Today's question: What is gray water? Can we use it?
Plain Talk answer: Gray water is used water from dishwashing, showers, sink use or laundry water in the home - essentially any residential wastewater other than water from toilets. Gray water can be reused for other purposes, especially landscape irrigation because gray water can contain small bits of soil-enriching residue.
According to Oasis Design's Gray Water Policy Center, the benefits of using gray water include
Less use of fresh water
Less strain on septic tanks
Less energy and chemical use
Reclamation of otherwise wasted nutrients*
Note that in some communities, particularly in Western United States, capturing gray water is not allowed.
For more information on this and many other water-related topics, check out Plain Talk About Drinking Water by Dr. James M. Symons.
*Oasis Design. 2009. Gray Water Policy Center. www.oasisdesign.net