Grey water from baths and showers can safely be used for garden irrigation as long as it is not stored in water tanks for more than 24 hours. Storing greywater in a water tank for longer than 24 hours could result in potentially dangerous micro-organisms multiplying. The best policy is to utilise the grey water as soon as possible. If for some reason the gray water must be stored in a cistern or water tank for longer periods, it must be filtered and sterilised.
As population grows and water supplies diminish, water conservation becomes an important issue. On a personal level, as supply decreases, cost generally increases, so the conservation of this natural resource can help minimize rising water costs. We can consider water efficiency in our regular activities as we water our lawns, take a shower, wash our cars or run the water as we wait for it to get warm. One conservation step that we can take is utilizing greywater. Since 60 – 65% of our indoor water use can possibly be recycled as greywater, this effort can help us to reduce our dependency on diminishing groundwater reserves.
What is Greywater?
Greywater is water that has already been used in applications such as in washing machines, showers, baths, and most sinks. Greywater is not a potable source since it contains bacteria and pathogens, which can cause various diseases. However, filtered greywater could replace fresh water in the landscape irrigation of non edible plants. Another option for this recycled water would be to utilize it for the purpose of toilet flushing.
In comparison, blackwater is water that has been used in sewage systems. The high organic waste content makes it difficult to reuse blackwater safely. Kitchen sinks, garbage disposals and dishwashers are considered as either greywater or blackwater depending on the area.
Due to the popularity of greywater recycling, you can now find different commercially available greywater systems. Some of these are simple low-cost systems while others may be more sophisticated and expensive. Simple systems usually do not treat water before being can consist of merely creating a process allowing recycled water to dump directly into the landscape. Complex sophisticated systems usually remove the impurities in greywater before irrigation.
Some sophisticated greywater systems utilize a sand filter connected directly to the drain line. The sand filter gets rid of some of the bacteria and impurities. After passing the sand filter, the greywater is then directed to a sump tank where it is pumped in the direction of the area designated for irrigation or for reuse in the toilet. Be sure to check with your local municipality to learn about any regulations or specifications that they may have in regards to utilizing greywater.
Source: Eco Evaluator
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