A student in the region launches an initiative to tackle toilet leaks

Christine Latimer distributed free toilet leak kits at Newmarket Farmers Market

Inspired by a program at her summer job, Aurora resident Kristen Latimer launched an initiative to help Newmarket residents find silent toilet leaks, saving money and the environment.

Latimer, a marine biology and chemistry student at Dalhousie University, was at the Newmarket Farmers Market in July distributing her household infusion kits down the toilet.

“Silent leaks in the toilet basically happen when the water flows from the tank into the bowl, and it can be really hard to tell if this is happening a lot because they are silent,” she said.

To help residents mitigate this risk, I’ve created kits with a tincture tablet and instructions on how to use it.

They use dye tablets and put them in the toilet tank. Then, if any color shows up in a bowl, that basically tells you if you have a leak,” she said.

The idea was inspired by a not-for-profit environmental organization Guelph Latimer I worked with for eight weeks earlier this summer. I’ve offered free home modifications where you’ll go into people’s homes and help them find environmental deficiencies such as leaks. When her time there was over, she wanted to do something similar here and thought toilet leak kits were a simple and effective way to help the environment.

“Gravity is sort of finding a problem, solving a problem, because sometimes it can be very difficult trying to combat climate change, but something fast, simple and objective was really my goal,” she said.

Not only does finding and fixing toilet leaks help reduce the amount of water wasted, but it can also help lower your water bills.

“It can be a little hard to sell to some people in terms of the environment, so it’s always a good idea to help the environment, you know, reduce your water bill,” Latimer said.

Fortunately, she said, at the farmers market, “It was great to see how many people are really interested in helping the environment.”

I gave out 150 free kits there in July. She said she hopes to return there this summer but is unsure if she will be back before having to return to Halifax for school in September.

She said residents who were interested in the idea but didn’t get a kit this time could buy dye tablets online from retailers like Amazon and test out their toilets for themselves.

In the future, Latimer hopes to continue distributing the kits and would like to partner with a local plumber to produce and distribute more of them.

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