Saturday's Junk Your John Day exceeded expectations.
The joint venture that brought together business and industry sent more than 100 old, inefficient toilets to the scrap heap and replaced them with models that use a lot less water.
"We managed to get a lot of old clunkers out of commission," said Eric Cooper, whose True Value Home Center provided the 112 new low-flow toilets that West Kern Water District customers took home after trading in their old ones for a $150 voucher toward purchase of the new model.
"It really exceeded our expectations," he said. "We started out at 40 and ended up with 112."
When the sponsoring collaborative – WKWD, Water Association of Kern County, PG&E and Cooper's True Value – first began planning the scrap your crapper event the target was to get 40 trade-ins.
But interest grew and more toilets were ordered. The number reached 80 and kept going.
Cooper admitted being a bit nervous as more toilets were ordered and delivered. As the number grew, so did his fretting that all of them would arrive on time.
The last load arrived Friday afternoon.
"Until that truck shows up I'm not really happy," he said.
Fortunately it all worked out.
"I thought it was just a great community event," Cooper said. "It was fun working with the water district on this. Hopefully, we can expand this."
He said there was plenty of help available and the process went off smoothly.
"It was great working with the Water Association of Kern County and the water district. West Side Waste Management was very generous. They had a dumpster available to haul off the old toilets. Everyone worked hard to pull this off."
The new toilets were certified under the Water Sense program created and promoted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Products with the Water Sense label typically are about 20 percent more efficient than conventional models in the same category, the Water Association points out.
The Junk Your John event dovetails nicely with West Kern's promotion of water conservation.
"This program makes new water for the district," said Harry Starkey, general manager of West Kern Water District. "With the problems in the Delta, every drop counts."
The state is still recovering from a prolonged drought, which has reduced water deliveries throughout the state, including the Taft area.
Toilets were targeted because they account for nearly a third of an average home's water consumption.
Each of the new toilets sold during Saturday's event will save nearly 11 gallons of water every day.