Top 3 DIY greywater system mistakes

Read this article before embarking on a DIY greywater system and before buying water tanks or water drums and avoid this common pitfalls.

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Mistake #1: Storing greywater

Greywater becomes septic after a couple of warm days and that creates anaerobic slime, which eventually clogs up any kind of filter, even a sand filter, and then the downstream emitters. Systems should be designed to use greywater as its produced, starting and stopping when greywater is or isn’t available, keeping it fresh and full of oxygen. This is best for the system and the plants in the short term (filter efficiency) and long term (emitter life). You’re planting permanent landscape, so you will need a long term solution.

Mistake #2: Using conventional drip emitters

Even highly filtered greywater downstream of the best filter system has tiny organic solids that combine with the minerals found in the source water to create “scaling” on the inside of pipes and irrigation tubing. Those “scales” grow until they flake off over time and then flow downstream to clog all but large-orifice emitters. Ideally a pumps’ surging action should scour the insides of those pipes and tubes with its brief but high volume “dosing” of the irrigation valves, ridding the pipe and tubing system of any scales before they get too large to pass into the soil. Before you use any other emitter, ask the manufacturer to show you examples of a legal greywater irrigation system (one that is used underground) that has been in use for more than 5 years. They can’t.

Mistake #3: Using a gravity-fed irrigation system

In a gravity-fed system, water flows to the lowest point and pools there. You can try to engineer the system and regulate the flow with hand valves, but unless you’re just irrigating a few trees or hedges or something else with a high degree of tolerance for error, you will be very disappointed with that type of “irrigation” pattern.

Source: Rewater (edited)

Although it may sound daunting, a simple greywater irrigation system that does not include any of the above mistakes, is relatively simple – a small water tank or drum with a submersible pump (and float switch) can be used to pump the water from the water tank as and when it is used. As the above article states, there are particles in greywater that can clog pipes and irrigation emitters. A simple solution is to use a Gardena-type emitter – very common in South Africa. Whether you need a water tank for a grey water system or for storing water, be sure to consider superb quality polyethylene water tanks made by JoJo Tanks in South Africa. Click on the links below for more information about JoJo Tanks products.

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