257: Laura Allen on Greywater.

Exploring low-tech, sustainable water solutions for urban homes and landscapes.

Laura has spent the past 15 years exploring low-tech, urban, sustainable water solutions, while earning a BA in environmental science, a teaching credential, and a master’s degree in education.  Plus, she participated in the CA and WA state greywater code development committee.   She puts this to use by presenting at conferences, leading classes and workshops on rainwater harvesting, greywater reuse, and composting toilets.

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Laura is the author of Greywater, Green Landscape, and The Water-Wise Home: How to Capture, Conserve, and Reuse Water in Your Home and Landscape. Both published by Storey Publishing.   She is also the co-founder of GreywaterAction.org, an education based organization that teaches people how to design and install greywater systems and was the 2014 recipient of the Silicon Valley Water Conservation Award of Water Champion.  

In This Podcast:

A determination to save money and help the environment was the beginning of a career in water conservation and education for Laura Allen.  She tells us why water solutions became so important to her, as well as gives us an understanding of what a greywater system is and why anyone can set up an easy one for themselves. There are many different options to customize a functioning system and she helps explain the differences.


Listen in and learn about:

  • A wake-up call on her water use when renting during college and realizing they wanted to ‘double-use’ their water
  • Greywater – what it is and what it is not
  • Safe soaps and what ingredients are not good for these systems
  • What the best kind of soaps are – ‘bio-compatible’
  • The first and easiest way to start using greywater
  • Laundry-to-landscape systems and how to set them up
  • How to use the low pumping system
  • What types of plants use greywater irrigation
  • Simple filtration fixes to help keep the system from getting clogged
  • What a branch drain is and how to passively divert water to multiple locations
  • Producer’s note: Brad Lancaster’s podcast
  • Gravity flow systems and how that system is beneficial in warm places
  • Why it is not good to store greywater
  • Cost and affordability considerations
  • Greywater legality
  • How activism is working to improve legislation
  • Greywateraction.org and resources
  • Black water composting safety
  • How to get systems installed and why plumbers need additional training

As well as:

  • Her failure – The time she used a wood-chip biofilter in her kitchen that kept clogging and backing up
  • Her success – Changing the greywater code in California; and Starting her hands-on greywater workshops
  • Her drive – Concerns of water conservation and usage
  • Her advice – Try something new with your water, even just finding out how much you use to start

Books written by Laura:

Greywater, Green Landscape: How to Install Simple Water-Saving Irrigation Systems in Your Yard

The Water-Wise Home: How to Conserve, Capture, and Reuse Water in Your Home and Landscape

Laura’s Book recommendations:  

The Wump World by Bill Peet

How to reach Laura:

Website: www.greywateraction.org                           


Producer’s note:

Here is the link to Brad Lancaster’s Podcast.

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