In a drought prone country like Australia, water conservation is serious business but surprisingly, not many households actively engage in water recycling beyond the old bucket in the shower trick. However, domestic water recycling technology has come a long way in recent years and grey water in particular, offers a number advantages both economic and environmental. This week, we give you the low down on grey water systems and their advantages.
What is grey water?
Grey water is the waste water from baths, showers, bathroom sinks, and laundry appliances. It differs from black water which refers to the water from your toilet and kitchen sink, which has a much higher bacteria count and cannot be recycled on a domestic scale.
What can it be used for?
Typically, grey water is directed into the sewer, but it can be re-used for washing clothes, flushing the toilet, and irrigating the garden.
How is it beneficial?
Recycling grey water is environmentally beneficial because it reduces your household’s reliance on limited water resources, limits the demand on sewerage treatment, and ultimately helps to keep natural water sources cleaner. From an economic perspective, grey water recycling lets you take control of your water bill as it cuts the typical household’s fresh water use in half. Grey water is also not subject to water restrictions, so during periods of drought, you are free to use it to care for your lawn and garden.
Are there any risks associated with grey water?
Grey water is perfectly safe if it’s recycled through a proper system, but using untreated grey water directly on your garden puts you at risk of exposure to certain pathogens and may damage your garden with salts and chemicals.
What kinds of grey water systems can be installed in my home?
There are two main ways that grey water can be recycled on your property. The first option is direct diversion, where the grey water is diverted directly to your lawn or garden through a piping system. This type of water can only be used for sub surface irrigation, it also needs to be used immediately, so during wet weather, it will have to be directed into the sewer. The second option is a domestic grey water treatment system which collects, stores and treats the grey water to varying degrees. Depending on what grade of water treatment is used, this system can be employed for use in flushing toilets, washing machines, and garden irrigation. Although it is more versatile, the major drawback of this type of system is it’s cost, which is usually between $10,000 and $15,000.