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Wresy Conservation

Residential Water Reclamation

Residential Water Recycling, also known as Home Water Recycling, has become a hot topic in the Southwestern United States due to the 4-year drought we are experiencing. California specifically has seen the lowest levels of Snow Pack in the Sierra Nevada’s in recorded history, which directly effects the availability of Fresh water for a large portion of the state.

The definition of Recycled Water is simply stated as “water that is used more than one time before it passes back into the natural water cycle.” When we think of our California Homes and the waste water they produce, we can find many places where “Once Used” water can be easily captured, cleaned & re-used prior to sending that water down our storm drains… This includes residential wastewater sources such as Grey Water, Irrigation Run-off, Rain Run-off, etc.

So, the definition of Residential Water Recycling would be the “collection & redistribution of Non-Potable (not drinkable) waste water from residential homes and their surrounding property, for the intended use of reapplying that water back onto the property before it passes back into the natural water cycle.”
We know it’s a lengthy definition but said simply, Residential Water Recycling is – All Waste Water that leaves your property can & should be captured and recycled in order to preserve our Potable Water Supply. Now let’s discuss the Pros & Cons regarding the 3 major sources of residential or home waste water – Grey Water, Irrigation Run-Off & Rain Water Run-Off

Grey Water – the relatively clean waste water from baths, sinks, washing machines, and other kitchen appliances. It is not water that has come into contact with feces, either from the toilet or from washing diapers. Greywater may contain traces of dirt, food, grease, hair, and certain household cleaning products.

Irrigation Run-Off – Irrigation Runoff is potable water that is wasted due to inefficient irrigation practices. This water is wasted by hitting our sidewalks, driveways and streets while our sprinklers are watering our yards. It is also created by watering when it’s windy out and watering with too much pressure in your system.

Rain Run-Off – Rain Water Runoff is what occurs when rain is not absorbed by the ground on which it falls and so then flows downhill. Homeowners typically experience this as “the water flowing off the roofs of their home, that flows through the home’s rain water downspouts & out to our street curbs.”

Now that we know where the majority of our waste water is coming from, let’s talk about the capture & proper recycling of this water, in order to be reused on your home’s property…

Grey Water – The safest way to handle greywater is to introduce it directly to the biologically active topsoil layer, where soil bacteria can quickly break it down, rendering the nutrients available to plants. This biological water purification is much more effective than any engineered treatment, thus protecting the quality of groundwater and surface waters.

Irrigation Run-Off – The act of recycling irrigation run-off has been extensively used by Nursery’s & Agricultural communities for decades, in order to reduce their run-off footprint. Typically this requires installing Drainage boxes that are placed at low points in your yard to capture excess rainwater and irrigation water runoff. The recycled water is then fed through a system of pipes to a retention basin that collects the water for later use. An Irrigation Pump is then utilized to bring that water back onto the property.

Rain Run-Off – Also known as “Rainwater Harvesting”, this is the process of collecting rainwater from surfaces on which rain falls, filtering it and storing it for multiple uses. Rainwater harvesting puts the supply of water back to normal levels. It is the collection and storage of water from surfaces that rain has fallen upon.

In a normal scenario the rainwater is collected from roof buildings and then stored inside of a special tank. Rainwater harvesting systems are designed after assessing site conditions that include rainfall pattern, incident rainfall, subsurface strata and their storage characteristics. Rainwater harvesting is popular all across the world, although in countries that are very dry, such as Australia, it is even more popular.

What Is Water Recycling, Water Reclamation & Water Reuse?

We all know about water & its importance in our everyday lives, but let’s see what else we can learn…
Earth is known as the “Blue Planet” – Water covers nearly 70 percent of the planet’s surface and is mostly found in oceans and large bodies of water, while only 1.6 percent of the Earth’s water is found underground in aquifers… and the same water that existed on Earth billions of years ago still exists today. Our planet has been recycling water since the dawn of time!

Our amazing planet is also covered with an estimated 8.7 million water reliant species & life forms… and of course we humans are a great example of this constant requirement for water in all its various forms. The Human Body is made up of 60 percent water, 70 percent of your brain is water & the blood running through your veins is 80 percent water, and while a typical human can go almost a month without food… your body can’t survive for more than 1 week without water.

Water covers most of the planet, but just 3 percent is freshwater (and most of that is ice), and less than 1% of all freshwater is readily accessible for human use. What does this mean? It means that Less Than 0.007% of all the water on our Blue Planet is available to drink. A Strikingly Scary Truth!

The good news is that the availability of safe drinking water in almost all areas of the world has increased to a large extent over the last few decades… but despite this fact some experts have stated that by 2025 a large part of the world’s population will be facing shortages of water.

What Is Water Recycling? Water Reclamation? Water Reuse?

The definition of reclaimed water (also known as recycled water or water reusing), as defined by Levine and Asano, is “The end product of wastewater reclamation that meets water quality requirements for biodegradable materials, suspended matter and pathogens.” Simply stated – reclaimed water is water that is used more than one time before it passes back into the natural water cycle.

Recycling water has been established as an effective and safe way to provide non-potable water for a wide range of industrial, home, and agricultural uses.

Scientifically-proven advances in water technology allow communities to reuse water for many different purposes today, including residential, industrial, irrigation, and drinking. The water is treated differently depending upon the source and use of the water and how it gets delivered.

Businesses, cities, and residential homes are finding new ways to incorporate water reuse into their daily routine, and saving water by reusing it, is the most cost effective form of water recycling. Instead of letting water run down the drain, the water is collected, cleaned (if needed) and run back through the system.

How Can Water Reclamation & Water Recycling Benefit Us?

Water Recycling & Water Reclamation not only provides additional sources of water for various human purposes, but also presents enormous environmental benefits. Here is a short list of some of the benefits that water recycling can present:

  • Water Conservation efforts can help protect habitats for valuable and endangered wildlife.
  • Water Reclamation decreases the extraction of water from sources that may be dwindling, such as the Sierra Nevada Snow Pack & the Colorado River for Sothern California citizens.
  • Recycled water can be used to create new wetlands or to enhance and improve the quality of existing wetlands.
  • Water Reclamation can decrease the discharge of effluents that may damage and pollute our fragile ecosystems, and reduces polluted water from hitting our beaches while keeping streets and roads clear of algae and sludge that’s caused by runoff lying stagnant in our street curbs.
  • Water Recycling can provide homeowners & businesses with financial and water saving opportunities
  • Recycled water can contribute to a secure water supply for our current & future communities.

What is the Future of Water Recycling & Water Reclamation?

In numerous parts of the World & the United States, the uses of recycled water are increasing to accommodate the environmental situation and our growing demands for water. As the need for more water grows and environmental pressures increase, the necessity for improved water recycling can only increase as well.
Water recycling will need to have a greater role in providing water for all the needs of society. We must work together to make water recycling and water conservation effective enough to help us sustain our most valuable and vital resource – WATER.

Sources
Benefits of Recycling
Water Recycling and Reuse
Green Tips
The Water Planet
Safe Drinking Water

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