Center on Halsted and Mercy Housing Lakefront are the only major buildings utilizing a grey water recycling system in the state and it seems to be a trend that is continually growing as more and more home owners implement some sort of grey water system in their homes. Alison Cuddy recently explored grey water usage in Chicago and discusses it on Chicago Matters: Growing Forward.
And what is grey water recycling, exactly? Water that is generated from showering, bathing, dish washing, laundry usually has lower levels of contaminates so it can be recycled, via filtration, for uses such as flushing toilets or washing. It is never clean enough to drink, however. Does utilizing a grey water system really make that much of a difference? Barry Mullen, a vice president at Mercy Housing, tells Cuddy that using a grey water system helps cut about half of the building's water demand.
Center on Halsted uses both rain water and ground water for its system. Architect Jason Longo says, "To build a two-level below grade parking garage you need to build essentially a concrete bathtub and sink it into the earth and have a sub-drainage system consistently pumping water out of the basement. And that's perfectly pure water that you could use, no different than if rain were falling from the sky."
While still somewhat controversial and misunderstood by many, grey water recycling is rapidly gaining popularity. What do you make of grey water recycling?
To listen to the entire segment, visit Chicago Public Radio's Web site.
Photo: Center on Halsted, Christopher Barrett.