FAQ’sFrequently Asked Questions
FAQ’s – Rainwater & Greywater Harvesting
I have an existing building that I would like to make “greener”. Can I install a rainwater harvesting system? What about a greywater system?
How do I decide which type of system or systems is best for my building?
Every building situation is unique – particularly with the availability and usage needs for harvested water. Considerations include:
- The type of building and usage – offices vs. residential.
- Availability of greywater from showers, sinks, washing machines.
- Rain frequency and amounts in your area.
- Number of toilets and number of building occupants.
- Land use around the building – amount of landscaping, type of parking facility and stormwater runoff, implications for water storage locations above or below ground.
Contact us for a free analysis to help you decide is water harvesting is right for your project.
Does Water Harvesting Solutions work with homeowners?
Not at this time. We are primarily focused on the commercial building industry. There are wonderful resources available to homeowners, and we encourage you to visit our Resources Page for a list of suggested contacts and links.
What is the value of water harvesting in LEED Certification?
The latest USGBC certification for LEED is v4, and it added considerable focus on water conservation. Water harvesting efforts can now earn up to 15 points across a number of LEED categories including:
- Inside water use reduction
- Outside water use reduction
- Rainwater management
- Cooling tower water use reduction
- Water metering
Visit our LEED Page for more information.
What are the considerations of using harvested greywater for a building?
An efficient greywater system first requires a steady source of greywater. The most abundant source is showers in buildings with full time residents – dormitories, hotels, schools, etc. Manufacturing facilities using large amounts of water in light processing, cooling baths, etc., may also be good candidates for commercial greywater reuse. Office buildings generally do not produce enough usable greywater to warrant the cost of a system.
When there is an abundant supply of greywater, it can be a more reliable source of water for flushing toilets than rainwater. The amount of shower and sink usage generally ties to the amount of toilet use in a building, so there is almost always a balance in supply and demand for greywater.
Greywater (gray water) harvesting requires additional treatment versus rainwater. This is due to the heavier load of soaps and organic particles that are carried in greywater. The additional filtering and sterilization requirements result in higher costs for a greywater system vs. a rainwater system. While greywater treatment is more complex and therefor more expensive than rainwater harvesting, the reduced storage requirement can often more than offset the higher processing costs. For more information, please visit our page on Greywater Systems.
Can harvested greywater be used for irrigation?
When greywater is used to flush toilets, is there any color or odor? Are there any special requirements for cleaning toilets or handling odors?
Does Wahaso offer services for organic (passive) processing of rainwater and stormwater like green roofs and vegetated swales?
Our community makes reclaimed water (municipally treated sewer water) available for irrigation. Can that water be used to flush toilets in our building?
FAQ’s – Wahaso Misc, Operating Costs, & Maintenance
What is the warranty policy on your systems?
Does Wahaso provide ongoing system maintenance services?
What additional operating costs are associated with active systems?
What is the typical payback for a Water Harvesting system? Do they make economic sense?
System payback depends on a number of factors including the type of system installed (and its cost), the overall efficiency of the system (total gallons saved per year for the capital investment), the cost of municipal water (now and in the future), the local fees for water discharged into the waste system, environmental impact fees for storm water management, etc.
Payback is only one of many considerations for installing a water harvesting system. This can range from as little as one year to 12 years or more depending on your circumstances. Most clients also have broader interests in supporting sustainability of potable water for their area; water harvesting is usually one of several actions taken by clients in an overall environmentally sensitive building. We communicate the efficiency and annual dollar savings through water reuse early in the scoping process so clients can quickly gauge the total value of a proposed system.
What geographic area does Wahaso serve?
Wahaso serves clients throughout the U.S. and Canada. Most of our scoping and development stages can be handled remotely, and we can arrange to come to your offices or work site on more complicated systems. In our model, we pre-build and fully test our systems at our Crystal Lake, IL facility and then disassemble the skids to ship to your location. Our system fees include on-site days for start-up and training. In some areas, we work with local partners to install and service systems.
What does “Wahaso” mean?
Our mission at Wahaso is to help municipalities and commercial property owners reduce the impact of their buildings on the environment through innovative and sustainable water practices.