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Q. Dear Umbra,
We use a dehumidifier in our basement. How can we use the water it collects -- drink it? Use it in the garden? For our pets?
A. Dearest Jean,
I hereby bestow enormous thanks upon you, for you have given me an opportunity to revisit one of my favorite topics -- the ever-useful, though disgustingly named, gray water. This is an especially pertinent topic during these times of drought and other wild weather.
Gray water, as you might know, is the lightly used wastewater that comes from our showers, dishwashing, laundry, and so forth -- basically, anywhere but the toilet. (That stuff is even more disgustingly known as “black water.”) Water in a dehumidifier counts as gray water too, though it is snatched from the air instead of dispensed from our pipes. Whatever the source, it seems a shame to pour this water down the drain. It is still useful! Despite being gray or grayish! So what can we do with it?
To answer your questions: No, it is not drinkable. For you or for your pets. But it should be okay for watering plants and a few other uses, which I shall detail in a moment.