greywater all-stars

I think a lot about water.

Our sewer system stopped working properly. A few weeks ago we had a major rainstorm, and something about the 50-year-old system gave in. (We suspect it’s because a neighborhood of houses were built on top of it.) Long story short, we can bring in as much water as we want, but we have to be very careful about how much we emit. Ahem.

So I’ve been carrying a lot of water lately. K worked out a manual system for greywater recycling – one of the benefits of having a big property with trees and zones and such – and it keeps us going while the sewer gets repaired. But even a short shower is a lot of water to schlep. A lot. Every extra minute is something I’m going to feel later.

I often think of a Lunar visit like a camping trip, and I imagine others do too. You do without, you make do with limited supplies, you put up with the extra time it takes to clean anything, to cook anything, to carry water. You rely more on disposable things, bags of trash and waste. But what happens after a week of that, when you need to live there permanently? How do we get from camping trip to sustainable, without shifting to use even more water? And where does all that water go?

K and I actually talked about greywater systems when we first bought this house. It seems so logical: rather than lumping all this water in with the sewage, give it a (relatively) quick rehabilitation and use it to keep all those trees happy. But like the geothermal heat pump (so logical), the solar panels (still logical), the battery backup, the drip irrigation system… the actual project to build the thing gets mired in planning, financing, hiring capable people, and interfacing with 50-year-old systems. (OK, the drip irrigation wasn’t that complicated. Still enough work to last the entire summer.) I get so excited about the idea and the design, but the execution just makes me tired.

So for now I carry water. And think about it. A lot.