Three years ago, when I visited the county of Tulare for an Archery competition, I saw the first hand the effects of crippling drought. California has been in a severe drought for many years now. I talked to people whose wells have run dry, leaving them waterless, and farmers who have lost their years’ crops. I wanted to find a way help people conserve water. When I went to India soon after this, I found that California is not alone in dealing with drought, and I learned about the impact of failed monsoons. Peoples’ lands had become un-farmable and whole villages had been abandoned. I was particularly interested in reuse of greywater, especially from the laundry. However, many commercial laundry detergents have harmful chemicals that can be detrimental to soil, plants and aquatic life, so I set out to find a detergent that would be safe to use, and I ultimately begun research on soap nuts.
I am a freshman at American High School in the San Fransisco Bay Area who is passionate about water conservation. I have been conducting grey water research and promoting water conservation for the last three years.
Effect of Soap Nut Grey Water on Aquatic Life
When compared to other detergents, the grey water from soap nuts did not harm aquatic life in an LC 50 and daphnia heartrate test. Soap Nut grey water was most similar to regular water in a water quality/purity test.
Effect of Soap Nut Grey Water on Soil and Plants
In a two year study, my results showed that soapnut greywater was not detrimental to plant growth with a trend for higher growth and plant biomass than regular water and grey waters from an Organic and Non-Organic detergent.
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