Do you know what “grey water” is? Grey water is all household wastewater that hasn’t been used in toilets. 50% -80% of any households water usage will end up as grey water. What happens next is really disappointing though. All of this reusable grey water is mixed with unusable “black water” or sewage water and sent down the sewer to the local wastewater treatment plant before it’s dumped into the nearest river or estuary as effluent.
If we were to recycle this grey water we could reduce our water consumption by 50% or more. The good news is that it is easy to capture and reuse grey water on site. Once captured this water can be distributed to toilets or outside for irrigation. Depending on the type of system you want, and what you intend to use it for, prices can range from a hundred dollars or so for a simple irrigation setup to thousands of dollars for advanced multi-stage filtration systems.
Getting to the point where it’s the norm for individual households to be recycling grey water will take some time; but there are already large scale commercial grey water recycling systems in place right in your own back yard. Recently Chesterfield County began supplying a nearby dominion power plant with 2 million gallons of wastewater per day for use in a process that helps to reduce air pollution. Large-scale reuse systems like this are popping up all over the country and will become commonplace in the near future.