Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Grey – It’s the new Green

Recycling water saves money (and water).

A recent visit to a friend’s ‘boat house’ on Norris Lake brought the topic of grey water to our attention. Boat houses (uni-built homes that float year-round on the lake) have unique plumbing challenges; they use a holding tank for septic needs; drinking/bathing/cooking water is supplied via a hose that runs from the shore, through the lake, and connects to each house. Used drinking/bathing water (also known as grey water) is charged directly into Lake Norris.

Yes, you read that correctly – a recreational lake used for swimming, boating, and fishing is home to scores of boat houses that discharge their grey water right into the lake. Those bubbles floating by while you float, boat, ski, or fish are from someone’s used shampoo. How’s that for adding a little ‘zest’ to your vacation?

Grey water – the original shades of grey
According to http://www.offthegridnews.com, “[Grey water is] all that water that drains out from your washing machine, showers, bathtubs, and more—any used water that does not contain human waste. By comparison, water that contains waste is known as black water, which must be handled according to specific regulations. Grey water, however, comes in shades. “For instance, bath and washer water is further towards the black water scale, whereas water flowing continuously from a shower or sink is significantly cleaner.”

For most city-dwellers, grey water has a certain ‘ick factor’ that can be difficult to overcome. But for communities in drought-stricken or underdeveloped areas, grey water is a cornerstone of sustainable living. Recycling water is not hard; with a little effort, using grey water on a daily basis can be a fulfilling way to lead a more green life.

Can I use grey water in my yard?
Absolutely – that’s a perfect application. They key to successful water recycling is to keep it simple. Avoid complicated approaches that will cost more than they save. Also, grey water is called that for a reason – it contains soap, chemicals, and also bacteria. While fine for watering the flowers, you may want to show caution before using it to water edibles in your herb or vegetable garden. A few tips on using grey water:

· It’s alkaline, do not use it on plants that prefer acidic soil.
· Apply grey water to the soil, not to leaves or flowering parts of a plant.
· Do not use grey water on root vegetables.
· Use grey water ASAP; it should not be stored for more than 24 hours.
· Use grey water for flushing ONLY by dumping a bucketful into the toilet bowl, never into the tank.
· Avoid installing complicated, maintenance-intense filtering systems.
· Consider simple diverter valves to collect grey water for underground irrigation systems or holding tanks.
· Never cross-contaminate grey water with drinking water for people or pets.

You Waiting For? Now is the perfect time to plan for your spring watering needs. Grey water or rainwater collection kits are a smart investment during a hot, dry Cincinnati summer. Allied Ready Rooter can install your pre-purchased kits or help you construct one from scratch. For more information on going green with your water, contact Ray today. Estimates are free and coupons are available to offset the labor charge. Call today – 513.396-5300.