Grey water is a great way to recycle water during winter and especially over a hot summer that would usually go to waste down the drain. An average family house can produce as much if not more than 400 liters or 105 gallons of grey water a day. Here are a few basic tips and things to keep in mind if you want to recycle your water.
What grey water should you use?
Water waste from you house can be split into 3 categories.
- Toilet – (Do not use on the garden especially vegetable patch)
- Dishwasher, kitchen sinks
- Shower, bath, washing machine
Grey water is any water that goes down the drain at your house that isn’t from the toilet. Water from your bath, shower, hand basins and washing machines. Water from the kitchen sink and the dishwasher is grey water, however because it usually has food scraps in it, water from these sources is referred to as having a high “organic load” – which is another way of saying that it’s in danger of being a source for unhealthy bacterial growth.
Where to use grey water
Use grey water on all of the garden and try not to concentrate the grey water in just one area of your garden. Don’t put too much on and keep an eye on the health of your plants to make sure you’re not doing any damage to your soil.
Grey water usually has a much higher salt content than tap water, plus water with a lot of detergent or soap in it can also be a bit of a shock to your plants. Consider discarding water from your washing machine wash cycle but using the water from the rinse cycle. Another option is using “grey water friendly” detergent and soap. Your garden is a living thing. To make sure that it stays that way, it’s important to keep its exposure to certain chemicals and bacteria to a minimum.
The best soil type that is suited to grey water use is a loamy type that retains water well without becoming muddy. Very sandy soils or ones with a high clay concentration are not good for using with grey water. High clay soils don’t absorb water as well and can lead to water run-off issues. Very sandy soil can lead to excessively deep drainage with grey water entering the water table.
Choose the right water for the right plants. If you think about the sources of grey water in your house, you’ll realize that there is more than one variety. Some sources are better suited to certain applications. For example, if you’re using detergent with phosphates in it, it’s best not to use that on native plants but your lawn will love it. You must also never use grey water on food plants – especially leaf and root crops.
Every state has different rules governing the use of grey water.
Check to see if any of these apply to you:
Do grey water systems need to be installed by a licensed plumber?
Do you need to use different color grey water pipes?
Do you need a sign on the grey water pipe saying “unfit for drinking”?
Grey water warnings!
Never use grey water on the vegetable garden or food crops.
Never allow the grey water to enter a swimming pool.
Don’t let the grey water run off your property.
You must also never use it on food crops like a vegetable garden.
Grey water use is a smart way to recycle your waste water if used appropriately and your garden will love you for it.
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