 1992, just a few years after the low-consumption toilet was introduced into the American market.
The report was prepared for the Water Conservation Office of the City of Phoenix Water Services Department, and the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation. The researchers installed special devices called data loggers on these homes to monitor the amount of water used by the then seven-year-old toilets. Combined with surveys of more than half of the households, the study revealed some problems with the aging toilets. The report confirmed the worst fears the water industry has had about these products -- that long-term savings are not reliable.
Nearly half of the low-consumption toilets in the study had problems with high flush volumes, frequent double flushing and/or flapper leaks. The average flush volume for all of the toilets was 1.98 gallons of water per flush, or about 24 percent higher than the 1.6 gallon maximum they were designed to use. About a quarter of the households had at least one low-consumption toilet that averaged more than 2.2 gallons per flush.
Visit the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center to read or download the full report.
FUNCTIONING OF AGING LOW-CONSUMPTION TOILETS IN TUCSON
A FOLLOW-UP WITH REBATE PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS
Water Resources Research Center
The University of Arizona
Issue Paper #22
A report prepared for: The City of Phoenix Water Services Department, Water Conservation Office and, The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Phoenix Area Office. By: Jim Henderson, Water Consultant, and Gary Woodard, SAHRA, University of Arizona
The following is a collection of articles that have been published since H.R. 776 went into effect in 1995:
According to the The Washington Post for 28 May 1996 (page A1) supplies of the old toilets are nearly depleted, and frustrated flushers are now living with the reality of H.R. 776. While manufacturers are insisting they have resolved many of the early problems with the low-consumption in their new models; the consumer is left to decide for themselves how to cope with the problems associated with the early low-consumption models. Marjorie Johnson, spokesperson for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, the water company in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, Maryland says, 'I simply double-flush, and that's not conservation.' Some areas have put real teeth into implementing this law. In Fairfax County, Virginia willful violation can result in criminal misdemeanor charges and fines of up to $2500 a year. Craig Simounet, vice president of Atlas Plumbing in Manassas, Virginia says there is only one thing to tell people. 'Flush again!'
Christine Gorman writing in Time Magazine for 1 July 1996 in an article titled 'Toilet Wars, Big flushers Circumvent New Environmental Laws' reported that homeowners are picking up large-capacity models at yard sales. She quoted toilet manufacturers as admitting that they were slow to find good low-consumption designs. But their latest models use various tricks such as wider pipes and extra air pressure-to make up in flush power what they lack in volume. That, say bowl-makers, should eliminate most complaints.
THE DEBATE LIVES ON
In spite of improvements in design and operation, there are still many opponents of low-consumption toilets. The Washington Post for 21 March 1997 (page G1) reported that Rep. Joe Knollenberg, Republican from Michigan, has proposed changes to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1992 that mandates the 1.6 toilets. Knollenberg is responding to a torrent of complaints about backed-up and overflowing toilets. Knollenberg considers the mandate and the rules that go with it government meddling into people's private affairs. He thinks states and municipalities should be allowed to set their own limits, depending on their local water problems. The proposal has been referred to the Commerce Committee for further consideration.
The toilet debate flows on. As reported in The Washington Post for 2 April 1998, a new study shows that tiny toilets are fine and people like them. The report is titled, 'Saving Water, Saving Dollars -- Efficient Plumbing Products and the Protection of America's Waters.' This new report claims flushers registered overwhelming satisfaction with the new toilets.
But the credibility of this report is a bit suspect when the article points out that the author of the new 69 page report, Ed Osann, is a Washington consultant paid by the lobbyists and advocates who wrote the law -- a toilet consortium of interest groups, including the California Urban Water Conservation Council, made up of 100 California public utilities; the Water Conservation Council of Puget Sound, 17 towns and utilities in Washington state; and the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute, 45 plumbing fixture companies.
It has been a number of years since the 1992 Energy Policy Act went into effect. In the meantime, manufacturers have gone through as many as four generations of designs to meet the new standards. Needless to say, a manufacturer would not have to redesign if the previous model was satisfactory. So one wonders who were all the 'flushers' who registered such overwhelming satisfaction; only those who owned the latest models?
In response to the report, Glenn Haege, host of Ask the Handyman, wrote to the editors of The Washington Post suggesting that if Congress were to replace the vacuum-flush style toilets in use at the Capitol with the 1.6 gallon gravity feed toilets, elected officials might better appreciate the gravity of the problem. Haege claims that each week on his radio program, he hears cries of dissatisfaction with the performance of the 1.6 gallon toilets.
Another response came from Ben Lieberman, Research Associate at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington. Lieberman says the conclusion of the study about the misguided and unpopular legislation is strongly contradicted by the opinions of many low-consumption toilet owners. If the water-stingy models really are as good as the study indicates, they should dominate a free market without the need to legislate their use. The fact that the proponents of low-consumption toilets are so reluctant to allow choice in the marketplace reveals much more than their study does.
A MORE OBJECTIVE STUDY ...
was completed in August 2000 by the General Accounting Office. At the request of Rep. Michael Bilirakis and Rep. Sherwood L. Boehlert, the GAO made an assessment of the costs of repealing the water use standards contained in the 1992 Energy Policy Act. That report is dated August 31, 2000 and is GAO/RCED-00-232. You can download a copy of the 45-page report in Acrobat Reader *.pdf format from the GAO site at: http://www.gao.gov .
Here is a brief summary of that report:
No studies estimating the impact of the national water efficiency standards on water consumption or wastewater flows nationwide have been completed so far. However, studies designed to measure the impacts of using water-efficient plumbing fixtures in specific locations have shown that, compared with their less efficient counterparts, low-flow fixtures conserve water, particularly in the case of toilets. The best example is a comprehensive study of water use in nearly 1,200 homes at 12 study sites that determined, among other things, that homes with low-flow toilets used about 40 percent less water for flushing than other homes in the study.1 Estimating the impact of the national standards is difficult because some use of low-flow fixtures would likely occur for other reasons that is, even in the absence of the standards. These reasons include (1) state and local laws that preceded the national standards and (2) incentives, such as rebate programs sponsored by local governments, that encourage the replacement of less efficient fixtures. Nevertheless, major studies initiated by the American Water Works Association and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are developing long-term projections of the nationwide impact of the water efficiency standards, using precise measurements of the water savings per fixture as a starting point and taking into consideration expected population growth, the average replacement rate for plumbing fixtures, and other data. Preliminary results indicate that by 2020, water consumption could be reduced by about 3 to 9 percent, depending on the location, and wastewater flows to publicly owned treatment works could be reduced by an estimated 13 percent nationwide by 2016.
Although their precise impact is uncertain, repealing the national standards could affect the extent to which reductions in water consumption and wastewater flows are achieved and, thus, limit the extent to which local communities' investments in drinking water or wastewater infrastructure can be deferred or avoided. For example, an ongoing study estimates that for the 16 localities analyzed to date, the standards will cause water consumption to be reduced enough to save local water utilities from $165.7 million to $231.2 million by 2020 because planned investments to expand drinking water treatment or storage capacity can be deferred or avoided.2 1 See Residential End Uses of Water, American Water Works Association Research Foundation (1999). 2 The dollar amounts presented here represent the present value of the net savings discounted at 7 and 3 percent, respectively.
Location-specific estimates for wastewater treatment facilities indicate that reductions in wastewater flows can also lead to significant savings. For example, one regional authority estimates savings of $12 million to $14 million for each million-gallons-per-day reduction in wastewater flows. However, the estimates for both drinking water and wastewater infrastructure are only as accurate as the predictions that individual utilities are able to make about future investment decisions and, for the most part, do not account for the fact that some use of water-efficient fixtures would continue in the absence of the national standards. Repealing the national water efficiency standards could exacerbate the financial pressures facing local communities by forcing them to build or expand treatment and storage facilities sooner than planned. However, even if the standards were repealed, state and local officials told us that imposing moratoria on new residential or commercial construction would be considered only as a last resort. Background The Energy Policy Act of 1992 established water conservation standards for the manufacture of four types of plumbing fixtures: toilets, kitchen and lavatory faucets, showerheads, and urinals. With limited exceptions, the standards apply to all models of the fixtures manufactured after January 1, 1994.
The Subject Won't Die ...
A nationwide survey of 1270 builders and homeowners conducted in the summer of 1999 by the National Association of Home Builders Research Center found that roughly four out of five people experienced problems with low-flush units in the past year. A majority of the builders reported problems from more than one of their clients, and many reported hundreds of problems. Most builders surveyed also said that they receive more call-backs on low-flush toilets than on anything else.
In his article titled 'An Update on Low-Flush Toilets' for The Washington Post, Mike McClintock reported that unlike other problems that turn up even in well-built houses, most builders and homeowners say that the toilet trouble can't be fixed. (14 October 1999, Page 1)
For another opinion on this subject, read 'Potty Politics', The Battle for a Better Flush, By Bob Allen, a professional plumber in Houston, Texas.
Dave Barry, syndicated columnist, on several occasions has poked fun at the Congress for mandating the 1.6 toilets. In one column, Barry challenged his readers to write their 'congress-humans' in support of Rep. Knollenberg's bill to change the law. Barry later said that as a result of that column, he got a huge amount of mail, 'from Americans who care deeply about the issue of their toilets, and the vast majority of them HATE the new ones.' As a result of his taking issue with the legislation, Barry was contacted by a member of Contractors 2000, an association of independent plumbing contractors. He was told that after much testing this association had a toilet they wanted Barry to try. Barry doesn't mention the brand name of the toilet, but he says, 'I cannot speak highly enough of this toilet. It is an inspiring example of American ingenuity and engineering know-how.' For the name of this toilet, you'll have to write Contractors 2000, 2179 Fourth St., St. Paul, MN, 55110.
On 1 Nov '98, under the title 'Maple Leaf Menace for The Washington Post Magazine Barry opens his column by saying, 'I say it's time 'leaders' in Washington stopped blathering about sex and started paying attention to the issues that really MATTER to this nation, such as whether we should declare war on Canada.' He goes on the reveal that Americans are crossing the Canadian border near Detroit to purchase 3.5-gallon-per-flush toilets. Barry rants on in shock that people can simply waltz across our borders with illegal toilets supplied by ruthless Canadian toilet cartels headed by greed-crazed Canadian toilet kingpins who will stop at nothing to push their illicit wares on our vulnerable society.
Fast forward to 10 June 2001. Barry is still ranting against the government attempt to 'cripple our toilets'. Barry opens his column Wit's End in The Washington Post Sunday Magazine with a warning ... TASTEFULNESS ADVISORY: Do not read this column if you are eating, or plan to eat ever again. Thank you.
Then goes on to explain: 'Recently I watched as a professional engineer attempted to flush fermented bean curd down a toilet. This was not some fun engineer prank. This was a laboratory test conducted at the research center of the National Association of Home Builders, which is trying to develop a laboratory test for toilet per-formance that simulates the challenges faced by toilets in the real world.' For the rest of the story ...
John O. Nelson, a Civil Engineer, retired manager of a water utility and Warren Liebold who ran New York's toilet replacement program have put together a report of customer satisfaction responses on different ULFT brands by Water Conservation Professionals responding to an e-mail survey from the American Water Works Association's WaterWiser Conference.
WHICH ONE IS BEST ?
Water Management, Inc. Toilet Testing Labs
After testing many different types of flushing mechanisms in their labs for their installation programs, they selected the PF/2® Energized Flush® mechanism for use inside their toilets tanks.
Water Management, Inc. (WMI), (a sponsor of Toiletology 101) designs and implements water efficiency programs for Multi-unit Residential Properties, Public Housing Authorities, Federal and State Facilities, Military Complexes, Hotel, Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional properties. The majority of their business comes from long-term, performance-based programs in which their compensation is based on a share of the savings generated by their work. This long-term orientation guides every decision they make; their bottom line depends on quality equipment being installed. They install the PF/2® Energized Flush® in their toilets. Although, WMI does not sell directly to the public, the PF/2® Energized Flush® can be found in Eljer, Gerber and Peerless Pottery toilets available at plumbing supply stores and The Home Depot Stores.
'Purchasing Low-Consumption Toilets and Toilet Replacements' written by the Seattle Public Utilities is intended as a guide so you are better informed for discussions with your plumber or retailer. This very useful guide covers, Types of Toilets, Questions To Ask When Shopping for a Toilet, Be Sure The Toilet Will Work In Your Building, and Tips for Toilet Replacement.
Terry Love, a plumber in Redmond, WA has written a Consumer Report on toilets. He has added comments from other professional plumbers regarding their experiences with the low flow toilets.
There is also lots of information on 'Water Efficiency Plumbing Standards' at the WaterWiser web-site. You'll find: Facts About Water Efficiency Plumbing Standards; Benefits from Using Water Efficient Plumbing Products: Questions and Answers: Water Efficiency Plumbing Standards; and some great Consumer Tips on buying new toilets.
For those of you who are in the market for a new toilet, you'll find information on 13 low-flush toilets from eight of the leading manufacturers ($75 to $940) in the May 1998 issue of Consumer Reports (P.O.Box 53029, Boulder, CO 80322-3029) on page 44. 'In search of a better toilet' gives an explanation for the differences among the gravity-flush, the pressure-assisted, the pump assisted, and the vacuum-assisted; these are the different types of toilets available today in the U.S. The engineers at the Consumer Report lab consider the Gerber Ultra Flush the best value and highest performing toilet of the thirteen they tested.
The last time Consumer Reports tested toilets was for their February 1995 issue. The report is now several years old, regardless, it is still worth reviewing (check it out at your public library.) The report rates 32 brands or models that range in price from $65 to $815 for waste-removal, dilution, wash down, soiling and odors, drain carry and noise. Eight of the top ten toilets are pressure-assisted rather than the gravity-flow that is the traditional technology. The report includes a sidebar with the telephone numbers for 12 manufacturers of the low-consumption toilets mentioned in the article.
According to an article in Fine Homebuilding Magazine Thomas Pape, chairman of the Indoor Plumbing Committee for the American Waterworks Association Conservation Committee, says homeowners should consider buying the rounded-bowl toilets instead of the elongated variety. 'These just seems to work better than the elongated bowl,' according to Pape. 'That's especially true in a setting that might be abusive. You get a better vortex action out of a round bowl.'
There are a number of factors that play into how well the low-consumption toilets work -- the size of the drain; the design and shape of the bowl, the tank and it's fittings; how often they are used; their location in relation to the other fixtures in the bath as well as the house, etc.
Seattle plumber Hill Daugherty says, 'houses that have 4-in. to 6-in. cast-iron drains are a problem. When you put a 1.6-gal. toilet in with that diameter pipe, it just barely makes the bottom of the pipe wet. As a retrofit in a house with old plumbing, it's lousy. Now I run high-use fixtures, like the washing machine, just after the toilet. The washing machine will help move that waste down the line.' Washington, D.C., plumber Ken Goldman believes that retrofitting 1.6-gal. toilets is the biggest source of problems plumbers have with the new fixtures. 'We're using plumbing fixtures designed for the 1990s and putting them in plumbing systems designed for the 1920s,' Goldman said.
Testing Toilets for Drainline Carry
According to R. Bruce Martin, President of WC Technology Corporation in the article, Is the Drainline Carry Test Really Necessary?, '... no one had any idea as to how far a WC had to transport waste. No one had ever paid attention to this aspect of performance. As a result, the TG (American National Standards Institute Task Group) had to start its development from a 'zero' knowledge point. They did know that the carry capability of 5-1/2 gpf toilets was satisfactory, that those designs didn't have problems. Thus, the TG decided that the first thing to do was to quantify the transport capability of 5-1/2 gpf WCs. Additionally, the TG agreed that the new test had to be objective, so that other could replicated test results from one laboratory location to another, somewhere else. For the rest of the story you can read the details in 'Is the Drainline Carry Test Really Necessary?'
Here are some ideas for improving the flush of any toilet..
First carefully remove the tank cover (put it flat on the floor on a towel out of the way so it won't get knocked over and cracked) and just observe what goes on when you flush the toilet. Is the water level as high as it could be? Is the flush valve staying open long enough to empty almost all the water out of the tank? Make sure the trip lever does not hit the underside of the lid when you turn the handle. If so, the flapper or tank ball will close prematurely.
Don't let the water go to the very top of the overflow, but you could adjust the refill valve to raise the water level to 1/4 inch below the top--make sure it stays below the top. There are two things that limit the water level in the tank: the height of overflow pipe and the hole in the tank wall where the handle enters the tank.
~~ IMPORTANT NOTE ~~
When either replacing the flush valve entirely or raising its height make certain that the top of the overflow pipe NEVER is higher than the bottom of the hole for the handle. If a refill valve malfunctions and turns the water on, water will flow indefinitely through the hole for the handle when the overflow pipe is too high.
Does the flush valve stay open or does it closing before all the water in the tank leaves? Some flush valves have devices on them that can be adjusted to make the flapper stay open longer.
Regarding the bowl not refilling after the toilet is flushed -- is the refill tube directing water into the top of the overflow pipe? Make sure it is firmly attached to the top of the overflow. Is the refill valve (ball-cock) shutting off before the tank is filled? If so, it is not allowing enough water to flow into the bowl. You may be able to bend the arm of the float ball up a bit, or adjust the refill cup, or you may find there is an adjustment screw on the refill valve to keep it open longer.
~~ Worth a try ... ~~
The answer to a better flush may be found in the toilet tissue used, according to Bruce Case of Case Design/Remodeling Inc. of Bethesda, MD. Case claims in his personal experience switching from a thick fluffy tissue such as Charmin to a light tissue such as White Cloud his family found their toilets worked better.
Class Register Web Mistress Kay Keating © Copyright 1996-2001
Toiletology 101 ~~ http://www.toiletology.com/index.shtml/
To The Plumbing Book Shelf
Be aware that I don't want to interact with any violators. It is my expectation that Bill, Pauline and Scott D. from the ESWT Board do not have any toilets in their house with more than a 1.6 gallon per flush volume. If they do, I may report them to the government toilet police.
Re: The wisdom of government regulations and toiletsSharon W on 6/19/03 at 16:19 (122383)
:)) [laughing hysterically]
Re: The wisdom of government regulations and toiletsNecee on 6/19/03 at 16:48 (122386)
You keep me in stitches!!!! Dr. Ed.
Mandatory outhouses!!!!!! Now that would solve the problem.
Re: The wisdom of government regulations and toiletsRick R on 6/19/03 at 17:10 (122387)
Well heck, more need for big government, if we regulate what people eat we control the input side of the equation from the toilet's perspective. Oh that's right, some folks already had that idea.
I have replaced faucets in my 50 year old house and they have a common characteristic, they don't let much stinking water out. I hear I can still get the real valves in Canada, go figure.
Re: The wisdom of government regulations and toiletsjohn h-moderator on 6/20/03 at 09:20 (122428)
Ed: There are add on air pressure devices you can place on those 1.6 gallon toilets. If I ever moved I would take my old toilet with me.
Congress is debating whether to provide the fast food industry with some legal protection against law suits that accuse them of selling addictve food. It seems the same Professor who started the mass action legal lawsuits is now targeting the fast food industry in the same way he went after big tobacco and unless Congress can pass some sort of legislation McDonalds and all the rest can be sued for additicting the people to life threating fast food. The Lawyers are licking their chops! Hmm that is sort of a pun-
Re: The wisdom of government regulations and toiletsSharon W on 6/20/03 at 09:24 (122429)
Yes, I think it's really disgusting -- parents suing McDonalds because their kids get fat. Did that lawsuit ever get resolved; do you know?
Re: The wisdom of government regulations and toiletsEd Davis, DPM on 6/20/03 at 13:27 (122451)
Sharon and John:
Don't forget the lady that won a half million dollar lawsuit against McDonalds afer placing a cup of hot coffee between her legs while driving and spilling it.
Re: The wisdom of government regulations and toiletsjohn h on 6/20/03 at 19:37 (122489)
Sharon: There are some big time class action suits getting ready to be filed against a group of fast food chains. this will rival the cigarette law suits. this is why the fast food industry is looking to Congress to provide some sort of protection. I guess you could sue TV stations that get us all addicted and become couch potatoes.
Re: The wisdom of government regulations and toiletsEd Davis, DPM on 6/21/03 at 11:24 (122538)
I have seen the pressure assist units but did not realize that the toilets could be 'retrofitted' with the devices.
Re: The wisdom of government regulations and toiletsJohn B on 6/23/03 at 10:31 (122670)
I don't see any problems with either the new toilets or water restricting faucets.
Some of the new 1.6 gallon toilets are way superior to the older toilets that waste gallons of water with each flush. I recently replaced both of my old 5.5 gallon toilets with 1.6 gallon models and the new ones work much better than the old ones ever did. 1.6 gallon toilets used to be a problem when the government regulations first came out, but technology has definitely caught up in this area. Sometimes I had to flush my old toilet twice to get everything down, using 11 gallons of water. Now I can get everything down with one 1.6 gallon flush. And my new toilets don't have any fancy, expensive pressure or vacuum assist. Basically all they had to do besides limit the amount of water per flush is to open up the exit tube from 2' to 2.5'. According to Consumers Reports, Kohler makes the best non-pressure assisted toilets, and that is what I got. They cost me $96.00 each. My 3 month water bill went down $25, so the toilets will be paid for in reduced water bills in less than 2 years. And from then on, they will be saving me money. So they cost less than nothing.
As far as water restricting faucets, just unscrew the thingy on the end of the faucet and take out the rubber water restrictor. Some models will just come out, others may require a knife to cut it out. Either way it is pretty easy to do.
Re: The wisdom of government regulations and toiletsmarie on 6/23/03 at 16:09 (122734)
Did you know that Japan has the best toilet technology in the world. I did like the heated toilet seats while there. Maybe you can order one from Japan.
Re: The wisdom of government regulations and toiletsPeter R on 6/24/03 at 13:47 (122830)
We have had heated toilet seats in this country for a long time. Just quickly follow a fat person into the stall.
Re: The wisdom of government regulations and toiletsJohn B on 6/29/03 at 09:49 (123145)
1.6 gallon toilets are no longer an issue. Reading through all the articles in your post, none of them are current. The toilets designed since any of these articles have been written are SUPERIOR than any of the old 5.5 gallon toilets. And they flush better with 1.6 gallons of water without any pressure assist or vacuum gizmos.
You can't find a decent toilet nowadays? Get a basic Kohler toilet with a round bowl. I have replaced both my 5.5 gallon toilets with this model and it flushes better than either of the old toilets. They only cost $96.00 each. They will pay for themselves in water bill savings in less than 2 years.