Here’s a fact that might surprise you: You probably flush your toilets with water clean enough to drink.
While that’s an unappetizing thought, it’s also a tough environmental reality, given Colorado’s growing population (and corresponding demand for water) and the ongoing drought conditions, which squeeze the water supply. Up to this point, the majority of solutions for water conservation have been focused on efficiency—low-flow plumbing fixtures and high-efficiency washing machines and dishwashers, for example, and public-awareness campaigns to turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. But a new pilot program in 40 homes in Denver’s Central Park neighborhood is testing the efficacy of a residential water-recycling system called Greyter Home, which could be a new tool in municipalities’ belts to save precious H2O.
The idea is simple: The system captures water from the shower and bathtub, cleans it via high-tech, proprietary, and patented filtration to an established third-party standard called NSF 350, and then provides clear, odor-free water for flushing toilets.
“Two showers a day is generally sufficient to meet the daily flushing needs for a family of four,” says John Bell, vice president of business development for Toronto-based Greyter Water Systems. (The company’s name is a play on “greywater,” the term for water collected from bathroom sinks, showers, bathtubs, and laundry machines and used for a second, beneficiary use such as irrigation or toilet flushing. It’s also a nod to the company’s mission of creating greater and more water-efficient communities.) Bell says the system saves up to 25 percent of a home’s water usage, which amounts to about 9,000 gallons of water for a family of four each year, and it also detects leaks.
In Central Park, Stacey Whiteside’s new home is part of the pilot program, which is driven by a partnership among Denver Water, builder Lennar Homes, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Greyter Water Systems, and Uponor, which is installing its Phyn leak-detection device. With two adults and two teenage girls at home, “we’re definitely high water users,” Whiteside says. The family had already signed a contract for the home when they found out about the pilot program, “so even though we didn’t choose the system, we think…