A long-delayed graywater recycling pilot program at the University of Colorado can move forward after the Boulder City Council unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with the university.
Under the five-year pilot program, water from sinks and showers in Williams Village North, CU's LEED-certified platinum dorm near 30th Street and Baseline Road, will be collected, filtered and reused to flush toilets. University officials say they think it could save as much as 800,000 gallons of water a year, as well as provide educational opportunities for engineering and environmental science students.
However, water case law in Colorado has frowned on graywater recycling because of the possibility that less water would be returned to streams and canals for downstream users, impacting their water rights.
Boulder is using water from the Western Slope that is eligible for re-use for the project. University officials will closely monitor how much water is returned to the system under the graywater recycling program and share that information with the city.
City and university officials said that information could help them lobby for changes to state law to make graywater recycling more widely available.
The system will be up and running in six to eight months, university officials said.