In this Los Angeles Magazine interview Laura Allen from greywateraction.org answers some common questions about using and installing gray water systems in Southern California. Reading this will give a better understanding of some of the systems we have currently installed at the L.A Eco-Village and the systems you could use on your own home.
When you think of toilet water, you don’t necessarily associate it with clean hands, but the water flowing into the tank is not the same as the water sitting in your bowl. It’s much cleaner. In fact, it’s the same water that flows out of your sink faucets. So why not make use of this water before it gets dirty?
In Japan, most toilets are equipped with water saving features such as a little flush/big flush options and toilet lid sinks. This allows clean water to flow through a faucet before it fills your tank for your next flush.
Here in the states, you can buy a toilet lid sink, which is fairly pricey, or you can make one yourself for a small fraction of the cost. Here’s one that federico made with repurposed materials (see photo).
The Materials. We found the bowl at a local thrift store for $3.99. The wood for the lid was from a discarded piece of furniture donated by our friend Josh. The copper was harvested from an old broken refrigerator. We lined the bottom with rocks I had saved from an old lucky bamboo pot. The other parts (1/4″ plastic tubing, rubber rings, short pipe piece) were lying around from other projects. You can buy all of these parts fairly easily.
Here are a few photos of the building process.
And here’s a video of the water saving device in action. Happy flushing!
Coming October 2011, Greywater Action are back! They’ll be teaching workshops at L.A. Eco-Village and elsewhere in Southern California. Greywater Action are the great folks formerly known as Greywater Guerillas, then they changed their names after the state of California went and made greywater legal. These are the folks who installed (and taught how to install) my home washing machine greywater system that I wrote about here.
Greywater Action teach an introductory (morning) and advanced (afternoon) greywater workshop at L.A. Eco-Village on Friday October 14th. That evening they give a presentation on humanure (composting toilets) on Friday October 14th at 7pm. There are also similar workshops in Santa Monica on Saturday October 8th and Sunday October 9th. More workshop details below and at Greywater Action website. Continue reading
There’s a good greywater (or “gray water” ) article by Gloria Goodale in yesterday’s Christian Science Monitor online newspaper, entitled “Gray water’s grass roots.” It’s mostly about the 5-day training course that was taught at eco-village recently. The folks who taught the course were the Greywater Guerillas, er… now called Greywater Action, but still equally phenomenal people. Here’s an excerpt, follow the link for the full article:
Eco Village, near Koreatown, Los Angeles
If water is the next battleground for a globe facing dwindling water resources, then this 1960s-style community center at the northern end of Los Angeles’s Koreatown is at the forefront of the fight.
On this day, Laura Allen, cofounder of Greywater Action, a group that encourages conserving and reusing household water, is in her fourth of a five-day workshop teaching Californians how to reclaim and recycle what has been dubbed “gray water.” Typically, gray water includes the discharge from washing machines, sinks, showers, and tubs, which is then used to provide moisture for outdoor plants, from backyard rosebushes to large orchards.
While progress has been made – many institutions, corporations, and municipalities around the world use gray water – activists say there’s still a long way to go. And it’s groups such as Greywater Action that are helping to drive change.
Los Angeles Eco-Village appeared briefly on yesterday’s network news (6pm KABC Channel 7), in coveage of California’s changing greywater laws. Click here for an earlier longer blog entry on one of our washing machine greywater systems. The TV clip focuses more on complicated high-tech high-cost systems… but it does show the equally dependable low-tech low-cost unpermitted Greywater Guerrillas style system near the end.
Unrelated but also this week: on Friday night, eco-village hosts a talk by longtime eco-village architects and leaders Ian MacIlvaine and Victoria Yust of Tierra Sol y Mar. The free talk and slide show entitled “Old Ideas that should be new again…and other dreams for L.A.” will be Friday, July 31, 2009 at 7:30 pm at L.A. Eco-Village. As shown in this earlier post, Ian’s design work has been critical in our negotiations with the Los Angeles Unified School District.
This Friday, February 6, 2009 at 7:30 pm at Los Angeles Eco-Village presents a talk by Chris Carlson, speaking on topics from his new book Nowtopia: How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists, and Vacant-Lot Gardeners are Inventing the Future Today. The requested donation is $5 at the door. Plenty of bike parking. LA Eco-Village is located at 117 Bimini Place, LA 90004. Reservations recommended either call 213/738-1254 or email email@example.com
For excerpts from Chris’ book, see this bicycling article at Alternet or this gardening article at the LA Eco-Village Garden Blog.
And if that wasn’t enough mischief for your short month, on Friday, February 13, 2009 at 7:30 pm, we present the Greywater Guerillas who will teach us all How to Disengage from the Water Grid. The requested donation is a whopping $10 (though you can pay what you want – no one turned away for lack of funds.) Reservations required – call 213/738-1254 or email firstname.lastname@example.org