Wasting Water is a Waste

Angelenos waste millions of gallons of drinking water to flush toilets and water plants. Now that more people have become more eco-conscious more people are starting to reconsider their water misuse. Some folks are devising gray water systems to help make good use of the good water that is sent down the sewer. Gray water is water that was once drinkable (potable or whitewater), but was used for washing dishes, clothes or even for bathing. It is not water you let go down the drain while waiting for the shower or bath water to heat up, which is still clean “whitewater” that could easily be used for anything. Nor is it water from the toilet bowl. Toilet water is considered “blackwater,” with biological contaminants such as human and animal feces and urine.

Clearly much white and gray water could be used for watering plants and flushing toilets, but California’s complicated gray water laws scare most away. In 1994, California became the first state to establish guidelines for gray water use — as most other states have since — and it has become a leader in building industrial-scale gray water systems. Although gray water use is legal in California, systems that conform to the state’s complicated code tend to be very expensive. As a result, many homeowners have installed unpermitted, illegal plumbing, relying on techniques developed by covert researchers like the Greywater Guerrillas. They have written a book about gray water systems: “Dam Nation: Dispatches From the Water Underground”

Here is a video that explores the issue and shows a simple system:


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