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1 Shade of Grey

April 28, 2016

Did you know that our water isn’t just clear? It actually comes in a variety of colors – specifically white, green, blue, grey and black. Strange, right? Well, water isn’t actually colored. These terms are used to describe the source or type of water it is. And while I’d love to go into great detail about each of these, we’re going to stick to greywater.

So… what exactly is greywater?

Greywater is household water with the exception of wastewater from the toilet (which is called black water). Greywater comes from bathroom and kitchen sinks, showers, tubs and washing machines. With the right treatment and process, greywater can be used to irrigate plants (both for food and non-producing plants!), washing laundry and even toilet flushing!

According to the EPA – the average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day… more than 300 gallonsper day!! And of that ridiculous amount of water each family uses (per day), 70% is used inside the house. But here’s one redeeming factor of our excess water usage – a large amount of that water can be reused – aka “greywater”. The rest of the water produced from your home is called blackwater.

Blackwater, which sounds about as fun as its name leads you to believe, CAN also be reused and recycled but it takes a lot more energy to treat this water.

Wonderful, you now know what greywater is. Now what? How can you and/or the planet benefit from greywater? Here’s a few ideas:

1. It reduces the need for fresh water. This diminishes the need to pull from our natural resources.

2. It saves energy and water. Greywater contains lower levels of contaminants which can be treated and recycled within a home as opposed to going through the treatment process with a septic tank.

3. Install a greywater system. It helps lower water bills and keeps money in your pocket for that latest gadget.

 

While there are many benefits of using greywater – you should proceed with caution and consider the fact that:

1. Greywater is NOT potable water. Although it may be nourishing for plants, it is not safe for human or animal consumption. Greywater consists traces of dirt, food, grease and certain household cleaning products. Stuff that you don’t want in your body! Or your pet’s body!

2. If you are new to greywater, you will have to start from scratch to create a system – which can be costly!

3. Don’t store greywater for more than 24 hours. The longer you store greywater, the nutrients will break down and cause bad odors.