1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

December 15, 2008

:350 Gray Water Best Practices

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:350 EcoTip: The use of gray water for landscaping and other types of reclaimed water use is becoming more popular. For a long time the use of gray water was discouraged and frequently required expensive and difficult permits. That is starting to change. If your area doesn’t permit the use of gray water yet – see if they won’t consider adopting the best practices published by the National Science Foundation.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :349


The following has been published by the National Science Foundation as best management practices for the use of gray water systems:

  • First and foremost, avoid human contact with gray water. 
  • You may use gray water for household gardening, composting, and lawn and landscape irrigation, but it should not run off your property. 
  • Do not surface irrigate any plants that produce food, except for citrus and nut trees. 
  • Use only flood or drip irrigation to water lawns and landscaping. Spraying gray water is prohibited. 
  • When determining the location for your gray water irrigation, remember that it cannot be in a wash or drainage way. 
  • Gray water may only be used in locations where groundwater is at least five feet below the surface. 
  • Label pipes carrying gray water under pressure if confusion between gray water and drinking water pipes is possible. 
  • Cover, seal and secure storage tanks to restrict access by small rodents and to control disease-carrying insects. 
  • Hazardous chemicals, such as antifreeze, mothballs and solvents, cannot be in gray water. Do not include wash water from greasy or oily rags in your gray water. 
  • Gray water from washing diapers or other infectious garments must be discharged to a residential sewer or other wastewater facility, or it can be disinfected prior to its use. 
  • Surface accumulation of gray water must be kept to a minimum. 
  • Should a backup occur, gray water must be disposed into your normal wastewater drain system. To avoid such a backup, consider using a filtration system to reduce plugging and extend the system’s lifetime. 
  • If you have a septic or other on-site wastewater disposal system, your gray water use does not change that system=s design requirements.

Additional information is at: http://www.sahra.arizona.edu/programs/water_cons/tips/re-use/gray.htm

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December 14, 2008

:349 Lavatory Gray Water Recovery

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:349 EcoTip: Flushing the toilet doesn’t require potable water. The Aqus system by WaterSaver Technologies saves water by storing up to 5.5 gallons of water from the lavatory for flushing the toilet.

aquas

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 Additional Information:

More information about the Aqus system is available at http://www.watersavertech.com/AQUS-System.html

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October 19, 2008

:293 Rain Barrels

Filed under: :293 Rain Barrels — Tags: , , , , — John Banta @ 12:19 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:293 EcoTip: Rain barrels can be used for storing water during periods of rain so the water can be used later. For information about using rain barrels safely and effectively check out www.rainbarrelguide.com.

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 Additional Information:

Rain barrels can be a helpful way to store water, but there are important considerations – like making sure that misquotes can’t use them as a breeding ground and children won’t drowned. www.rainbarrelguide.com has a lot of very good information about using rainbarrels.

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October 18, 2008

:292 Gallons per Flush

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:292 EcoTip: You can learn how many gallons of water are used each time you flush your toilet by following the steps outlined below.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :138

To determine the gallons of water used each time you flush the toilet:

  1. Shut the toilet’s water flow off at the shut-off valve.
  2. Check the level of water in the tank.
  3. Flush the toilet.  The water will go down but not refill since the valve is shut off.
  4. Use a gallon size container to refill the tank to the fill line.
  5. Now that you know how much water your toilet uses per flush check out post :138 for information about low-flush toilets that really work to see how much water you could be saving.

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May 18, 2008

:139 Low Flow Faucets

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:139 EcoTip: It is a simple procedure to add low flow aerators to a sink faucet to help reduce water flow. This not only helps save water, but also energy from hot water use.

You can check the flow of your faucets by timing how long it takes to fill a quart jar. Aim for 15 seconds or less on bathroom fixtures and about half that for the kitchen.

To prepare for this post I tried this for both of our bathrooms sinks. Both fixtures looked exactly the same, but the master bath took 30 seconds to fill and the hall bath sink filled in 7 seconds. When I checked I found the low flow aerator was missing from the hall bath. You can’t always tell just by looking – so I’m off to the hardware store to buy a new half gallon per minute aerator.

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 Additional Information

EPA’s WaterSense program has identified retrofit aerators and new low flow faucets for a variety of applications. They are posted at:  http://www.epa.gov/watersense/pp/lists/find_faucet.htm

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May 17, 2008

:138 Low Flow Toilets

1:5:10:138 EcoTip: California researchers import fake poo from Canada to test low flow toilets.

 Source: MaP 11th edition

The ongoing research project, identified as MaP (Maximum Performance Testing of Popular Toilet Models) is now in its 11th edition. In spite of the joke potential the published results provide excellent information for the excrementally endowed. If you find your low flow toilet requires more than one flush – This is the place to look for toilets that can handle up to 1000 grams at a time. According to a British medical study (Variability of Colonic Function in Healthy Subjects) the average maximum male dooty is 250g.

We developed the Maximum Performance (MaP) testing to identify how well popular toilets models perform bulk removal using a realistic test media, and to grade each toilet model based on this performance. A soybean paste having similar physical properties (density, moisture content) to human waste was used in combination with toilet paper as the test media. In addition to using a realistic test media, all toilet samples are adjusted, where possible, to their rated flush volume (typically 6 litres / 1.6 gallons) prior to testing to ensure a level playing field.

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Additional Information

The research project results can be reviewed at: http://www.cuwcc.org/MapTesting.lasso 

The fake excrement is a Canadian Soybean paste with a density and moisture content similar to human waste. It is extruded through a 7/8-inch diameter die and shaped so each flushable is approximately four inches long and weighs 50 grams and is encased in a sausage-like latex coating so it is reusable.

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I am pleased to announce that the third edition of my co-authored book Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders and Homeowners has just been released!

Modern culture has many benefits but all too frequently convenience and costs are exchanged for health. It’s true for food and it is every bit as true for our shelter. The authors have compiled the most authoritative reference in the field of how to build your home or office to maximize its benefit for your health. I have used this book in the construction of my home and office and highly recommend it. – Dr. Mercola, Founder www.mercola.com world’s most visited natural health site

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May 12, 2008

:133 Moisture Granules

Filed under: :133 Moisture Granules — Tags: , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:31 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:133 EcoTip: Moisture Granules are a polymer soil additive that helps conserve water by helping to hold more moisture in the soil. It is important that they be mixed into the soil well since they don’t help at the surface. This also helps insure that chlorine in the water has a chance to disapate before reaching the grannules. Chlorinated water has been reported to reduce their effectiveness.

 http://www.soilmoist.com/products/landscapers.php

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 Additional Information

According to their Manufacturer: “Soil Moist polymer granular is a soil amendment designed to reduce plant waterings by 50%, reduce transplant shock and soil compaction, and will remain effective in the soil for 3-5 years. It is an inexpensive form of insurance for the plant and is environmentally friendly. Soil Moist saves time, labor and plant loss.”

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