In the early 1990s, I read a little booklet on grey water systems by Robert Kourik. Kourik has gone on to become a widely published landscaping expert. I see on his blog that he now mostly confines “grey water” to legal applications. As we are in a period of drought and our premier is busy selling our water to bottled water companies, I thought it was time to revisit grey water systems.
The Greywater Action group defines grey water as the “gently used water from your bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines.” It may contain a bit of dirt, food, grease, hair, and household cleaning products, but it can still be used to irrigate ornamental plants and trees, or better still, to flush toilets. The nifty bucket system above is one such solution. It is criminal in my mind that we are using drinking water to flush our toilets. Low flow toilets are simply not the answer.
Grey water is not toilet water—that is known as “black water.” Although there are very effective black water filtration systems as well. There are both grey and black water systems in use at the UBC Choi Building. Buildings in the Olympic Village were designed to use rainwater. Pretty sure that’s not happening at the moment.