Term Paper: Gray Water System

Pages: 5 (1450 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation - Environmental Issues  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Adding water recycling units to residential homes only makes sense. "As lakes shrink and droughts worsen, people all over the world are realizing that our freshwater supply is limited and must be protected. In the United States alone, experts predict that at least 36 states will face serious water shortages within the next five years." (Greenlink) By capturing and reusing the residential property's gray water we could save millions of gallons of fresh water annually. Consider that every time someone in a home completes a load of laundry, a water recycling process could literally take that water and steer it to the toilet for the next ten or more flushes. But the majority of water usage in residential settings is actually lost outside of the home. "Atlanta Water Harvest recommends the use of recycled grey water for landscape irrigation. It is especially practical to lawn and garden maintenance which can account for nearly 50-80% of a homeowner's summer water usage." (Atlanta Water Harvest)

Residential gray water systems that have been created and tested around the world have shown unexpected benefits in surprising areas. "An Integrated Water, Energy and Sanitation Solution (IWESS) has been muted as a sustainable way of utilizing the natural resources through a concept that turns waste into a resource thereby taking advantage of what is currently considered as problem sources and converting them into useful inputs." (Odhiambo, J.O., etc.) A surprising added benefit of residential gray water systems is that they help local and city wastewater systems get volume relief. Currently, wastewater systems are overwhelmed because they often receive too much gray and black water flow from the residential communities they serve. "But here's the good news: the problem is preventable if we do something now. Not only does gray water recycling reduce the burden on your local freshwater supply, it also lessens the strain on wastewater systems. It's a smart, simple step in the right direction, one that begs the question: why haven't we thought of this sooner?" (Greenlink)

By instituting gray water systems in more, if not all, residential settings, we could free resources of those wastewater systems. The water treatment plants and sewage systems could be freed to concentrate more resources on direct sewage and black water waste. Filtration and conversion of the gray water, at least the bulk of it, from washing machines, lawn sprinkler systems and dishwashers would no longer be steered into the sewer systems. Eventually the gray water would be moved through waste water plants as black water waste and sullage but after many life cycles.

Private residential benefits from these types of systems seem obvious when presented in this manner; however, the benefits associated when agricultural organizations implement gray water systems far exceeds those benefits in the private residential sector. Farming and the raising of livestock are classified as businesses in the same sense that a Coca-Cola bottling plant is a business. The finished outputs from both of these types of business entities require large amounts of fresh water to get their products to market.

The agricultural benefits are clear because this industry utilizes much more water than just about any other industry. "Because of the low level of nutrients it contains (compared with total waste water) gray water is ideal for irrigation and fertilization of land plants such as turf, trees, and ornamentals." (Atlanta Water Harvest) By redesigning fields and livestock areas to collect wastewater and runoff, we could go a long way in recycling water. Implementing gray water systems for irrigation as well as feeding livestock would be effective water savers. "This study aims at treatment of grey water for irrigation, focusing on a treatment technology that is robust, simple to operate and with minimum energy consumption. The result is an optimized system consisting of an anaerobic unit operated in upflow mode, with a 1 day operational cycle, a constant effluent flow rate and varying liquid volume." (Abu Ghunmi, Lina, etc.)

These systems can be used just as efficiently as any direct river, stream or pond irrigation system. The key is to capture all run off, utilize better designed rain and waste water capturing systems and then providing a viable solution for filling the irrigation spraying guns. Combining more efficient farming techniques with the use of recycled water could [END OF PREVIEW]

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