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.
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
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