Noting a recent surge in wastewater-related posts, an eager reader mentions greywater for conservation. He notes that long-time Madison resident and inventor Paul Redfield plumbed in a system that piped his laundry and shower water into his toilet tanks. I've heard others mention how silly it is that we Americans use gallons of drinkable water to flush away a cup of urine or a little bit of poo. My correspondent wonders how many millions of gallons of water we might save by repurposing our greywater.
Ah! A numbers question!
A little Googling takes me to this Miller-McClune article about California's relaxation of its greywater rules last summer. California officials estimate a family of four recycling just its laundry greywater can save 22,000 gallons of water per year.
Let's see... family of four... Madison has about 6500 people... carry the two... almost 36 million gallons of water per year, just from recycling laundry greywater. 36 million gallons: that's over a month's worth of the water the Lewis and Clark water pipeline is supposed to bring our fair city after 2019.
Or, for my dry little family of three, 22,000 gallons equals seven months of household water consumption. Yowza!
Now don't just go busting through your drywall and looping new pipes through your walls; greywater takes a little thought. And don't go running that shower drain straight out to your garden: the state has rules on that.
But if you plumbers out there are looking for a little recession business, greywater systems might be the ticket. Tell your customers you can save them money: Go green, go grey!
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