Wash water + a simple valve = happy plants

From npr.org on Monday, June 8, 2009:

Susan Carpenter breaks California state plumbing code three times a week. Her accomplice is her washing machine. Rinse water from washing machines usually goes into the sewer — so what if you could recycle it? That’s what Carpenter does, using it to water plants at her Southern California home.

“The washing machine is filling up with water, and it is going through its normal process of washing clothes,” she says. “And after about eight minutes, you’ll start to hear it spin and we will run outside and see it squirting through the tubes.”

The “it” is gray water, which looks like its name — a bit gray, a bit cloudy. After all, it’s the wastewater from bathtubs, sinks and washers.

The gray water lapping up Carpenter’s dirty clothes will soon be lapped up by her passion fruit trees — and no, the fruit won’t taste like Tide. She uses a special type of detergent that doesn’t contain salt or boron, compounds which dehydrate plants.

Click here to read (or listen to) the whole story.