Greywater, reclaimed/recycled water, and rainfall are all examples of non-potable water sources. While non-potable water should not be consumed by humans, it can be used for a variety of other purposes, including washing clothes, flushing toilets and urinals, and adding water to cooling towers to make up for losses, particularly evaporation-related losses.

Using non-potable water is a topic that engineers and architects who are planning sustainable living and green construction projects are very interested in. The U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED green building certification program is one of the driving forces behind such initiatives.

It is becoming apparent that installing low-flow fixtures alone is no longer sufficient. Through creative gray water reuse, rainfall collection, and usage, and, in an increasing number of places, the use of municipally supplied reclaimed or recycled water, significant measures must be taken to reduce the consumption of potable water.

Key to Water Efficiency

Why is water efficiency getting so much attention? Some dry regions have always struggled with water shortages, but in recent years, lakes and streams that feed municipal water treatment facilities in many large towns on the west coast have dried up to dangerously low levels. Currently, it affects the entire country of South Africa. Making every fixture a “low-flow” device wouldn’t even address the greatest water consumer in the building. We were startled to hear that cooling tower make-up water sometimes comprises the majority of water utilized in a building in major cities.

Although there are limited water supplies, there will always be a need for them. We cannot keep utilizing priceless, treated drinking water to irrigate lawns, flush toilets, and urinals, or for other significant water users like cooling tower makeup that can readily use “less than potable” water. It has been predicted that the availability of safe, fresh water would be significantly more crucial to the world’s population in the coming decades than the availability of oil ever could be.

For these non-potable uses, several businesses have developed cutting-edge technologies for the collection, filtration, and treatment of water. The great bulk of this water was formerly utilized for irrigation outside of buildings. We’re just now starting to fully understand the advantages of non-potable water applications.

Need for Water Transmission Inside a Building

As a result, there is a growing need to distribute non-potable water inside the building to the fixtures and applications that may use it. To do this, a separate distribution system must be installed. Today, an engineer may plan a structure with thousands of gallons of non-potable water on hand for these purposes.

The pipe systems for non-potable water within a building are still being built according to rules and requirements. Hearings and debates are now taking place not just in South Africa but also all around the world.

Everyone believes that, for the sake of public health and safety, non-potable water systems must be immediately discernible. There must be no possibility that a rational person could ever confuse a supply line for non-potable water with a line for potable water.

The global color code for “do not drink” is purple in regions where non-potable water systems have been in operation for a significant amount of time (such as Europe, Australia, and Canada). This color scheme has been used in the United States for PVC pipe that is used for irrigation, municipal recycled distribution systems, and the distribution of non-potable water outside of buildings.

The experts who designed these new non-potable water systems for inside buildings informed us they frequently utilized copper. The copper tube was painted purple by the contractor, who then applied some form of field marking.

The agreement among engineering firms in big and small cities was that they need an indoor, non-potable pipe system that would:

  • Comply with all specifications and regulations for the commercial household potable water systems they were designing. Since they will be supplying water for many of the same uses and applications that previously used drinking water, these new non-potable water systems will be subject to the same pressures and demands as the potable systems. Because the uses for the two systems are similar, from the perspective of codes and standards, engineers and code officials prefer a pipe system that is already recognized as being acceptable for potable water in the majority of the country’s plumbing codes.
  • Clearly state “Non-Potable Water/Do Not Drink“.
  • Offer a simple, dependable, and tested installation technique.

In the last year, engineers and business owners have informed us of a non-potable water use for which a product is required but none is now available. Charlotte Pipe and Foundry listened intently as manufacturers always strive to launch ground-breaking new goods…and later created the first CPVC non-potable water pipe system in the industry, which was later imitated by several other manufacturers all over the world.