eco-briefs

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GRAYWATER MAY NO LONGER BE USED TO FLUSH TOILETS

The Colorado State Plumbing Board is considering a change in the state’s plumbing code that would ban the use of graywater for indoor plumbing uses, including toilet flushing.

Graywater is used non-wastewater that has not had contact with fecal matter and is currently able to be used for both flushing toilets and irrigation.

Governor Hickenlooper signed House Bill 13-1044 into effect in 2013 and with it legalized the use of graywater for certain plumbing and agricultural uses. Currently, the State Plumbing Board is proposing to allow use of graywater only for outdoor irrigation and not toilet flushing.

But proponents say using graywater for indoor plumbing creates savings in water, land, time and energy.

“Graywater eases the burden on sewers and septic systems, reduces demand on water from aquifers, and lowers energy and chemicals required to treat wastewater,” U.S. Green Building Council Colorado Executive Director Patti Mason said in a statement. She added that, “In Colorado alone, graywater has the potential to replace 85,000 acre feet of water each year.”

The board has not reached a decision about the code change and is seeking stakeholder feedback in regards to the issue. The State Plumbing Board will be holding a hearing with interested parties on Tuesday, Aug. 25 in Denver.

— Matthew DuBois

WILD HORSE REMOVAL BEING FOUGHT BY ACTIVISTS

The Bureau of Land Management plans to relocate more than 160 wild horses in northwest Colorado starting in September, but legal actions could prevent or delay the removal.

The Cloud Foundation, a Colorado-based nonprofit that works to preserve wild horses on public lands, has denounced the actions of the BLM and is considering litigation to prevent the removal. The group was already successful in suing and blocking a removal of horses in the Western Slope in 2009.

The BLM is taking efforts to control the wild horse population to prevent the overgrazing of public lands in a hope to maintain balanced resources for multiple species.

In addition to the 167 proposed removals, the BLM is also planning on using long term fertility control on 125 horses in Colorado.

The foundation claims that the removals and sterilizations are unnecessary and dangerous to the long-term health of the wild horse population of Colorado and that better methods of fertility control are available and not being used.

“Safe and effective birth control for wild horses has been available for years but BLM has chosen to use it on only a token number of mares,” stated Ginger Kathrens, volunteer executive director of The Cloud Foundation.

The BLM says that the population control is to best maintain the sustainability of resources for horses and other wildlife in the region. They also have space for the 167 horses they plan to remove, but have not specified where.

The removal is scheduled from Sept. 9 to 25 and the fertility control has been ongoing since 2014 and is planned to be done by the end of September.

— Matthew DuBois