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

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Greywater OK'd

The Sooner State makes it official - greywater is legal to use in Oklahoma according to this article in the Shawnee News-Star! "...It creates a permit exemption for gray water systems that use less than 250 gallons of gray water per day for gardening, composting or landscape maintenance".

Bill sponsor State Rep. Scott Martin (R-Norman) said "I applaud their interest in water conservation and think the state should support private residential projects that cut water usage. Common sense reuse is good policy and an option for homeowners during times of drought or water rationing. The average consumer has the potential to realize savings on their monthly water bill through conservation".

The Rainbow Water Coalition has posted on their unique approach to reuse greywater forming the new color of water - Vespawater - due to the ability to mix greywater with rainwater. The Australians do this, and it appears that the Coop store in Corvallis has applied for the first-of-its-kind permit to do the same for indoor reuse of greywater for flushing toilets as described here.

I don't know about you, but I am starting to "feel good" about greywater, so good that I applied for my permit to reuse greywater from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality nearly two weeks ago!
* * *
Resilience is woven deeply into the fabric of Oklahoma. 
Throw us an obstacle, and we grow stronger.
~ Shawnee native, and former Governor of Oklahoma Brad Henry


  1. Hi Todd,

    good news about OK.

    I have been receiving a lot of questions about how to 'mix' rainwater and graywater to best effect in a house.

    Our experience in Australia, where summer rainfall is sporadic (at best), which of course is when the water is needed for the garden, is to plan around using the rainwater for internal use (toilet / laundry) and graywater for irrigation.

    So in a climate where there is 8 months of rain during late fall / winter and spring, the rainwater tanks supply non drinking water uses.

    It can be taken a step further, where a regulated oveflow from the rain cisterns can be fed into the grayater system. It needs to be a regulated flow to ensure the graywater system doesnt overflow rainwater into the septic or sewer system (this would be very bad, especially if every house in the street did this).

    In some situations it is desirable to also have the cistern provide general irrigation water to the garden areas via the graywater system as well, although for the purpose of saving water it is always better to service permissible indoor uses first (along the lines of reduce - re-use = recycle).

    As a side note, the reduce option, which is often a water companies first thought when running a conservation program e.g. low flow shower heads often isnt the best for overall water conservation. In many cases it is better to leave the shower heads as they were and re-use the water in the garden, rather than reducing shower water and then using standard potable water irrigation.

    Best Regards from Ohio (well this week it is Minneapolis!).

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