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Gray Water Recycling Ardmore OK

When a shallow leaching trench freezes in very cold climates, the gray water will back up in the switching chamber and spill into the secondary pipe that flows into a deeper trench in Ardmore.

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Removing the Wrinkles of Gray-Water Reuse

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When a shallow leaching trench freezes in very cold climates, the gray water will back up in the switching chamber and spill into the secondary pipe that flows into a deeper trench.

If last summer's high water bills have inspired you to find a better and less expensive way to irrigate your landscape, the solution might already be in your pipes. A properly installed and maintained gray-water system can provide the necessary water for your shrubs and plants, while reducing the need to draw on potable (drinkable) water sources. It's better for the environment - and better for your wallet. According to an article published in Pipeline, produced by the National Small Flows Clearinghouse, "As fresh water supplies dwindle and become more expensive in many areas of the country, using water once and then "throwing it away' is becoming too costly, both financially and practically.

The idea of removing the less-concentrated gray water from the home's waste stream is attractive to engineers and homeowners alike as a way to reduce waste load and prolong the life of the septic system." According to the NSFC, the average person generates approximately 40 gallons of gray water per day with sources found in the kitchen, the laundry, bathrooms/washrooms, sinks and showers. Black water, however, is wastewater from the toilet and cannot be used for the same purposes. As Carl Lindstrom, founder and CEO of GreenWare Inc., a sustainable-agriculture technology and design corporation, explains, "Perhaps the most significant difference between black water and gray water lies in the rate of decay of the pollutants in each.

Black water consists largely of organic compounds that have already been exposed to one of nature's most efficient treatment plants: the digestive tract of the human body. It is understandable that the by-products of this process do not rapidly further decompose when placed in water." However, using gray water is not as simple as letting your washer's rinse water flow onto your azaleas or capturing the water used when washing hands or brushing teeth to soak your spinach. Adding a gray-water system requires not only specific pieces of equipment, but also the approval of various municipal entities, such as health officials, sanitation engineers, pollution-control officials and those in charge of establishing local building codes. Once in place, a gray-water system also needs ongoing maintenance and some change in your choice of household products. (See Tips on Using Gray Water on the facing page). With so many legal and financial considerations, why even put a gray-water system on your list of home-improvement projects? From a water-conservation standpoint, a gray-water system can save 25 to 40 percent of drinkable water for consumption, according to Kim Coder, extension forester with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

As Art Ludwig ( points out, "It's a waste to irrigate with great quantities of drinking water when plants thrive on used water containing small bits of compost. Unlike a lot of ecological stopgap measures, gray-water use is a part of the fundamental solution to many ecological problems and will probably remain essentially unchanged in the distant future.

The benefits of gray-water recycling include: lower freshwater use, less strain on septic tank or treatment plant, highly effective purification, ability to build in areas unsuitable for conventional treatment, less energy and chemical use, groundwater recharge, plant growth (and) reclamation of otherwise wasted nutrients." Installing a Gray-Water System Before hiring your contractor, first estimate the amount of gray water that will be available. "Depending on microclimate conditions and relative access to water (municipal or rain), it may be that there is a very limited amount of water available at all," says Kevin Flynn, AIA, senior project designer, associate vice president and the director of sustainable design at Hammel, Green Thu, 01 May 2003 00:00:00 Nancy Christie Essential Elements Nitrogen


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