The average American uses between 80-100 gallons of fresh water each day. For those of us who live in water-rich areas, we may not think much of our water consumption. For those who live in water-poor areas, grey water is taking on a new significance. Grey is the new green, which means you don’t have to live in a water-poor area to consider grey water as a potential source of savings. You can take advantage of grey water recycling systems in Boston to reduce water consumption and water bills, and improve the environment at the same time.
What is grey water? Grey water is any water that’s not fit for drinking, but that’s not contaminated with biological waste materials either. For example, waste water from your laundry system is considered grey water. Collected rainwater is also considered grey water because it hasn’t been purified for drinking.
Normally, grey water (so named because it tends to be cloudy) is washed down the drain and flows into the sewer. While grey water isn’t very appealing for drinking and cooking, it still has some marginal value for non-drinking applications like flushing toilets and watering lawns.
Some systems on the market today allow the homeowner to “recapture” grey water and recycle it for use in toilets. Why does grey water make a good use for this? If you look at how water is consumed in the average American home, you’ll immediately see why there’s benefit to separating potable from non-potable water.
All water that’s delivered to your home from the municipal water supply is potable. That means it’s safe to drink and use in cooking. Certain other water-consuming tasks require clean, potable water – like washing dishes. You probably want clean water to wash your clothes, too, and certain heating systems – like boilers – require clean water.
About 70% of the water you consume on a daily basis is required to be clean. This includes water for showering, drinking, cooking, washing and heating. The other 30 percent doesn’t need to be pristine to accomplish what you’re aiming for. This includes flushing toilets, washing your car, and watering your lawn. About 25% of the water you use each day comes from flushing the toilet. There’s no requirement that toilet water be potable, yet we use potable water to supply our toilets because that’s the only kind of water that comes from the municipal water supply.Likewise, when we water our lawns and wash our cars, we’re throwing drinking water on the ground.
If we can recapture some of the “grey water” – from showers, laundry, car washing, hand-washing, etc.) we can use this non-potable water to reduce our fresh water consumption significantly. We can also capture rainwater that runs off the roof of our homes for later, controlled use in the garden and on our lawns.
The benefits of grey water recycling are tremendous. First, you can get two or more uses out of water before it gets returned for purification. You can also cut down on your water bill by using rainwater (which is free) and grey water for functions that don’t require high quality water. By limiting your consumption of the highest quality water, you can help ensure that the clean water supply is both sustainable and cost effective as the population changes.
If you would like more information about grey water recycling in Boston, please contact Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911. We’ll be happy to show you how you can put grey water recycling to work in your home.