GREY WATER SYSTEMS
Recent drought conditions and water restrictions are causing many families to look at different options
for making the most of the water they use.
One marvellous way to recycle your water is to install a
grey water collection system.
This involves collecting grey water from household use, such as washing machines, hand basins, baths and showers- use of dish washing water is not recommended because of the food and grease particles it contains.
The grey water is usually put through a filtration or treatment system, and then reused on the garden, or rerouted back into the house to use for flushing toilets.
|With households producing about 350-450 litres of grey water each day, reuse of this water can lead to substantial savings, in both water and money.
Families deciding to recycle grey water need to be aware of what they put into this water. Suitable detergents and personal cleaning products need to be used, as too much of the wrong chemicals can damage plants and contaminate soils.
Germs can survive in gray water, so water used for washing soiled nappies, or while family members are ill, should not be reused. The same goes for showers/baths for little children who might not understand they should not urinate in water that is to be recycled.
|Grey water systems can be turned off and diverted down the sewer, in these times.
Garden watering systems using grey water should ideally be delivered directly to the roots, with underground weeping or dripper systems. Grey water should not be sprayed on the surface of plants, in case of contamination and drifting of water to other areas, and on to people or pets.
It is not recommended that grey water (possibly with the exception of certain treated gray waters) is used on plants that will be eaten, such as fruits and veggies and herbs. Fruit trees are fine, as long as the water doesn't contact the fruit itself. Animals, or children, should not have access to greywater.
You should always contact your local council and state water body, to find out what rules and legislation your area has in regard to installation and use of grey water systems. Depending on which type of system you choose, the regulations will be different.
Make sure that you only install an approved grey water system, or it could be costly both money-wise and health-wise. You will probably find that some of the work will need to be done by licensed plumbers, as it involves work on sewer pipes.
Grey water storage tanks can be installed underground, under your house in certain situations, or as an outdoor tank. Some grey water systems are gravity fed, and others use pump systems.
Types of Domestic Grey Water Recycling Systems:
Diversion Only Systems
These are the simplest and easiest to install grey water system. However, as they are not filtered or treated at all they may pose greater hazards, both to health risks and blockage of garden watering systems.
Usually operated as a gravity flow grey water system, they collect household water and flow it directly onto the garden. Diversion only systems will usually require less "red tape".
Diversion and Filtration Systems
These systems strain the household water, filtering hair or other particles. The grey water is then less likely to block garden watering systems. The filter does need cleaning or replacing at times, and they will cost more to install than diversion only systems, but are less likely to cause annoying problems with your garden pipes so may be worth considering. They are also more heavily regulated.
Diversion and Treatment Systems
The best quality, and least hazardous, grey water is produced by a diversion and treatment system. These use various different methods, such as sand filters or aeration, to treat the water and cut down germs and solid particles.
This water can be used in more direct irrigation systems and also for flushing toilets. Installing one of these systems is much more expensive, and there are ongoing expenses and maintenance. Once again, there is much greater regulation for this type of system.
INSTALLING GREY WATER SYSTEMS
Installing a grey water collection system would make a great "eco friendly" family DIY project for the handy person and enthusiastic helpers. Just make sure you comply with any regulations and get professional help where required.
The internet is the ideal place to find lots of information, useful tips and product details for the various grey water systems on offer. It also gives easy access to a variety of suppliers, so that you can compare prices and other details, so that you can get the best system and price for your needs.