OU golf course stays green with grey water
The Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course uses grey water to keep its greens free from brown patches.
Grey water, or recycled water, is equivalent to water that someone has been used to bathe in or wash dishes in, not sewage, according to the 1998 Water and Environment Journal, published by the Charter Institute of Water and Environment Management.
“We at [the] Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club are proud that we have the capability to use recycled or grey water to water our golf course,” Eddie Roach, assistant superintendent of the golf course said. “The use of grey water for irrigation purposes is becoming more of an everyday trend, especially on golf courses, since water restrictions on golf courses are becoming more of an issue.”
Roach said the water is collected in a 500,000-gallon tank located directly south of the course’s clubhouse.
Jason Faires, Jimmie Austin superintendent, said the water is pumped to the golf club from the waste water treatment plant located about a mile south of the golf course.
“Our golf course is greener in the sense that we have the capability to water our course with water that is being recycled rather than from water that is bought directly from the city like many other golf courses throughout the nation have to do,” Roach said.
However, Faires said there were some problems with grey water use.
“The biggest misconception about using reclaimed water is that it is free water,” Faires said. “The water may not cost as much as ground water or city water, but using it has adverse effects on soil structure and turf.”
Faires said more aerification and gypsum applications are needed just to make turf grow as it would if it were watered with fresh water, which means higher than normal labor and fertility costs.
Faires said Jimmie Austin switched over to grey water when the course was redesigned in 1995.
Students said it is a good idea to use grey water on the course.
“I really don’t see the harm in them using recycled water,” Iosiah Varghese, sociology and criminology senior, said.
Varghese said he has heard other golf courses using other means to water their courses and thought it was good that Jimmie Austin was being different.
“As long as people aren’t drinking the water, I don’t see any harm in it,” Alice Lee, management information studies graduate student, said.
Faires and Roach said grey water is not for drinking or cooking and is specifically used for just watering the course.