HELENA — Montana’s Public Service Commission is encouraging Montanans to help put a stop to the nearly 1 trillion gallons of water wasted each year in the United States due to household leaks. 

The Commission will join with utility regulators across the country to promote Fix-A-Leak Week, which begins March 15. In 2008, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners partnered with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense initiative, which promotes water efficiency and conservation. This year, the WaterSense program is sponsoring its thirteenth annual Fix-A-Leak Week, which encourages consumers to find and fix leaks to save water and money.

Leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water in an average home every year—the amount of water it takes to wash 300 loads of laundry. To help save water for future generations, the Commission is asking consumers to check, twist, and replace:

· Check for leaks. Look for dripping faucets, showerheads, sprinklers, and other fixtures. Also check for toilets with silent leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring into the tank, waiting 10 minutes, and seeing if color appears in the bowl before you flush. Don’t forget to check irrigation systems and spigots too.

· Twist and tighten hose and pipe connections. To save water without a noticeable difference in flow in your bathroom, twist on a WaterSense labeled faucet aerator. 

· Replace the fixture if necessary. Look for WaterSense labeled models, which are independently certified to use 20 percent less water and perform as well as or better than standard models.

In many cases, fixture replacement parts pay for themselves quickly and can be installed by handy do-it-yourselfers or local plumbing professionals. Irrigation professionals certified through a WaterSense labeled program can also check your systems for leaks. Visit www.epa.gov/watersense to find WaterSense labeled products or an auditor in your area.

The Commission regulates private investor-owned natural gas, electric, telephone, water, and sewer companies, certain motor carriers, and oversees natural gas pipeline safety and intrastate railroad safety. The Commission works to ensure that Montanans receive safe and reliable service from regulated public utilities while paying reasonable rates. For more information, visit psc.mt.gov or contact the Commission at 1-800-646-6150. Follow the Commission at Twitter.com/@MT_PSC or visit Facebook.com/MontanaPSC.

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