Rockland’s Businesses Should Avail Themselves To Water Audit


SUEZ Conservation Program Translates To Money Savings, and Good Environmental Citizen

By Tina Traster

More than 2,500 residential customers have taken advantage of a water conservation program SUEZ launched last June but there’s been a lackluster response from the business community to sign up. That doesn’t make sense, as there are significant savings to be had for commercial, multi-family and industrial users, too.

Bill Madden

Business customers using large amounts of water can request free water-efficiency assessments that will identify opportunities to save money by installing water-efficient urinals, showerheads, toilets, washing machines and pre-rinse spray valves.

“We would like the business community to take a look at the conservation program and start participating,” said Bill Madden, Director of External Affairs at SUEZ.

“We would like the business community to take a look at the conservation program and start participating,” said Bill Madden, Director of External Affairs at SUEZ.

Madden said SUEZ has conducted roughly 50 water audits for commercial users recently. He is hopeful the business community will recognize that the program offers both monetary savings and an opportunity to be better environmental stewards. “It takes time for organizations to commit to rebates,” Madden said.

The most likely joiners are businesses that are in the process of undertaking renovations but any business can realize immediate savings by switching to energy-saving appliances.

During a water audit, SUEZ sends a representative from Water Management Inc. of Virginia to spend an hour or more at a business or facility to evaluate both water consumption and fixtures. They ask questions such as: Where is most of the water going? How is it being used? What can be replaced and how will that affect the projected annual gallons of water used? It takes about two weeks for SUEZ to issue a final report. The conservation program offers significant monetary rebates on the purchase of water-saving appliances including toilets, showerheads and washing machines.

SUEZ is also hoping to see participation from municipalities and school districts. The company has been meeting with public officials to explain the program and get them on board. The Town of Clarkstown appears to be the first municipality to show interest.

Suez was one of four recipients at the RBA (Rockland Business Association’s) 9th Annual Green Council Awards earlier this month. Introducing the award during a luncheon at the Crowne Plaza in Suffern, Linda LaRoe, director of Foundation and Community Relations at St. Thomas Aquinas College said, “SUEZ has already committed $1 million, including over $150,000 of rebates to date toward the goal of saving 1 million gallons of water per day in Rockland County. Very impressive!”

Rockland has a finite water supply, drawing 30% of water from Lake DeForrest, and the rest from production wells. Madden says population is growing faster in Rockland, compared to every other New York county. The proposal for the desalination plant failed, but water conservation remains a concern.

Residential customers who have taken advantage of the program not only save water, they lower their utility bills. Typically, residential customers who purchase a new washing machine are saving $50 in water costs annually, $65 on a toilet, $35 on a shower head. Annual savings are based on usage of an average Rockland family of four replacing a 3.5 gallon per flush toilet, a non-Energy Star washing machine and a 2.7 gallon per minute showerhead.

O&R’s energy conservation program began in 2016 with rebates on a wide variety of energy-saving products.

SUEZ customers can purchase approved water-savings products at any retailer or online, and receive rebates. Approved products must meet WaterSense or EnergyStar standards.