Tuesday, June 30, 2009
our greywater project
As conscientious as we try to be about recycling, composting, buying local, and being enviro-friendly, I must admit that I have a major vice: my water usage. I use a lot of water. I'm not proud of it. Au contraire, I'm often ashamed at the length of my hot showers or the inefficient way I wash dishes. I think I take my water for granted, because it's so plentiful and cheap here in Vermont. Plus I love how it feels on my skin!
On top of that, we have to run a dehumidifier nonstop in the basement or else things start to get moldy. The machine, which is energy star rated, by the way, produces between 1 and 2 gallons of water a day during the summer months. 1 to 2 gallons every day! Out of thin air! Until now, we've been dumping that perfectly good water down the drain. But I'm trying to change my way of thinking.
The other day Colin suggested that we collect the water and use it to water our plants and garden. The same thing had been on my mind too, since I've been hearing lots of news reports lately about how people are recycling their greywater (washwater from showers and laundry) in creative ways. We're also enamoured by the neat little waste water recycling system at the Vermont Welcome Center in Sharon, Vermont.
I did a little research on some online discussion forums to see what other people do. Some think the water is toxic, but I don't believe it (it's not even grey!). Others say they've been doing it for years and the plants thrive. Laura from work suggested contacting the UVM extension office just to be sure, which I plan to do, especially if I want to use the water on my edible garden. But in the meantime, I've bought a nice little watering can and every time the dehumidifer needs emptying, we empty the water into the watering can. It's enough to drench our little garden without ever turning on the hose!