Friday Reads: Greywater Green Landscape

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

(Pictured:  author Laura Allen.  Source: Storey Publishing)

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Yesterday, I read an article in the Cape Cod Times about problems with the water system in Falmouth that have come to light since the Long Pond water treatment plant went into operation last October (“Officials Under Pressure to Fix Water Issues” Cape Cod Times, August 23, 2018 pps. A3, A5).  Water superintendent Stephen Rafferty was quoted as saying water usage increased “a million gallons a day” this July as compared to last July.  That is a chilling fact that will only get worse as our population grows.  Rafferty cited lawn irrigation as a “major draw on the system.”

There are many steps people can take to reduce their water usage.  Using greywater instead of fresh drinking water for lawn irrigation is one of them.  What is greywater you ask? Greywater is the water that runs down the drain after washing dishes in the sink, doing laundry or taking a shower.  It is not water from a dishwasher (the chemicals are too harsh) or from a toilet or laundry that includes poopy diapers.

If you have any interest at all in this important issue, I highly recommend the book Greywater Green Landscape by Laura Allen that we added to our collection this spring.  The blurb from the back of the book states, “Save thousands of gallons of water annually and have a beautiful yard no matter the weather by capturing and reusing water from sinks, showers, and washing machines.  This empowering and easy-to-use manual offers practical, long-term strategies for water management, with easy, do-it-yourself instructions and step-by-step photography to guide you through construction and installing a variety of systems throughout your house and garden.”

Options for capturing and using greywater run the gamut from simply collecting water in a bucket and pouring it on your garden to installing a high-tech fully automated system.  Depending upon the complexity of the system you want to use, you may need a permit.  The State Environmental Code 2C Title 5 states, “Greywater from residential, commercial and public facilities may be discharged or reused in accordance with the provisions of 310 CMR 15.262,” otherwise known as title 5.

Allen’s book will help you assess your situation by considering your greywater sources, your level of interest, your needs, an understanding of your soil, the best plants to use, various greywater systems (of course), help with codes and regulations and even plant-friendly soaps.  Clear diagrams, photos, a list of resources and an index make this book attractive and very practical.  You can find it on the new nonfiction shelf with the call #627.52 ALL.

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