How to save money and help the Earth with a gray water system

Filed in: Green Living.

We all have it, and most of us waste it. It's called gray water, and it's made up of water that comes from our laundry, toilets, showers and bathtubs. The water that flows down the drain and leaves our homes. However, this is valuable water and people all over the world are letting go.

Statistics tell us that in the United Kingdom and the United States, the average person uses about 60 gallons of water per day to wash dishes, bathe and wash clothes. This adds up to a tremendous amount of water that could be reused quite easily. It is estimated that more than half of all water used in homes could be recycled.

Breakdown of indoor water use

Although the use of water varies from one house to another, the numbers shown below represent a percentage of average domestic use.

Bathrooms: 28% Washing machines: 22% Showers and bathrooms: 19% Sinks: sixteen% Leaks in the home: 14%

Relaxation laws

In the past, state laws have seen water from sinks, showers or washing machines like the one that comes from your toilet: wastewater that requires treatment. Due to this, in some areas, gray water for irrigation has been illegal.

However, with more and more places on the planet facing water scarcity, there is a change in thinking and a relaxation of the codes. Policymakers are finally seeing the benefits of using gray water systems in the home, and these systems are becoming more common. This type of system has been in use for a long time by gardeners and homesteaders outside the network – Especially those who live in dry climates where water is scarce.

Benefits of Greywater Systems

If you have been looking for a way to make your environmental footprint a little smaller, installing a gray water system is a good place to start. In addition to saving you a huge amount of money over time, gray water systems reduce the demand for public water supplies and decrease the amount of wastewater entering sewers or treatment systems in place.

If you've always dreamed of growing your own vegetable garden (and you should), but you did not want huge water bills, the answer is a gray water system.

Ways to collect Greywater

Gray water collection systems range from the simplistic to the sophisticated, and they all do the same job of reusing water waste in the home. However, the more complex and expensive the system, the more forms can use the collected water. There are even systems that filter the water in such an advanced way that it can be consumed.

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Laundry to the landscape

Next to the toilet water (which can not be touched), most people use an exorbitant amount of water by simply washing their clothes several times a week. The good news is that gray water systems from "laundry to landscape" are not only one of the easiest to install, but also the least expensive.

This system uses the internal pump of the washing machine to expel the gray water. It goes to the basins around the trees, so you do not need an additional pump. Landscaping laundry systems employ a bypass valve that is directly connected to the drain hose of the washer that allows the user to switch between sewer / septic and irrigation. This is useful if you plan to use chlorine on your clothes, or it is raining a lot and you do not want to water. The system is configured to flow through 1-inch tubes that have ½ inch outlets to water the plants. This type of system is incredibly easy to install, low cost and low maintenance.

Water shower

The showers are a good source of gray water, and the other great thing is that the water they produce is relatively clean. The simplest type of shower system is one that is based on gravity. These types of systems do not require a pump unless the landscape is uphill from the house. You can also use a bucket in the shower to collect water if you have a small garden area or potted plants that need water. Just make sure you are using organic and low-fragrance shampoo and soap, dyes, etc.

Water kitchen sink

The water in your kitchen sink has a high content of organic foods, including grease and food. Under many gray water codes, they are not allowed, however, in some states such as Arizona, Oregon, Montana and Washington are allowed. To avoid clogging, use a branched system in the wood chips storage. The organic matter accumulates in the wood chips and decomposes.

What to do with extra water

If it generates more gray water than you know what to do with it, you can always dispose of it ecologically. Creating a wetland in your landscape is an excellent way to use gray water. As an additional benefit, wetlands absorb nutrients and filter gray water particles, allowing them to be stored for long periods of time. There are many plants that love "wet feet" and develop well in Boggy areas. If you live in an area with lots of rain, creating a beautiful wetland garden is an excellent way to use gray water.

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Things to keep in mind

Here are some things to keep in mind regarding the installation and use of a gray water system.

If you are not familiar with these systems, be sure to investigate first to determine what type of system will be best for your use and need for water. It may be better for you to consult someone who has experience in this area. It is better not to store gray water. If you want to collect and store water, use a rain barrels collection system. The storage of gray water for more than 24 hours can cause the decomposition of nutrients and a bad smell. Do not allow your animals to come in contact with gray water. It may contain a pathogen that can cause harm. (Of course, you should not contact him either) Perform a percolation test to see how well water absorbs the soil. You do not want gray water to accumulate or run. If the water is allowed to stagnate, it will attract mosquitoes and allow the contact of people or pets. Keep in mind that simple systems work better. Avoid filters that need maintenance. The simpler the system, the less maintenance is required. The simplest systems also use less energy and less money. Install a 3-way valve in any system. This valve allows you to switch between sewer / septic and gray water. Be sure to water the plants according to your irrigation needs. Do not let the gray water touch any part of the edible plants you are irrigating.

When you think about living a natural and healthy life, be sure to put a gray water system on your radar. Installing a system will help you become more aware of the world around you, while saving you money at the same time!

Reference:, by Susan Patterson

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