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

Friday, August 13, 2010

An Inconvenient Truth about Greywater?

When I read this article, I wondered if former Vice President Al Gore might come out with a sequel to his movie and book about greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Just when one thinks they are doing the right thing, some scientist comes out with a study that indicates you are doing the wrong thing. Consider this article in Edie, (Environmental Data Interactive Exchange) titled "Water recycling increase carbon emissions..." where "Rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling systems may cut water use but they come at the cost of greater carbon emissions." Where does this carbon come from? "Storage tanks account for a large proportion of the embodied carbon footprint of rainwater systems; slightly less so for greywater....and...Pumps also make up a large proportion of rainwater and greywater embodied carbon and pumping determines net operational carbon".

What is a greywater reuse junkie to do?

"The study's authors say their work has identified an increase in emissions but they point out the research does not consider the advantages of rainwater harvesting and greywater recovery".

I think this is what most folks think about when reusing greywater - reducing the carbon footprint associated with power use during wastewater treatment.

Whew! That was a close one. Given the recent press about Mr. Gore and a masseuse in Portland, I doubt he would return to Oregon to make the documentary. Obviously more work needs to be done, and yet another opportunity for The Oregon Way to spend their federal stimulus funds on things beyond roads and bridges which, by the way, lead to an increase in greenhouse gases.


  1. Around here the most popular rain barrels are made from used pickle barrels from a pickle plant up the road from Charlotte. Few additional carbon emissions there!

  2. Anne: Eat a pickle, save the planet. Sounds like a marketing plan that would be the envy of every state. Please let us know how THE GETDOWN goes down in a couple of weeks. Thanks for reading!