Whenever you shower or bath, the used ‘grey water’ is usually directed down the drain to the sewers or French Drain. Why not send gray water to a water tank and then use it to irrigate your garden?
Grey water is by definition, the water used in a household that is not ‘black water’ from toilets/urinals. Greywater includes bathing/showering water, water from basins/sinks and laundry water. For a simple greywater irrigation system, the source water should be limited to bathing/showering/hand-washing water. Water from kitchens and dishwashers may have bigger particles that could clog a system. Laundry water should only be used if phosphate-free detergents are used.
A basic grey water irrigation system consists of diverting water from baths and showers to a temporary holding tank (this can be a drum or small water tank). A submersible pump is placed inside the water tank and is activated by a float switch, i.e. when the water in the water tank reaches a certain level, the pump switches on. This water is then pumped out of the water tank to a pipe that irrigates the garden or lawn.
Here are a few important points to ensure the greywater irrigation system works properly:
Simple greywater irrigation systems are easy to design and build – the simplest being the bucket in bath/shower method. Professionally designed and installed grey water systems are also available.
Grey water has many nutrients that plants require and so fertilizer applications on the lawn/garden can be reduced. During water restrictions, your garden and lawn will continue to thrive as long as somebody in the household is taking a daily bath/shower (some municipalities may require a sign stating ‘grey water irrigation in use’. Grey water irrigation also reduces water bills so can so money too…and you can enjoy a longer shower without feeling guilty.
Grey water systems, in combination with rain water tanks, can make many homes and businesses virtually water self-sufficient.
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