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

Sunday, June 19, 2011

L'étoile du nord (sans l'eau grise)

Minnesota, land of 10,000-plus lakes, the *Star of the North*, with perhaps the most comprehensive Statewide Water Conservation and Preservation Plan lead by the Minnesota Water Resources Center co-directed by colleague Dr. Deborah Swackhamer of the University of Minnesota, and surprisingly, one of the states without a statewide greywater reuse program. Why the surprise? Because Wisconsin, a state with a progressive greywater reuse program developed after years of trying to implement a regressive greywater reuse program, is located closeby!

Part of the challenge of greywater reuse in Minnesota is more than likely attributed to the thin soil and ancient, hard fractured *Canadian Shield* rocks underlying the region. Recall this posting where The Ohio State University researchers determined that soil was a critical part of the solution to septic tank pollution that "...can be measured in inches"..."Septic systems rely on dirt to finish treating sewage released from the tanks. Soil bacteria break down human wastes and destroy bacteria and viruses". A new bill was introduced to in Ohio to  "...create an 18-inch soil standard" and that The Ohio State University researcher said at least 4 feet of soil is needed to ensure that bacteria and viruses in sewage are safely eliminated.

But even with the challenging hydrogeologic environment, coupled with the general lack of a statewide greywater program, greywater reuse is promoted by NextStep which is part of the Minnesota Sustainable Communities Network affiliated with the Sustainable Communities Team, Environmental Assistance, of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. First, a greywater reuse manual is available for purchase for about $60 through Round River Alternatives, a non-governmental organization. NextStep also provides information on greywater reuse systems, offering links to the classics listed in the Rainbow Water Coalition *Greywater Goodies* such as Greywater Action, Oasis Design, and Brac.

But they also link to another Minnesota-based greywater reuse system - the SymBioSystem available from Round River Renewables. The SymBioSystem uses the effluent from the septic tank to fill a second underground tank, or Pod Filter Tank where *the Pod filter increases water clarity while also providing a pump chamber which pressure doses the drip irrigation system*.
Recalling the Equaris system that is also developed in Minnesota as previously discussed here, it is pretty clear that despite the general lack of a statewide program promoting greywater reuse, perhaps the *Star of the North* is suggesting another route to greywater reuse is through system approval by county wastewater departments in Minnesota, much like that discussed here in Tennessee.

The clever Minnesotans are one of the water *stars of the north*, joining Wisconsin on brewing leading edge greywater reuse equipment along with their state-of-the-art statewide water planning program, apparently leaving greywater reuse decisions up to local jurisdictions.

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I also believe that government has no business telling us how we should live our lives. I think our lifestyle choices should be left up to us. What we do in our private lives is none of the government's business. That position rules out the Republican Party for me.
~ Former Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura

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