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

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Little More Greywater Mythbusting

Continuing the running series on busting some preconceived notions about greywater, this posting supports the notion of the previous postings focused on dispelling the myth that pirating of greywater from wastewater flows would not cause concerns about the flows within sewers based on this article by R. Penn, M. Sch├╝tze, E. Friedler in the Journal of Environmental Management titled "Modelling the effects of on-site greywater reuse and low flush toilets on municipal sewer systems"
Abstract

On-site greywater reuse (GWR) and installation of water-efficient toilets (WET) reduce urban freshwater demand. Research on GWR and WET has generally overlooked the effects that GWR may have on municipal sewer systems. This paper discusses and quantifies these effects. The effects of GWR and WET, positive and negative, were studied by modelling a representative urban sewer system. GWR scenarios were modelled and analysed using the SIMBA simulation system. The results show that, as expected, the flow, velocity and proportional depth decrease as GWR increases. Nevertheless, the reduction is not evenly distributed throughout the day but mainly occurs during the morning and evening peaks. Examination of the effects of reduced toilet flush volumes revealed that in some of the GWR scenarios flows, velocities and proportional depths in the sewer were reduced, while in other GWR scenarios discharge volumes, velocities and proportional depths did not change. Further, it is indicated that as a result of GWR and installation of WET, sewer blockage rates are not expected to increase significantly. The results support the option to construct new sewer systems with smaller pipe diameters. The analysis shows that as the penetration of GWR systems increase, and with the installation of WET, concentrations of pollutants also increase. In GWR scenarios (when toilet flush volume is not reduced) the increase in pollutant concentrations is lower than the proportional reduction of sewage flow. Moreover, the results show that the spatial distribution of houses reusing GW does not significantly affect the parameters examined.
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Myth is, after all, the neverending story. 
~American science fiction author Joan D. Vinge 

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