A washbasin helps reuse grey water

M. Subburaman with an integrated wash basin-cum-toilet flush in his house at Ramalinga Nagar in Tiruchi.  


The use of protective clothing, social distancing and the frequent washing of hands with soap and water are among the cornerstones of the global fight against COVID-19. But while it has been easy to adopt the first two directives, how does washing hands more than usual affect a water-starved municipality’s resources?

“We have to find a way to efficiently use the water we have, while staying safe from infection. Instead of letting grey water drain away from the wash basin after we our hands, we could reuse it in the toilet flush tanks,” M. Subburaman, director of the 33-year-old non-governmental organisation Society for Community Organisation and People’s Education, (SCOPE), told The Hindu.

Inspired by the picture of an integrated wash basin-cum-toilet flush from Japan, Mr. Subburaman has created a similar working prototype at his residence in Ramalinga Nagar. In his version, the wash basin is positioned above the water closet, and its tail piece (outlet pipe) is connected to the top of the WC’s modified flush tank. The soapy water from hand washing thus gets reused while flushing the WC.

“I was advised by a local plumber to use the same inlets and pipe connections that are available in conventional wash basins and Western toilets for this idea. One may not save much money in the sanitary hardware, but homes will use much less water,” he said.

The prototype took him two hours to assemble, and his family started using it after a day’s trial period. “There’s no extra fitting required for this idea. But it is difficult to get people to change their ways, especially in water usage,” said Mr. Subburaman, whose home makes extensive use eco-friendly concepts like of rainwater harvesting, biogas and solar heating.

Mr. Subburaman has also installed a pedal-operated tap system, to minimise contact with potentially infected surfaces, especially in toilets.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 8:02:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/a-washbasin-helps-reuse-grey-water/article31780071.ece

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