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

Monday, May 31, 2010

Extreme Greywater

"Wastewater" in its many "forms", including greywater, is starting to gain recognition as a valuable resource as opposed to a resource to be feared (see FONEY).  Check out this article titled "A New Water Market: Think of it as Liquid Gold" which discusses resource recovery from wastewater where "Resource recovery essentially revolves around developing filters, membranes and other systems to pluck solids out of various waste and industrial water streams and then sell them as commodities...Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, one of the early leaders, has created a system that crystallizes and extracts 85 to 90 percent of the phosphorous and 15 percent of the ammonia from human sewage streams and converts it to a high-grade fertilizer it calls Crystal Green". The system is installed at Clean Water Services, a water utility with more than 500,000 customers in urban Washington County, west of Portland as described in this article. I observed Crystal Green first hand when Ken Williamson, Chair of the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University took the SUSIE students who visited OSU last summer to some of the major water reclamation facilities in Oregon. I walked away with a newfound respect for water reclamation and reuse from this experience.

Someday we might see what may be called "Extreme Greywater" in line with the reaility TV series "Extreme Makeover" "Someday, this technology could even come into the home. Mark Shannon at the University of Illinois is concocting a prototype for residences that would convert your sewage into water for the garden, methane that could be used locally, and minerals that could be resold".

With small towns across Oregon struggling to fund aging sewage systems as described in this article in the Register-Guard, it seems like reusing Extreme Greywater is fertile ground for funding from The Oregon Way. Then, again, it seems like building bridges and highways is apparently more important for Oregon's share of the stimulus funding than investing in things that are "out of sight, and out of mind" like water reuse which might rejuvenate the aging water infrastructure.

We really need a powerhouse eco-couple like Michelle and Riaan of Love and Mortar fame to kickstart Oregon's water reuse program.

1 comment:

  1. Becky and I will be the "powerhouse eco-couple"..all we need is to purchase some rural property!