The Montgomery County Commissioners have approved an energy-saving program for the prison in Eagleville, starting with water. Warden Julio Algarin says inmates waste a lot of it, largely with the toilets, where they throw almost anything.
“Trash, paper, peelings from oranges, sheets, extra clothing when we announce a search. They flush everything that they don’t have to pay for. They try to get rid of everything through that toilet. It’s almost like a garbage disposal, and it consumes a lot of water.”
He says electronic devices will allow two toilet flushes in five minutes, and then lock out further flushes for an hour. Prison Program Manager Mark Hanhurst says similar devices will limit water use in the sinks.
“Typically it’s five to ten seconds, and then the sink turns off, and they can press it two more times and the hot water locks out. By code they have to have a certain amount of cold water available to them, but the electronic controls will lock out not only the amount of flushes, but also the gallons of water they can use in their sinks.”
Hanhurst says electronic shower controls will let inmates shower for up to six minutes once a day. He says he hopes the plumbing upgrades are in place by late this year or early next year. A $2.4 million federal grant is paying for the work, which is being done by Honeywell Building Solutions of Fort Washington. He says savings on water and sewer bills will pay for Phase Two of the energy-saving program, which will focus on lighting, heating and air conditioning.