Recycle your household water
Help the environment-and your water bills-by installing a grey-water system
To the naked eye, the front lawn of Joe and Christina Kovalic’s house looks like any other suburban sea of green grass, but a few feet below the sod and soil lay a concrete rainwater system and treatment tank. The tank, as the name suggests, treats rainwater so that it can be reused for toilets, laundry and watering the lawn. “The colour takes a little getting used to,” says Christina, pointing to the greyish, cottage-worthy water in her otherwise pristine toilet basin. “It looks like you haven’t quite flushed.”
OK, so grey-water, as it’s known, isn’t exactly rosewater, but this treated and filtered, cloudy waste water, whether it comes from rain, showers, laundry and other non-toxic, non-contaminated household water, is perfectly suitable for watering lawns, powering washing machines and flushing toilets–just don’t drink it.
Like everything else high-tech, prices range with grey-water systems depending on size and complexity. Expect to pay about $1,500 plus installation, with yearly savings of about 35 per cent. This upfront cost will end up saving you money–and will reduce strain on the municipal water supply.
According to Environment Canada, toilets use one-third of a household’s total water consumption; add your weekly loads of laundry, also fuelled by grey-water, and you’re looking at a huge slash in water usage, which also means educed home energy and water bills.