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Using Graywater and Stormwater to Enhance Local Water Supplies: An Assessment of Risks, Costs, and Benefits

Date: March 10, 2016

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Related Research: 10-02

This webcast discusses the findings of a recent study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on the potential risks, costs, and benefits of two alternative local water supply sources—graywater and stormwater. Committee members, Dick Luthy (Stanford University) and Sybil Sharvelle (Colorado State Univ.) provide an overview of the report’s key findings, with emphasis on graywater reuse issues. The presenters discuss graywater quality, risks associated with various uses, available treatment technology, and research priorities and describe how the absence of risk-based treatment guidelines hinders broader graywater reuse. The results of the committee’s original comparative analysis of potential water savings from graywater and stormwater capture in six U.S. cities will also be presented.


Richard G. Luthy (NAE), Chair, is the Silas H. Palmer Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University.  He is the director of the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Center for Re-inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (renuwit.org). Dr. Luthy served as chair of the Academies’ Committee on the Beneficial Use of Graywater and Stormwater, and he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Sybil Sharvelle is an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University (CSU). Her research interests focus on wastewater and graywater reuse, biological process engineering, conversion of waste to energy, and integrated urban water management. Dr. Sharvelle is also a member of the CSU Sustainable Urban Water Research Working Group, where she works to address new and innovative infrastructure design concepts in water management through a multidisciplinary approach both in the United States and abroad.

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