With the droughts in California and other parts of the country taking center stage, it is time to talk about reclaimed water. Even though most people do not communicate with their plumbers about their exterior water usage, the water that is used for watering lawns and gardens does have to move through lines that have been plumbed. In the United States alone, nearly 7 billion gallons of potable water is used to water grass and gardens nearly every day. If homeowners learned about recycling their water, they could not only save money on their water bills, but also reduce the amount of water that enters the sewage lines. The process of reclaiming and recycling water is much easier that people tend to think it is.
Why Worry about Water Recycling
Before you decide to commit to recycling water, it is helpful to understand exactly why it is a good idea. When you recycle your water, you’re helping keep the environment robust and healthy. If everyone decided to recycle their water, there would be more water available for delicate habitats and ecosystems. City water supplies would have less wastewater to treat and this would create fewer opportunities for overflows and leaks that can harm those delicate habitats. Less water needs to be removed from natural water sources like lakes, streams, and rivers as well as underground reservoirs that can be quickly emptied in drought situations. Some communities actually get their water from hundreds of miles away, so reducing water usage can reduce fuel costs to pump water that far.
Types of Water
When it comes to water descriptions, there are three types: white, gray, and black. White water is the clean water that comes out of the tap. Black water is the sewage with fecal matter that leaves your home for the city sewer system. Gray water is what we get before water is sewer-bound. Gray water can be recycled, as long as it is not used for human consumption. Americans tend to create more gray water than they think they do. We create it when we wash our hands, take a bath, or wash our clothes in a washing machine. In most cases, the water is used once and sent down the drain. Instead, with a few mindful modifications to your daily activities, you can reclaim and reuse your gray water.
Why Gray Water Can be Used
Gray water is generally safe for plants that are growing outside of the home. Most gray water has soap residue, which is perfectly safe for plants. It is also common for gray water to have cooking oil and fat, as well as human skin and hair. These items also do not cause damage to exterior plants. If you are going to use gray water for your lawn and plants, you should pay close attention to the chemical cleaners you plan to use. Many cleaners with heavy chemical can often be the death of plants when that type of water is used as gray water.
No Buckets Needed: Install a Diversion System
If you are visualizing yourself bringing your bath water to your garden one bucket at a time, you should stop worrying. Sure, using a bucket is a fine way to bring reclaimed water to your lawn and garden, but there are other, more efficient ways to reclaim your gray water. There are systems, called diversion systems that will direct water from the bath tub, washing machine, bathroom sink, and other useful places right into an exterior area for use. Often, those diversion systems will go all the way to the yard, where the water is sent into underground pipes that drip water at a regular clip to keep the lawn strong at the roots level. There are also plumbing supplies that will directly reclaim water from sinks and put it into toilets so that fresh white water is not wasted on a toilet flush.
If you have any questions about water reclamation and recycling, please give us a call: 949-462-9773 or 714-987-9801.