How to Reuse Greywater

If you’re looking for a way to conserve water in your home, one easy way to do that is by reusing greywater – gently used water from bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines.

According to Greywater Action, this water may look dirty, but it’s completely safe in addition to being eco-friendly. Still, there are some best practices you should follow if you plan to reuse greywater. Read on to learn more about what systems work the best, and the important do’s and don’ts you should follow.

What types of greywater systems are best?

The easiest way to reuse greywater is to pipe it outside and use it on decorative plants. You can use it in your vegetable gardens, but you have to make sure it doesn’t touch the edible parts. Overall, it's not harmful to plants.

Greywater action says simple designs, such as those that use gravity rather than pumps, work the best for your average household.

For instance, you could get a laundry drum system, which pumps the wash water into a drum that you can attach to a hose to water your lawn. Or, you could use the laundry-to-landscape system, invented by design consultant Art Ludwig. With this system, the washing machine’s drain hose attaches to a diverter valve, where you can switch the greywater flow between your sewer or septic system and the greywater irrigation system. The system then directs water through tubing to your plants.

A plumber can install this type of system for you, plus other types of systems that use greywater from your sink or your shower.

Greywater best practices

Here are the do’s and don’ts of using greywater, from Greywater Action:

  • Don’t store greywater for more than 24 hours. After that time frame, the nutrients in it will start to break down and it will start to stink.
  • Minimize contact with greywater. You do run the risk of pathogens in greywater, so your system should be designed for the water to soak into the ground, not for anyone to drink.
  • Infiltrate greywater into the ground, and don’t allow it to pool up or run off. Pooling greywater can lead to the formation of mosquito breeding grounds, as well as a place for human contact with greywater.
  • Keep your system as simple as possible. As mentioned above, keep it simple. Simple systems last longer, require less maintenance and energy, and are cheaper.
  • Install a 3-way valve for easy switching between the greywater system and the sewer or septic system.
  • Make sure you’re using the right amount of greywater. It should be enough to meet your plant’s irrigation needs.

If you have questions about water conservation, or need help installing your greywater system, give Benjamin Franklin Plumbing a call at 1-877-BEN-1776, or contact us online.