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Potable Water Utility Perspective on Graywater

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For decades, the utility industry has adopted the color purple for conveying treated reclaimed wastewater to residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural users. In 2008 an innocent email arrived in the author's mailbox that talked about using the color purple for conveying a variety of waters within a commercial or building. The proposal was to be part of the changes to the International Plumbing Code that was under development by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAMPO.)

An email was sent to the Water Reuse Committees of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF), and to the WateReuse Association (WRA) alerting them to this development. The reaction from all the professionals that responded to the broadcast email was swift and unanimous - the use of purple pie to convey anything but reclaimed water, even if inside a building, was simply unacceptable. In a joint letter from the three professional associations, there was a strong statement opposing such use of the purple pipe.

This paper examines the course of events that has transpired since that date from the perspective of the AWWA. The paper focuses on the ongoing dialogue that is occurring regarding this very important issue.

Keywords: graywater; plumbing code; purple pipe; reclaimed water

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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