Water recycling: the effects of soapnut grey water on the environment

Shreya Ramachandran, California, USA 13-15

At the peak of California's drought, when I was exploring reusing or recycling grey water (lightly used water) from the laundry, I found that many detergents contain chemicals detrimental to the environment. Therefore, I tested grey water from soapnuts, a berry shell that produces soap, on soil and plants to see if it can be used for irrigation. I found that soapnut grey water showed a trend for higher plant growth than other grey waters and was comparable to regular water, without leading to bacterial contamination or nutrient toxicity issues. Soapnuts are also cheap, making grey water irrigation more accessible to many drought-stricken areas.

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