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Conserving Natural Resources: Should North Carolina Use Gray Water?

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As Earth’s population increases, there is also an increasing demand put on many of our natural resources, including freshwater, which is vital for all life on earth. Since a strain is being placed on this essential resource, efforts should be made to conserve it. The use of recycled grey water for irrigation and other needs is one way to conserve. Grey water is any non-industrial wastewater generated from domestic processes such as laundry, bathing, or cleaning that is treated for reuse. Inexpensive systems can be installed to recycle water by either purifying and filtering or diverting it into the ground to water plants. It can not only save water and money, but also other chemical and energy resources because less strain is put on sewer and septic systems.

Grey water is generally used for irrigation or flushing toilets but even some ice rinks have used grey water. So, why would one choose to recycle water rather than just keep things simple and use a regular sewer or septic system? There are many benefits to using grey water, as Art Ludwig describes in his book, Creating an Oasis with Greywater. We can lower fresh water use, where “grey water can replace freshwater for some uses” and lessen strain on septic tanks or treatment plants because you would keep the grey water and only send the black water to be treated. Black water is waste from toilets and is not good to recycle. Grey water also receives highly effective purification from the soil so less energy and chemicals are used, due to the reduced amount of water that needs pumping and treatment. Another benefit that comes with grey water use is groundwater recharge, when grey water that is in excess of that needed to water plants seeps down to the water table and “recharges...

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2.) Ludwig, Art. Create an Oasis with Greywater. 1st ed. 1 vol. Santa Barbara, CA: Oasis Design, 1991. 2-3, 10. Print.

3.) Preston, Ben. "Greywater Dominoes." miller-mccune.com. 2008. Miller-McCune, Web. 2 Jan 2010. ."

4.) Untreated Gray Water in North Carolina is Wastewater/Sewage." www.owasa.org. Jun 2006. N.C. Building Code Council, Web. 2 Jan 2010. .

5.) "Frequently Asked Questions - Greywater." Sustainable Village. Feb 2008. Web. 3 Jan 2010. .

6.) McIlwaine, Stephen, and Mark Redwood. GREYWATER USE IN THE MIDDLE EAST- Technical, Social, Economic and Policy Issues. 1st ed. 1 vol. England: Practical Action, 2010. 1-200. Print.
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