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Greywater recycling

Used water generally falls into one of 2 categories:

  • Blackwater - from toilets and foodwaste (kitchen sink) needs to be expensively treated before recycling or returning to the sea
  • Greywater - from bathing, washing machines and dishwashers, requires much less effort to clean as it contains less nitrogen and phosphorous, and no oils or fats

Most of this greywater can be treated by a simple filter, enabling it to be re-used for washing, irrigation and many other uses that do not require water of a drinkable quality. As some chemicals (such as bleach) may occasionally be used, Greywater systems can allow you to choose wether to send waste water to the sewer, or through filters to be re-cycled. Greywater systems can save up to 40% percent of a households water usage, re-using the waste to water plants and lawns. You can use greywater untreated, but some precautions should be followed:

  • Lower the amount of fertiliser that you use, as many soaps and washing powders contain nitrogen and phosphorous.
  • Avoid using it on crops you intend to eat, particularly raw or cooked lightly, unless you filter it first
  • Greywater is more alkaline whereas rainwater tends to be acidic. most plants prefer conditions slightly more one way than the other, make sure you adjust accordingly.

Untreated Greywater is not recommended for toilet flushing for several reasons, making a combination of greywater and rainwater harvesting systems a very effective partnership, similar to combining wind and solar power generation to create a system greater than the sum of it's parts. This is how we can build an impressive infrastructure of supplying a house's needs with little recurring effort required


ESR-factsheet-08.pdf - Information on Greywater usage.

Other Resources - resource on Greywater information
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