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Old 03-22-2014, 11:36 AM
 
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Here in NM, and in the western US in general, there seems to be growing concern regarding water shortages in the future.

One potential way to help stave off running out of water would be to use greywater for toilets. It seems kinda silly to me that we use the same grade of water suitable for drinking for depositing human waste. Considering every man, woman, and child flushes the toilet at least 5 times a day, there could be a substantial reduction of water use, rather than all of that good water going down the toilet.

Could this work? What would be the challenges in implementing this idea?
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:05 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Of course it could be used for flushing. I'm not sure, but I think some communities in Australia have dual fresh-water and grey-water systems in the homes. (?)

That's what it would take; dual plumbing systems in every home, which would be expensive. This should have been done decades ago (when was the first Earth Day, 1970?), back when the economy was strong and environmental consciousness was high. Now it could only happen in new developments, and the housing would be expensive, something only wealthier people could afford. Kind of like the Prius cars.

Here in the SW, there are Native American communities with their own sewage treatment systems that pipe grey water for various uses around the community. There's no reason gated communities and other developments, especially those whose residents could afford the extra cost, couldn't do the same, but they don't.

Last edited by Ruth4Truth; 03-22-2014 at 01:19 PM..
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:53 PM
Zot
 
Location: 3rd rock from a nearby star
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Greywater is what I flush down my toilet. I don't want my flush to be backfed into the tank for the next flush.
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Old 03-22-2014, 02:36 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zot View Post
Greywater is what I flush down my toilet. I don't want my flush to be backfed into the tank for the next flush.
No, it's not. What you flush down your toilet is brown water. Grey water is what a sewage treatment plant produces.
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Old 03-22-2014, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Twin Cities
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
No, it's not. What you flush down your toilet is brown water. Grey water is what a sewage treatment plant produces.
This is incorrect. Grey water is what goes down the drain in a sink, bathtub, or shower. What goes down your toilet is called sewage or black water. The difference is that the latter contains human waste and the former does not. Both go to a sewage treatment plant. The discharge from a sewage treatment plant is called secondary treated effluent.
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Old 03-22-2014, 03:31 PM
 
Location: Volcano
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenfield View Post
This is incorrect. Grey water is what goes down the drain in a sink, bathtub, or shower. What goes down your toilet is called sewage or black water. The difference is that the latter contains human waste and the former does not. Both go to a sewage treatment plant. The discharge from a sewage treatment plant is called secondary treated effluent.
Exactly right. ^^^^

And water from washing machines typically is also included in greywater, which can be used to flush toilets, and also to water lawns and landscaping, if you don't mind a little foam in your pansy beds.

There are a couple of challenges in using greywater... many older building codes and city codes do not allow it, although diverting drainwater from the shower to water the rose beds is unlikely to cause problems with authorities... it requires additional plumbing, and often a holding tank and a pump... there is a small, but nevertheless real concern about live bacteria in the greywater, such as salmonella in the kitchen greywater, remaining viable in the toilet tank, then aerosolized in the flush and and inhaled by the user. But I'd call that more a theoretical than a practical concern, although it does highlight the fact that kitchen sinks seem to be more of a risk to human health than toilets are.

Here on the Big Island a full septic system for wastewater disposal can be replaced by an approved composting toilet and a greywater disposal system for fully permitted dwellings. A greywater disposal system is like a much smaller septic system that primarily facilitates absorption of the drainage water into the ground.
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Old 03-23-2014, 07:06 PM
 
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I wish I could just use grey water to water my grass instead of it all going into the Septic tank... I agree OpenD - only new developments/houses would be able to go this, but it should be done. And any new housing permits, it should be code and required.
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Old 03-23-2014, 10:25 PM
 
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Lots of areas allow for grey water irrigation of landscaping, it isn't a real big deal, no tanks or pumps required.

When you introduce a holding tank into a grey water system you are generally creating a problem because within a very short period of time (a couple of days or less depending on temps) the grey water in a holding tank becomes black water and illegal to use for irrigation.

Storing grey water for more than a day is where a lot of people go wrong with such systems and why some communities and cities don't allow them.

A well designed grey water system doesn't use a holding tank, doesn't need a pump and insures that no grey water leaves the property on which the grey water system is operating.

Many development agencies publish the necessary information to calculate the soil absorption rates so that the grey water system's impact can be managed properly.
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Old 03-23-2014, 11:20 PM
 
Location: Long Neck,De
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Many years ago when I dreamed of "living off the land" Publications which I read like Mother Earth News featured plans for this regularly.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:15 AM
Zot
 
Location: 3rd rock from a nearby star
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenfield View Post
This is incorrect. Grey water is what goes down the drain in a sink, bathtub, or shower. What goes down your toilet is called sewage or black water. The difference is that the latter contains human waste and the former does not. Both go to a sewage treatment plant. The discharge from a sewage treatment plant is called secondary treated effluent.
If I pee and it's a light pee, is it gray water flushing down the chute or black?
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