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BrookeChaplan posted a blog entry in Brooke Chaplan's Green BlogPollution is a serious problem that is having a major impact on the world. While the pollution problems in places like China tend to get more publicity, the truth is that the United States is also facing major pollution problems. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that at least 40% of American rivers and streams are in poor biological condition due to pollution, which makes it necessary that everyone does their part to reduce their environmental impact. One of the most important things you can do to protect the country's waterways is to focus on your plumbing and/or septic system. The wastewater that your home produces can be a major source of pollution if not handled correctly, so here are a few ways you can do your part to help the environment. Watch What You Pour Down the Drain One of the main problems is that all wastewater eventually ends up in our streams and rivers. This water is first cleaned at a wastewater-treatment facility, but these treatment facilities are much more effective at removing bacteria and biological contaminants than they are at removing chemical contaminants. It is advised that you never pour any strong chemicals, adhesives, or other potentially dangerous substances down the drain and instead dispose of them as instructed. This includes cleaning products, nail polish, and many other household items. Additionally, you should never flush your old medications, as these are another major source of water contamination. Consider Grey Water Recycling An easy way to reduce the impact of your wastewater is to limit the amount that you produce. To this end, gray water recycling is one of the best and easiest things you can do. With this type of recycling system, the gray water that comes from your sinks, showers, dishwasher, and washing machine is reused instead of being sent down the drain. The black water that comes from your toilets will still end up in the wastewater-treatment facility, but the rest of your water can be used for watering your lawns and landscaping. Check the Condition of Your Plumbing or Septic System A properly maintained, functioning sewage system or septic system is designed to prevent environmental contamination by ensuring that the wastewater doesn't come into contact with the environment until it has been properly treated. However, a leak in your plumbing or sewage could eventually lead to toxic conditions around your home due to the sewage contaminating the surrounding soil. Similarly, it is essential that your septic system is properly installed, placed in a suitable location, and functioning properly to reduce the risk of polluting the surrounding area. If you are considering a septic system, consult a company like Rob’s Septic Tanks Inc to ensure it can be implemented safely. It is also very important that you have your plumbing or septic system inspected regularly by a professional in order to ensure that your wastewater doesn't harm the environment. The fact is that wastewater is always going to be a primary cause of pollution, which means that everyone should do what they can to minimize the damage. While you'll never be able to fully eliminate the impact your wastewater has on the planet, you can at least reduce the damage by being diligent and responsible.
We all know we need to be saving water but there's sometimes confusion about what sorts of water we should save and how to make the best use of it. Collecting rainwater is one thing, another possibility is to make use of grey water in your home. What Grey Water Is... This is water that's been used once. Anything that hasn't been used to flush a toilet counts as grey water. So that's water from your: SinksShowersBathtubsWashing machinesDishwashersAll of this water can be reused in your home or garden. We'll look at the best ways of doing so in a moment. The Best Ways to use Grey WaterMost experts agree that for the average household it's best to keep things simple. If you don't use a pump it can't fail. When there are no filters involved, they can't block. Working on this principal, you may well find that using your grey water within your home is impractical. This is a shame as it's estimated that doing so could reduce your household water usage by around 30-50%. But retrofitting your home to include grey water storage tanks designated for internal reuse will involve a degree of expense and often the space to put the storage tanks into simply isn't available. If you happen to be building a new home or doing extensive renovations, especially in your bathroom, then thinking about water conservation is a must. In this case it certainly is worth thinking about reusing grey water, to flush toilets for example. In most instances however, the best use of grey water is to supplement rain water harvesting to supply your garden. The simplest way to do this is to divert your 'gently used' grey water into a holding tank. Rely on gravity to get it into the tank, but make sure that there's a system in place to ensure your holding tank doesn't overflow. Using Grey Water SafelyGrey water will have far less pathogens in it than 'black water', that's the water flushed down your toilet which is destined for the sewage system. But it would be unrealistic to assume that there are no hazards involved in grey water use and storage. Food scraps in washing up water will break down and bacteria will grow in it. Water used to wash clothes or for showers and baths may also have some bacterial or viral contamination. Then there's the issue of the chemicals you've used to wash yourself, your clothes, or your dishes with. When you're planning the reuse of your grey water you should: Consider the soap and detergents you use in your water: You'll need to switch to eco-friendly products before starting to use grey water for your garden.Use a competent plumber for any permanent installations: You don't want any leaksDon't store grey water for more than 24 hours: This is especially important if you plan to use kitchen sink or dishwasher water. Food waste in the water will start to break down and smell.Use grey water to irrigate garden landscaping or ornamental plants: Unless you're planing to install purification systems you shouldn't allow grey water to come into direct contact with edible parts of food crops.Do check to find out what your local regulations are before installing any systems: You can find out more about the rules and standards that apply through the UK planing portal.Grey Water Recycling versus Rainwater HarvestingThe great advantage to recycling grey water is that most homes have a year round steady supply of it. Rainwater in contrast tends to be most available when it's least needed. Sadly grey water recycling is still in it's infancy in the UK. This is a tragedy considering the potential for water conservation. Every drop of water that comes out of the mains supply has been treated to the point that it's fit to drink. Using it to flush the loo when there are other, better sources of water for that, represents a waste of cash and waste of a precious resource. But until grey water recycling systems become more popular and more widely used, the payback time and maintenance requirements for them may prove prohibitive for many households. Rainwater harvesting in contrast makes immediate economic and ecological sense. If your gutters are kept clean and water flows freely, capturing your rainwater is cheap, simple and safe. So for the present at least, it's absolutely the first thing you should be considering when you're thinking about how to save water. Sources: http://www.gutterslondon.co.uk/blog/living-off-grid-public-water-supply/ http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jul/21/greywater-systems-can-they-really-reduce-your-bills http://www.anglianwater.co.uk/environment/how-you-can-help/using-water-wisely/greywater-reuse.aspx http://greywateraction.org/contentabout-greywater-reuse/