Simply put, greywater is waste water that is produced from lavatory sinks, clothes washers, showers and baths. It accounts for about 50%-80% of the water that is consumed in households. That is a lot of water that can help reduce strain on water systems. If used as an alternative source of water, greywater requires minimal treatment which in most cases only involves filtration. Some commercial filtration systems go the extra mile and chlorinates the greywater with the sole aim of killing microbes. Whether or not it’s intended for reuse, greywater should be filtered out of pipes as it can easily clog them. The main difference between rainwater and greywater is that while greywater accounts for household water waste, rainwater is very pure. Greywater is a very effective solution for parties concerned with sustainable development and green construction.
- Less strain on treatment plant or septic tank: The use of greywater helps to extend the lifespan of septic tanks and ultimately its capacity. It also leads to less waste flow to treatment plants thus making them more effective and less costs.
- Sites that are unsuitable for septic tanks: Sites that exhibit certain characteristics like slow soil percolation are not ideal for septic tanks. Such sites can benefit greatly from use of greywater whose system is less costly to engineer.
- Reclamation of wasted nutrients: Disposal of wastewater in oceans or rivers leads to soil erosion and ultimately loss of nutrients. Greywater can be used to reclaim the nutrients lost this way and thus help to maintain the fertility of the land.
- Reduces the use of fresh water: Greywater can be used in place of fresh water and as such, can be used to increase water supply in areas where it’s really needed like irrigation schemes. With the exception of toilet water, all residential water can be recycled and used for both indoor and outdoor uses.
- Highly effective purification: Greywater is highly purified in the upper region of the soil that is most active biologically. This purification helps to preserve the natural quality of the surface and the ground waters.
- Less chemical and energy use: Reduced amount of wastewater and freshwater that requires treatment and pumping reduces significantly. Those who produce their own electricity and water accrue the benefit of reduced infrastructure costs while those who treat wastewater under their fruit trees are encouraged to pump less toxic wastes down the drain.
- Growth of plants: In areas where water is not available, using greywater helps the landscape to flourish thus growth of plants.
How to make a safe, ecological and legal suburban home graywater system
To learn more about water resource utilization along with land management and rehabilitation, enroll at Open permaculture school and regenerative leadership institute.