Nexus eWater is introducing a system to recycle homes’ grey water so it can be reused on landscapes and in toilets, reducing homeowners’ potable water usage by more than 35 percent. The company’s home water recycling solutions are attracting the interest of California builders. Bob Hitchner, the company’s chief marketing officer, shares how the system works.

What is the history of the company and why is it now located in San Diego, California?

We started in the grey water business in Australia, which endured a decade-long drought into the early part of this century. Australia was forced to innovate earlier than the U.S. in using and reusing water in safe and effective ways.

Through this experience, we learned how important it is to develop solutions that will work automatically in the background without active homeowner engagement.

When we set up a new company to explore new product innovations, we immediately decided to set our sights on the U.S. market. The U.S. market is larger and has not yet really addressed the deeper questions of how to reorganize its infrastructure and even its lifestyles to use water more effectively.

When we knew that we would be the first company to certify an onsite solution to the NSF-350 standard for grey water, which is required in the California Plumbing Code, we knew we needed to move the core of our operations to California.

What exactly is NSF-350?

The NSF-350 standard is the gold standard for certifying equipment for on-site grey water treatment. This certification ensures the equipment is designed to consistently treat grey water to a high level of quality that is safe to use in non-potable applications.

What interest has Nexus received from homebuilders in offering your technology in new homes?

Homebuilders have three good reasons to incorporate our solution in their homes:

  1. To prepare for a possible future when water for landscapes is restricted even more than today.
  2. To build their brand and learn how to build homes that are livable even in extreme or long-term drought.
  3. To address homebuyer concerns about preserving home resale values during more extreme drought.

What do you see as the role of Nexus in conserving water, particularly on landscapes?

California water policy is changing very quickly right now. Our solution is merely one tool for translating good policy into everyday practice.

In several years, I hope every new home in California will be dual-plumbed so it can easily upgrade to onsite water recycling at any point in its lifetime.

How much does a typical installation cost, and what do you estimate the ROI to be?

Each installation can be quite different. Some homebuyers, especially in the high-end custom home segment, also want expansive service to come as part of what they buy. So costs range from $10,000 to $15,000, including all labor.

Since buyers today want to protect their landscape investments, payback is virtually immediate.

PHOTO: NEXUS EWATER