Right as Rain: Advancing Safe, Sustainable Water Reuse

December 16, 2010

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Every day, we flush millions of gallons of drinking water down the toilet. When it rains, perfectly good water runs off into the sewer. As energy and water costs increase and climate change shifts our precipitation patterns toward larger, heavier storms, we need to figure out better ways to use our water. 

"Creating" water through rainwater harvesting and grey water reuse has never been more attractive, and pilot projects are popping up all over the place. The Lake County Forest Preserve's Ryerson Woods Visitor Center, Shedd Aquarium, and Chicago Park District's 41st Street Beach House all capture rainwater for non-potable uses. Unfortunately, plumbing and building codes make these technologies more difficult and expensive than they need to be, and code revisions have been hard to come by. Just this past spring, Ill. Senate Bill 2549, which would require the Illinois Department of Public Health to update the State Plumbing Code to allow rainwater harvesting for non-potable uses, was passed unanimously by the Senate but then stymied in the House.

Please listen in on this roundtable organized by the Metropolitan Planning Council and Openlands to learn more about: water supply conservation, stormwater mitigation, and wastewater benefits of rainwater harvesting and grey water reuse, requirements for safe use and reuse of alternative water supplies; job creation potential of opening up niche plumbing markets; and opportunities for plumbing and building codes to be more responsive to sustainability policy goals, while also protecting public health and safety.

PANELISTS:

Mayor Daniel McLaughlin, Village of Orland Park, and Executive Director of the Plumbing Contractors Association

John Bauer, President, Wahaso

Jonathan Boyer, Principal and Director of Architecture, Farr Associates



Recorded Thursday, December 16, 2010 at the Metropolitan Planning Council.