The pros & cons of grey water recycling

Greywater recycling should be practiced in one form or another by all water users; this article describes some pros and cons. A very simple and effective way of reusing grey water is to use it to irrigate gardens and lawns. Shower water can be directed to a water tank that has a small submersible pump with a float switch. The greywater is then pumped from the water tank when it reaches a certain level and distributed by a basic Gardena-type irrigation head. 

gray water tanks
The pros of greywater recycling are consistent with the pros of any water recycling (rainwater, yellow water, black water):

  • A growing population — expected 420 million by mid-205
  • Demand outpacing supply — cities like Los Angeles have a supply for three million people; however, demand is equivalent to 18 million people
  • Climate change — e.g. reduced snow pack, US projected to become more arid
  • Water contamination — bacteriological, nutrients, chlorides limiting supply
  • Industry expansion — states around great lakes using availability of water to attract industry
  • To save money — California uses 15 percent of energy for water/wastewater and the price of water increasing
  • Environmental responsibility — it’s the right thing to do
  • The average American uses about 160 gallons of water each day and 25 percent of the water entering the home is used to flush toilets — an ideal use for treated greywater
  • Up to 50 percent of all water is used for irrigation — another ideal use for treated greywater.

The cons for greywater recycling are:

  • Dual plumbing is required to accommodate reuse and source separation (graywater/blackwater)
  • Must prevent inappropriate substances going down the drain
  • Health risks — avoid potential for contact and/or ingestion
  • Environmental risks are not easily evaluated — minimize cumulative impacts

Source: Proudgreenhome

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