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Recycled-water system tested for SoCal home construction

A new recycling system could save more than 100,000 gallons of water per year in a single-family home.
February 26, 2014 2:42:52 PM PST
A recycled water system is being tested for new home construction. The system could save homeowners thousands of gallons of water each year and thousands of dollars in water bills.

For some time now the KB Home company has been one of the leaders in building new homes loaded with energy-efficient features, including solar as standard.

But now they're trying something new: a recycled water system installed in the home for landscape irrigation.

"We have a graywater system that would actually capture the water in the home that's vital -- the water that we shower with, we brush our teeth with, we wash our clothes -- stored in a tank, clean that water, put it in a clean tank, and then disperse it to the very landscape and the home," said Tom DiPrima, KB Home executive vice president.

This recycling system is the first of its kind to be used on new home construction in the U.S., but for years it has been mainstay in Australia.

The designers say it could save more than 100,000 gallons of water per year in a single-family home, which also means saving thousands of dollars.

"If you look at the cost of water and sewer in Southern California, it's some of the highest in the nation," said Nexus Water Chairman Ralph Petroff. "If you reduce your water bill 40 percent and you reduce your sewer bill perhaps 70 percent, that's a great savings for any homeowner."

Graywater from the home is cloudy, mainly from a lot of silt particles. Once it goes through the recycling system, the water is clear.

KB is also using water-sense faucets, low-flow toilets and a unique dishwasher as standard features to add to the water savings.

"We've got a dishwasher that actually takes and saves 33 percent of the water it uses. It takes the water from the last rinse cycle and stores it, and then rinses the dishes on the pre-water cycle on the next load, thus saving that water," said DiPrima.

All of these water-saving features are at KB's development in Lancaster, but the recycled water system is currently only a test model.

Lancaster is in the midst of a water moratorium so city officials are requiring the use of recycled water for new major construction and in Lancaster City Park.

"We've had to extend a mainline from their treatment plant all the way to City Park. It's about a 7-mile line," said Carlyle Workman, utility services manager with the city of Lancaster.

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