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Area student launches initiative to tackle toilet leaks

Christine Latimer handed out free toilet leak kits at the Newmarket Farmers Market
2022 08 05 christine latimer
Christine Latimer of Aurora shows off her handmade toilet leak kits at the Newmarket Farmers Market.

Inspired by a program at her summer job, Aurora resident Christine 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 handing out her homemade toilet leak kits.

“Silent toilet leaks are basically when the water flows from your tank, into the bowl, and it can be really hard to tell if that’s happening a lot of the time because they’re silent,” she said. 

To help residents mitigate this risk, she created kits that include a dye tablet and instructions on how to use it.

“They use dye tablets, and they put that in the tank of the toilet. Then, if any colour shows up in a bowl, that basically tells you if you’ve got a leak,” she said.

The idea was inspired by an environmental not-for-profit in Guelph Latimer worked with for eight weeks earlier this summer. It offered free home tune-ups where it would go to people’s homes and help them find environmental inefficiencies such as leaks. When her time there wrapped up, she wanted to do something similar here and thought the toilet leak kits were a simple and effective way to help the environment.

“The allure is sort of find a problem, fix the problem, because sometimes it can be very daunting to try and fight climate change, but something quick and simple and objective was my goal, really,” she said.

Not only does finding and fixing toilet leaks help reduce how much water is being wasting, but it can also help lower water bills.

“It can be a little bit hard to sell some people on the environment part, so it’s always nice to help the environment and, you know, lessen your water bill,” Latimer said.

Fortunately, at the farmers market, she said, “it was great to see how many people were actually interested in helping the environment.”

She handed out 150 kits for free there in July. She said she hopes to be back there this summer but is not sure if she’ll make it back before she has to return to Halifax for school in September.

Residents who are interested in the idea but didn’t get a kit this time around can buy dye tablets online from retailers like Amazon and test their toilets themselves, she said.

In the future, Latimer hopes to continue distributing the kits and would like to partner with a local plumbing company to produce and hand out even more of them.

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Elizabeth Keith

About the Author: Elizabeth Keith

Elizabeth Keith is a general assignment reporter. She graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2017. Elizabeth is passionate about telling local stories and creating community.
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