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

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Greywater Animoto

A new way to share the love...

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Top 7 Greywater Literacy Schools

Greywater reuse literacy was previously discussed on the Rainbow Water Coalition here and here where Z6 focused on ZERO IGNORANCE as a living building company recognized the importance of education and outreach so their customers would *make better lifestyle choices that impact their resource use*.

Where does one go to get *greywater literacy*? The top *schools* offering training in this important field include the following:

1. Water Management Group - This Tucson, AZ-based program regularly offers certification programs and was previously blogged about here. Offering beginning and advanced training on a regular basis, including in March, 2011. This looks to be the PhD of greywater literacy and they even offer scholarships. When I grow up, I hope to attend this training.

2. Greywater Action - Laura Allen declares war on greywater and rainwater illiteracy with her frequent workshops. Many upcoming opportunities to get smart on greywater reuse in the backyard and the famous Laundry-to-Landscape program developed by the Greywater Guru, Art Ludwig. Greywater Action goes beyond greywater and is a resource on composting toilets. Laura is serious business - she is the first Google TechTalk which can be viewed on the sideboard of the Rainbow Water Coalition.

3. Greywater Corps - Greywater Rambo Leigh Jerrard designs, installs, and educates the world on greywater. He is so generous with his time that he offers some *free* workshops also using the Laundry-to-Landscape theme. So "buck up" and get ready to do 20 pushups!

4. Green Gardener Program - Monterey Bay Green Gardener Certification Program Classes  are offered in English and Spanish at the Salinas, Monterey, Watsonville, and Santa Cruz Adult Schools. A complete curriculum in sustainable gardening and irrigation. Monterey Bay? How can one go wrong at this incredibly beautiful location.

5. Solar Living Institute - Hosted by the Laytonville Ecovillage in Laytonville, California. For $120, learn about designing successful greywater systems, installing systems with common household plumbing, choosing appropriate greywater plants, and legal and practical considerations for greywater reuse on July 9 and 10, 2011.

6. Stephenson College (UK) - This training course is designed to provide installers with all the skills and knowledge required to correctly design and install rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling systems. The package comprises pre-reading of training/reference manual and attendance at a two day practical training course and completion of a practical and written assessment. Nearby Gateshead College will also be offering comparable coursework once their new extension is finished.

7. Able Skills (UK) - Another two day BPEC accredited training course for rainwater and greywater harvesting to meet the needs and demands of the renewable industry using the latest Polypipe rainwater rig and the award winning Ecoplay greywater gadget. The course is aimed at plumbers, heating engineers and ground work engineers who are looking to diversify in to this market. The code for sustainable homes is helping drive an increase in these water saving installations, especially in the new and self build markets.

Given that few Oregon-based Professional Engineers, Registered Geologists, and Registered Environmental Health Specialists have the education or expertise to design greywater systems as outlined in the Oregon Graywater Advisory Committee recommendations, they can no longer lean on their professional credentials to *protect the public*. There are now ZERO reasons for ignorance on greywater reuse systems.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blackwater is a Killer

Although the international news frequently references the defense contractor formerly connected with this color of water and their questionable activities in the Middle East and nearby locations, the Rainbow Water Coalition is more interested in the blackwater event in the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia which made the news for a largescale fish killing. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

Blackwater occurs when organic material such as leaves and bark is washed into the river by flood. The high organic content removes oxygen from the water and leads to deaths of some fish and other river life. Andrew Beale from the Water Department said it was a legacy of prolonged drought in recent years. "It's very large, it's about 1,400 kilometres long we estimate now, so it's something that's going to be with us for some time," he said. "This is a big one, but it's a perfectly natural phenomenon and we've dealt with these blackwater events in the past. "We've been in close contact with the Murray-Darling (Basin) Authority and the upstream jurisdictions as the events developed and travelled towards South Australia."

It appears that the colors of water are now also connected to climate change. And yet another color of water linked to the Australians who know how to navigate through just about the entire spectrum of water challenges.

The more times blackwater is encountered, the more times it is certain to kill.

"What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others".
~ Confucius

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Achtung - Great New German Greywater Gadget

Germany-based Hansgrohe, designer and manufacturer of innovative bathroom fixtures, is now in the greywater gadget game, and big time. Check out this trendy video introducing Hansgrohe's Pontos: Recycling Grey Water System for Double Use  

Compact water recycling systems are now available for commercial or residential applications with Hansgrohe’s Pontos AquaCycle. The product range includes systems with a reprocessing capacity of between 237 to 3,300 gallons of water per day, giving AquaCycle systems the adaptability to work in projects ranging from apartment complexes to hotels. The roughly cabinet-sized basic model cleans domestic shower and bath water naturally using an organic, non-threatening biological technique. The hygienically clean water, or gray water, can then be used to do the laundry, water the garden, clean the house and flush the toilet. 
Pontos Aquacycle is not yet available in the US and will probably never be available in Oregon because the greywater could be *discharged* at the ground surface instead of underground as shown in the video.

Hansgrohe has many other EcoRight water saving products, too.  

Greywater was a star in Italy, Australia, Germany and Japan before the Americans ever paid attention at all. 
- Apologies to Nancy Sinatra

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Canadians Catching the Wave

Canadian-based IDUS Controls, Ltd. recently announced their home greywater recycling system. The Canadian designed greywater gadget is the Conservepump™, which "...mounts on the wall of a utility space and is easily integrated into existing plumbing, shower and toilet fixtures". No, unlike the EULO, this baby only reuses the bath and shower grey water to flush the toilet.

What is the significance of the Conservepump™? First, finally the clever Australians have some, albeit minor, competition when it comes to greywater gadgets. Second, the IDUS is based in British Columbia, not exactly a place that is shy of water, but an area that realizes the worth of water, and the growing market wave for greywater reuse equipment. Recall that Brac Systems used in Oregon public buildings is another Canadian greywater gadget.

It is just a matter of time before the Canadians invent a new color of water.

"Australia and Canada were settled by adventurers, they had to break new ground. I think that is indelibly etched on our cultural spirit" Canadian musician Tom Cochrane

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Eulogizing the Kitchensink

Australian designer extraordinaire James Dyson of the Dyson Vacuum Cleaner fame sponsors a product design competition in Australia and the entries for various products are nothing short of phenomenal. Yes, greywater gadgets abound, and the Rainbow Water Coalition will start the cavalcade of winners with the EULO Greywater Recycling Kitchensink.

From the product description developed by the student who designed the EULO:
  • EULO is the future thinking of sustainable products for the home. 
  • The innovative design enables instant grey water recycling for reuse whilst washing dishes in the home kitchen. 
  • EULO means constant rinsing without the water waste. 
  • Featuring three levels of inbuilt filtration, a primary particle strainer, a gravity activated carbon filter and a UV sanitiser. It also includes automatic detergent mixing and an entirely fresh water tap. 
  • EULO is a complete system that redefines the function of the domestic kitchen sink. 
  • With drought and the cost of water set to increase, EULO sets the benchmark of sophisticated and sustainable H20 products.
For those FUDers out there in greywater reuse land, note that the EULO recycles ONLY the kitchensink water. This is big news for those who FUD kitchesink water because it is not *mixed* with other household greywater; it stays with the sink. And that the water stays inside the house, it more than likely won't need one of the $50 per year permits that Oregon is proposing to reuse greywater.

EULO is invisaged as a future thinking sustainable product, however is entirely feasible at present as manufacturing costs are estimated at $1800 for the complete system to be sold to the consumer at $3000. This is very competitive in the higher end sink market considering EULO is a complete package.

If Eulo rings a bell, it might be due to Eulo, Queensland, Australia, famous for opal gemstones. Mix the ingenuity of the clever Australians with a unique approach to reusing greywater and voilà, a new color of water! Introducing Opalescentwater - recycled kitchensink water. Not to be confused with Opaline water, a variant of clearwater manufactured by Veolia, the global water services company.

The EULO sink is as beautiful as the Opalescent Spring in Yellowstone National Park. This greywater gadget is a jewel.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Greywater - Energy Nexus

Much has been written about the connection between energy development and water use. WaterWired has done an admirable job apprising the water world of the connection. Few think of greywater as a source of energy, but check out this American-designed and manufactured energy recovery system where Bob Gagnon Plumbing and Heating boasts apparently recovering "...about 1/3 of the heat from my shower water before it goes to the sewer using my Grey Water Tank".

Here is how Bob describes the system on Heating Help:

It's piped like this except that the incoming cold also goes through 200" of 1" pex attached to the outside of the tank. In the winter the incoming cold water is 36 degrees, it flows through the pex wrapped around the tank and picks up about 10 to 15 degrees, it when flows through a submersed coil where 105 degree water from my shower pours over the submersed coil and the cold water is pre heated another 10 to 15 degrees to about 66 degrees or one third of the temp rise needed for domestic hot water. The incoming cold water is heated to about 60 degrees when the shower is not running. It may not sound like much , but sending 66 degree water to my solar tank is a whole lot better than sending 36 degree water to it during the winter with the shorter, weaker sun.

Finally, not all of the clever greywater reuse ideas come from the Australians!

For those in the category of the *angry public* in Oregon, consider that the energy recovery from your greywater system may qualify for an energy tax credit. Check out the Oregon Department of Energy, under Wastewater Heat Recovery Systems. Depending on the *system* recovery, one might qualify for a tax credit ranging from $80 to $135. And if one carefully reads the Tax Credit Eligibility Criteria for Residential Energy Devices, specifically the definition of  “Net Cost” -- The applicant’s cost for the design, acquisition, construction, installation, permitting and inspection of an AED. Net cost may include the value of federal tax credits or utility incentives. Net cost does not include service contracts, rebates, or refunds. See 330-070-0013(46) to learn more.

So, the $50 annual fee that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality proposes for graywater reuse may actually be eligible for a tax credit! Disclaimer (fine print): the Rainbow Water Coalition is not qualified to be a tax advisor or to provide legal advice on the interpretation of Oregon's tax laws, so please contact your tax advisor and lawyer for more information and tax advice.

Don't be angry about the $50 annual permit fee, be happy because it might be subsidized! Now one can enjoy a very good quality bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir with their greywater reuse *savings*. And instead of recycling the bottle, stick a candle in the top to claim even more energy savings.