What is Grey Water?
Used water is divided into two categories — sewage, or black water, and grey water. Toilet waste and water produced by garbage grinders is called black water. Black water has a high concentration of pollutants and a high microbial load. Grey water is produced by washing clothes and utensils, by bathing, and by using the washbasin. Grey water has relatively high concentrations of phosphates and nitrates, primarily from soap used in the house.
Advantages of Recycling Grey Water:
- Reduces overall water use
- Reduces the volume of water handled by the sewage systems
- Reduces the need and cost of installing larger sewage treatment systems
- People living in drought zones or in areas facing irrigation restrictions can effectively use grey water to circumvent the challenges of water scarcity.
Important Things to Remember About Grey Water
- The use of grey water is regulated by local laws.
- Grey water should ideally be collected through separate plumbing from black water.
- Collected grey water can be used for landscape irrigation or can be processed and stored. Processing increases the cost of grey water treatment projects.
- Grey water, even after processing, may not be safe for drinking but can be used for washing and flushing toilets in addition to irrigation.
Types of Grey Water Recycling Systems
- Grey water recycling with purification involves the use of one or more filtration techniques, such as mechanical filtration, UV irradiation, water treatment ponds, constructed wetlands, aerated filters, bio reactors, reverse osmosis, etc.
- Grey water recycling without purification is simpler to install and costs less. It is used when potable water is not needed. The most common use of grey water without purification is for sub-surface irrigation.
Setting Up Your Grey Water Recycling Business
The increasing interest in grey water recycling systems offers an excellent opportunity for budding green entrepreneurs to start their own green business.
- Once you have familiarized yourself with the key aspects of grey water recycling, you can offer consulting services to people interested in installing grey water recycling systems.
- You can become a dealer or installer for a manufacturer producing grey water recycling systems.
- If you have an interest in product design and engineering you can develop your own product line.
You can use several tools to promote your grey water business. Some of these include registering with business directories, symposia and discussions in schools, membership in local eco clubs and organizations, participating in local environmental planning meetings, and word of mouth.
Partnering with architects, interior designers, engineers and other professionals in the field of home design can help you develop your business further.
Three Grey Water Recycling Companies
Brac Systems is a vertically integrated company specializing in grey water treatment and recycling technologies. The Canada based company claims that it is possible to reduce water consumption by 35 to 40% with its systems. Founded in 2005, Brac Systems calls itself “a company built on the responsibility of every single individual who wants to see a real change in the environment.” It sells its products across 30 countries. Brac Systems handles research and development of its products in-house and takes care of installation services through its network of dealers and distributors.
Flotender is a division of Filtrific. While Filtrific manufactured water features, Flotender supplies systems for recycling grey water. Flotender estimates that as much as 70% of a household’s waste water can be recycled. Flotender systems include a grey water harvesting device and are coupled with a drip irrigation system. Flotender, also provides a system for rain water harvesting.
NutriCycle Systems includes composting toilets, nutrient recycling systems, and grey water recycling systems in its portfolio. Besides product sales, they also offer installation and maintenance services in Maryland and Virginia. Their grey water recycling systems are adapted for installation in flowerbeds, lawns, woodlands, greenhouses, and wildflower meadows.
Main Image Credit: Jean Luc Toilet