10 Things to know about Greywater recycling
Graywater Recycling is not a passing fad. It is a viable water conservation strategy that is gaining attention from homeowners, conservationists, state governors, and departments of water across the country and around the world.
If you are considering installing a residential Graywater Recycling system, there are some key facts you should know.
- Greywater recycling is simply reusing wastewater from bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and clothes washing machines. Greywater is water that has NOT come into contact with feces, either from the toilet or from washing diapers.
- The best Graywater Recycling systems are the simplest. You should do research and planning to create a residential greywater system is virtually maintenance free. While you will need to clean filters from time to time even with a simple system, systems with additional maintenance may turn out to be a pain you will wish you had avoided.
- Washing machines are an easy source of water for greywater recycling because the water can be diverted without cutting into existing plumbing. And, since your washing machine has an internal pump in it, you can use the pump to get the greywater directly to your plants.
- The easiest way to incorporate greywater recycling into your lifestyle is use a remote controlled greywater diverter valve (such as the GreenSmart Greywater Diverter) to divert it directly outside to water ornamental plants, or fruit trees. Note: greywater can also be used to irrigate vegetable gardens as long as it doesn’t touch edible parts of the plants.
- Drip irrigation systems are the simplest way to distribute greywater into your landscape or into container plants. With drip irrigation, greywater recycling is pretty simple. Water is delivered directly to any area of your landscape using water tubes with emitters on the ends. This allows the recycled greywater to be delivered directly to the root zone of each plant which reduces evaporation. Drip irrigation also reduces “overspray” that can come from standard sprinkler systems.
- Because the water reused in a greywater recycling system is not treated before reuse, it is very important that you use “plant friendly” products when you bathe and wash clothes. Salts, boron, and chlorine bleach can damage plants over time so finding soaps, shampoos and detergents free from these ingredients is an important step in the process. The good news is that using products without these ingredients may be beneficial to your health as well as to your garden.
- While certain chemicals are not good for plants, traces of dirt, food, grease, hair and some natural household cleaning products are safe for use in greywater recycling and may even be beneficial to plants as they may be a good fertilizer.
- While some greywater recycling systems include containers to hold greywater prior to distributing it to the landscape, it is not recommended that greywater be stored for more than 24 hours. It doesn’t take long for the nutrients in the recycled water to start to break down which can cause bacteria to multiply turning greywater into blackwater pretty quickly.
- It is also bad practice to let greywater pool on the surface of your landscape. Greywater is not potable for either humans or animals so allowing it to pool or create puddles is a bad practice. It is best to use a drip irrigation system underground where greywater is delivered directly to plants.
- Installing a greywater recycling system is not difficult, but it does require research and work to get it installed and working properly. There are numerous websites that you can use to educate yourself on the right system for your situation.
- BONUS: Remember to include the GreenSmart Greywater Diverter in your greywater system. It will make the difference between just having a greywater recycling system and having a system that you use every day.