A few months ago now Bear and I took our first bath that will go to our fruit trees!
It brings me great joy to know that the small amount of water I am using (still very mindfully) waters our fruit trees… The same trees that Bear picks his raspberries from in the morning to put on his porridge. I mean it’s SO cute it’s silly!
I have wanted greywater for over a decade, but many wise eco friends said it was tricky, especially on my particular site. But luckily, I found Greywater Corps. Leigh, the owner, is very passionate and inspiring, and his crew is so cool!
Leigh explained you can save 40,000 gallons of water per year, water that would otherwise be pumped hundreds of miles from the Colorado or Sacramento rivers at a huge material and ecological cost. He also filled me in on bunch of other benefits listed below, check out how amazing it is!
- Saves water: by using greywater for irrigation, you are using your water twice (once in the home and a second time for landscape irrigation)
- Reduces carbon footprint: LA drinking water comes mainly from sources 200 to 450 miles away, pumped at an huge environmental cost across deserts and over mountains. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to move water around the state of California; 19% of all energy consumed in the state goes to moving and treating water and sewage!
- Protects the Earth: water extraction can take a big toll on the ecosystems it originally came from. The Colorado River no longer reaches the Sea of Cortez! So much water is extracted from it that it runs out somewhere south of the border. Owens Lake, the source of the original LA aqueduct, is now dry and the biggest source of dust in North America!!
- Reduces sewer/septic loads: in LA after we use water and it runs down the drain, it ends up at the Hyperion Sewage Processing Plant near LAX, where it undergoes a complex process of screening, sludge removal, oxygenation, settling, and eventual discharge as secondarily-treated effluent into the Santa Monica Bay. This process involves additional chemicals and more energy! It is way easier to just re-use this water by putting it in the soil around your house.
- Replenishes the aquifer: beneath our city is an aquifer, an underground network of rivers and lakes, that feeds distant trees and can even be pumped out for freshwater supply. If you put gently used wastewater into your yard, it will percolate down, getting purified along the way through natural processes and ultimately replenishing the aquifer!
- Protects the Bay: since wastewater goes through some processing which contains chemicals like phosphorus and nitrogen, preventing water from getting discharged into the Bay helps conserve it! This is because in water, phosphorus and nitrogen act as fertilizer, potentially causing algae blooms, red tide, and fish die-offs.
All that said, I am extremely happy it is installed and in full swing.
Thank you Greywater Corps for your passionate, inspiring, and important work!
Do you have any water re-using systems in place? How do you like to save water?
If you are interested in learning more about greywater and how to implement a system into your home, there are so many great resources on the web! Here is one video you can find on YouTube that gives you an rough idea of how laundry to landscape works. If you’re looking for a more simplified version, search for DIY (do it yourself) options.
For more information and resources visit: greywateraction.org
Photo Credit: Amy Neunsinger
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