The City of Regina is asking residents (and some businesses like the Co-op oil refinery) to conserve at least 25% of the water they typically use. This seems like the perfect time for the City administration to recommend to City Council they require greywater systems in all new housing and businesses constructed in Regina.
Regina depends upon Buffalo Pound water treatment plant, along with Moose Jaw, for its City water supply. We’ve 8 reserve wells, which have been tapped into numerous times over the past few years, always with the threat of running dry within days. We don’t know how many days Buffalo Pound needs to start producing sufficient “normal” supply of clean drinking water.
A greywater system can save 30% or more by processing shower water into usable toilet water. I spoke with Carl Robb, Product Manager – Sustainable Water Solutions, at Canplas Industries a few weeks ago, and they’ve a product for sale today that costs about $2400 to install in a home under construction. For already built homes, it could cost about $3000. It lowers water bills, so it’s feasibly a means to both reduce potable water consumption and not raise the cost of a home long-term.
It would make sense for Council to require new housing to have a sustainable water saving feature, to prepare for future water emergencies like the one underway now. It’s happened many times before, and we know it’s coming again. This would also be a means of meeting the sustainability requirements of the Official Community Plan.
You can contact Pat Wilson, Director Water Works Services, too and ask the City to require greywater systems in new construction. The Province should also offer an incentive or rebate, like they did for low-flow toilets.
>>> Kurtis Doney <@regina.ca> 6/19/2015 4:42 PM >>>
Thanks for your inquiry regarding grey water within Regina. There are benefits to grey water systems however there are also risks that residents need to be aware of. At this time I would not recommend that all new homes be installed with a grey water system as some residents may not be experienced and interested in maintaining and operating a grey water system. Regina residents can install a greywater system as long as they meet and conform to CSA B128.1-06 and any detailed questions regarding the standard should be direct to the Ministry of Health. A building permit will be required to install a greywater system and any wastewater should be discharged to the sanitary system. We do encourage residents to install water saving fixture such as low flow toilets and shower heads.
Kurtis Doney, M.Sc., P.Eng
Manager, Water and Sewer Engineering Branch
Water Works Department
Transportation and Utilities Division
Hi Kurtis, Did you see the information I sent along with my request? There’s a commercial product available from Ontario for ~$2400 that is an appliance like a hot water heater – automated. Saying that there are risks with it, is like saying there are risks with hot water heaters and water softening systems. While technically true, it’s beside the point.
Have a pleasant weekend, and when Regina has its next water crisis and is on backup wells, I hope you think of this email and missed opportunity to take concrete steps to prevent suffering in our city.
Carl now works at Recover Water Tech. Inc.