As the supply of water has become more and more scarce, societies have become increasingly focused on ways to conserve water by reusing greywater and implementing greywater systems.
Greywater is best described as all wastewater generated in households or office buildings from streams without contamination (e.g. fecal), and typical greywater sources include bathroom sinks, showers, baths, and washing machines.
Greywater systems have been employed in both US and other economies for hundreds of years as a method for increasing the productivity of sustainable outdoor ecosystems. An enduring image of one such system is the pioneer woman making her periodic trek into the backyard to dump dishpans of water on plants and shrubs.
The benefits to be gained from use of greywater systems are clear.
- Most greywater is easier to treat and recycle than blackwater or sewage because of its lower levels of contaminants,
- and if collected using a separate plumbing system from blackwater, domestic greywater can be recycled directly within the home, garden or company and used either immediately processed and stored.
Indeed, a recent 2015 epidemiological study has confirmed a developing consensus that greywater systems that provide irrigation are safe, and do not carry with them an additional burden of disease among greywater users.
If it is stored, the greywater must ultimately be used within a very short time or it will begin to putrefy due to the organic solids in the water. And while recycled water produced through greywater systems is never safe to drink, certain biological treatment steps or mechanical systems can be utilized to produce water that can be reused within the house for washing or flushing toilets.
As the demand for use of greywater has expanded, a number of different types of greywater systems have emerged. Certain greywater systems involve washing machines using one of these three methods:
- direct pumping of greywater from the machine to outdoor plants
- a laundry drum system, in which water is pumped into a large barrel or temporary storage tank
- or the more sophisticated “laundry-to-landscape” system, in which the washing machine drain hose is attached directly to a diverter valve, which in turn allows the user to switch the flow of water between sewer/septic and greywater irrigation system.
Other greywater systems utilize the shower, with a pumped or gravity-based system depending on whether the area to be irrigated is uphill from the house.
In certain states kitchen sinks can serve as the water source in greywater systems, although most states prohibit such practices, because this water is categorized as being too “black” or “dirty” and is more prone to clogging.
As public demand for greywater systems has grown, we have seen the emergence of technology solutions, such as the GreenSmart Greywater Diverter, which have made these systems more effective and convenient to use for the average homeowner.
GreenSmart’s Greywater Diverter is easy to use, easy to install in new construction and remodels, and is the first and only practical, legally approved, UPC certified greywater diverter for residential use.
GreenSmart notes that this device can reduce water consumption by up to 25% or more, depending on usage habits, and works by diverting the clean greywater to the landscape with the simple push of a remote-control button on the wall.
When non-biodegradable products such as hair color are used in the shower, the resulting dirty water can be diverted to the sewer with the touch of a button, and when the shower water is again clean, it can be diverted back to the garden with a touch of a button. This product became Uniform Plumbing Code Certified in March 2015, and is currently in production and available to the public.
Residential Greywater systems make it possible for homeowners to reuse our precious natural resource, water, and technology such as GreenSmart’s greywater diverter make this reuse easy and efficient.
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