WaterSaver Technologies Aqus Uses Sink Greywater for Toilet

Migrated Image

The Aqus(TM) is the epitomy of American ingenuity. Bothered from a young age by the tragic waste of water flowing down the sink drain, Mark Sanders repeatedly dreamed of a system to collect that water and reuse it. Dreams led to sketches, which led to the hot-glue gun of home remodeler Matt Ridge, who created a prototype to store the greywater from the sink for reuse when toilet flushing.

The idea caught the attention of investors, and won the Vogt Invention and Innovation Fund Award, on its way to its public debut at the American Water Works Association's 2006 Water Sources Conference and Exposition. Nice to see that the device passed the introduction to professionals before appearing at West Coast Green, presumably to a less technically critical audience.

Our own Nick Aster met the WaterSaver folks at West Coast Green, where the brochures for this interesting, potentially D-I-Y, product were walking out faster than they could keep reprinting them. The Aqua catches the water flowing down your sink drain, filters and disinfects it, and stores it ready for the next toilet flush. It is designed to be easily retrofit into existing fixtures and boasts low maintenance.

Gravity and a small electric pump transport the water from the 5.5 gallon (21 L) holding tank installed under the sink. A device in the toilet tank prevents fresh water inflow as long as sufficient water is available in the Aqus to do the job; in case the Aqus runs low, the normal toilet valve for incoming water will serve the demand. Unfortunately, this mechanism is not yet developed to the point where it can work with two-flush systems designed to reduce water use at the toilet.

Most TreeHuggers will wrestle with another demon in this system: the disinfection system is chlorine based, relying on three tablets that must be replaced during the annual maintenance and filter cleaning. The disinfection is essential to protect pets drinking the toilet water and probably benefits human health as well. Since most public water systems are chlorinated in the process of ensuring safe drinking water, this is probably a small price to pay to reduce household water discharge to the sewer by 25 - 40%. If you discharge to a septic field or potentially sensitive environments, you should talk to the WaterSaver Technologies experts when making your decision about an Aqus.

The system retails for about $200, and has a lifespan of 10-12 years, with a payback of about 4 years, depending on local water and sewage costs. The Aqus system is patented; the UPC product listing of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials and the UL seal of approval are pending. The system has been tested in households in Colorado, Kentucky and New Mexico and proven itself market ready. If used by every household, this could represent a savings of 4.8 billion gallons of water flushed down U.S. toilets each day, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water. Sanders said WaterSavers also plans to design systems for shower and tub, complete in-home systems, and systems to serve multi-family and other commercial structures. The primary market will be home building professionals, but the company will also sell the units over their website WaterSaver Technologies.

Product Specifications:

  • Reservoir Size: 13 1⁄2 x 15 1⁄2 x 8 inches
  • Volume: 5 1⁄2 gallons
  • Electrical Low voltage 12V DC
  • Fill control unit patent #6,276,005
  • Requires minimum 1.6 gallon toilet tank with ball cock
  • Tubing 3/8 inch
  • Pump 12V DC centrifugal submersible
  • Average flow rate: 1.6 gallon per 72 seconds
  • Suggested Retail $195.00