Canadian Ad Suggests Toilet Smuggling
“These superior flushing toilets are available in select areas only, in this case, two short blocks from the tunnel exit in downtown Windsor,” reads the ad. “The best part for you, the discriminating shopper, is that your U.S. dollar is worth much more in Windsor.”
It is not illegal to purchase and transport a 3.5 gpf water closet into the country, as long as it is for personal use. It is, however, illegal to purchase the 3.5 gpf toilet and resell it in the United States.
“We have about six to ten people coming through here a week for the toilets,” said Rachel Bellack, one of the owners of Veteran Plumbing & Supplies. “They are buying the higher end toilets for personal use.”
“I imagine that U.S. customs would give contractors a more difficult time at the border,” Bellack added. “We did our research with the U.S. customs ahead of time.”
The 1992 Energy Policy and Conservation Act makes it illegal to purchase and install 3.5 gpf toilets in the U.S., and made the 1.6 gpf models standard. If passed, the Plumbing Standards Improvement Act of 1997, which was introduced in March by Rep. Joseph Knollenberg (R-MI), will restore water flow rates back to levels well above the current 1.6 gpf water closets.