Although the long drought has passed and many regions no longer have strict water restrictions, water is still a precious resource in a country as dry and unpredictable as Australia. By utilising a grey water system in your home, you are able to use your water twice, which is a fantastic move for the environment and your wallet.
Grey water is household waste-water collected from the bathroom, hand basins, shower, and laundry – while water collected from dishwashers and kitchen sinks is sometimes known as dark greywater (due to the higher presence of chemicals, fats, and organic matter) and water from toilets is referred to as blackwater. When treated, greywater can be used in the garden (both above and below surface), to flush the toilet, and to wash loads of laundry. Untreated grey water is only used for sub-surface irrigation in the garden to prevent any contact with the greywater.
It is estimated that just over half the amount of household water could be recycled and used as greywater, potentially saving hundreds of litres of water a day and plenty of money off the monthly bills!
- Only use greywater from baths, showers, hand basins and washing machines (preferably the cleaner, final rinse water.)
- Only apply greywater to your garden and rotate which areas are watered.
- Only apply enough water for the soil to absorb.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly following watering with greywater.
- Avoid using greywater during wet periods - allow the rain to keep your garden thriving instead.
- Avoid using greywater if odours are generated and plants do not appear to be healthy.
- Ensure all pipes or systems using greywater are adequately labelled or marked.
- Don't water vegetable gardens if the crop is to be consumed raw or uncooked.
- Don't use greywater with faecal contamination, such as water used to launder nappies.
- Don't use kitchen wastewater (including dishwashers) due to the high concentration of food wastes and chemicals that are not readily broken down by soil organisms.
- Don't store greywater for more than 24 hours.
- Don't let children or pets access greywater.
- Don't allow greywater to flow from your property or enter stormwater systems.