A non-partisan, neutral perspective supporting diversity in the color of water

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Kitchen Sink Wastewater Medley

As depicted on the photo, Oregon is one of a few states that incorporated kitchen sink wastewater into the state definition of "graywater".  Washington is another, and the Graywater Advisory Committee spent some time reviewing a summary memorandum on greywater reuse since they are about two months ahead of Oregon in the planning and implementation process. And while the memorandum took a risk-based approach to defining the different types of greywater, also identifying that kitchen sink wastewater has (not surprisingly) elevated counts of fecal coliform, the summary and conclusions in this memo are silent on whether kitchen sink wastewater should be handled any differently than other "greywaters".  So, as a committee, we reentered the "Groan Zone" on kitchen sink wastewater.

The Graywater Advisory Commitee also decided what would constitute a "good" graywater rule:
  • Conserve potable water through innovative approaches;
  • Prevent and control ground and water pollution;
  • Make the re-use of graywater accessible to the public;
  • Streamline interaction with all public agencies;
  • Educate the regulatory bodies and public about re-use of graywater;
  • Provide clear guidelines/rules for installing and maintaining graywater systems; and
  • Protect environmental and public health. 
Personally, I am confused as to why the kitchen sink wastewater issue is an issue at all since it was included in House Bill 2080.  This would have been the forum for discussing the pros and cons of incorporating this "graywater" as opposed to an advisory committee trying to assist in developing rules for graywater reuse.  And given the committee's decision on what would constitute a good rule, coupled with viewing the video that Recode provided, along with my own research on the kitchen sink wastewater reuse issue, it strikes me that we are wasting much of the Committee's and DEQ staff's valuable time.  If kitchen sink wastewater, or any of the other "graywaters" for that matter, are handled on a case-by-case approach, I am confused how this approach will streamline interaction between public agencies, provide clear guidelines for installing and maintaining graywater systems, and conserve potable water through innovative approaches.  And this segues the kitchen sink wastewater issue into the Greywater Gadget of the Week - the Envirosink . Watch the video on the side bar to learn more about this "innovative approach" to conserving potable water by reusing kitchen sink wastewater.  Is kitchen sink wastewater really "Dirty Water"?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your detailed blog. I am researching and writing about motivations and justification for state's to adopt greywater rules. I'm learning a lot through the Oregon Greywater Advisory Committee's rulemaking process and I was wondering if I could use some of your quotes, for instance, the principles of a "good" greywater rule. (Or is there a better place to take that quote from?) Though I live in Oregon (St Helens) I am writing from the perspective of Minnesota as I am finishing my degree in a Masters Program at the UMN. In the land of 10,000 lakes, their legislature has discussed water reuse policy as way to value their water resources, however household greywater systems are still relatively inaccessible. I'm interested in comparing the examples set by other states so that MN can evaluate whether to revise their greywater policies. If you have any further leads or advice that could be helpful, I would appreciate your guidance. I would also appreciate being able to contact you with questions about your experience with the rulemaking process. If you are willing to talk, my email is paige.evans85atgmail.com. thank you!

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