Water is one of our most precious natural resources, especially at home. Bathrooms and kitchens use up most of the average household’s water supply, and it feels like a waste when all that usage only ends up swirling down drains.
Waste water from washing machines, bathtubs, showers, and lavatory sinks is referred to as grey water. Water from kitchen sinks, dishwashers, and toilets is called black water, separately collected from the sewage flow. This segregation is necessary as waste from black water carries disease-causing bacteria.
The amount of grey water your home produces is enough to reuse for other purposes, the best of which would probably be watering your garden. Apart from your plants benefiting from more water, reusing grey water reduces stress on septic tanks, improving their effectiveness and operating lifespan.
Consider the following practices for managing grey water properly.
Grey water can be used for home gardening, composting, and landscape irrigation, but avoid letting it run off on your property. Keep in mind that grey water shouldn’t be used to water food-producing plants.
Installing a grey water irrigation system for your lawn requires clear labelling on pipes to avoid confusion with drinking water pipes. Storage tanks should be secured and covered to prevent rodents and disease-carrying insects from entering.
Avoid washing down solvents, naphthalene balls, antifreeze, and other unsafe chemicals in greywater pipes. The same goes for used diapers and infected cloth/dressings, which should be disposed of separately. Irrigating your garden with hazardous chemicals has the same harmful effect on plants as it has on humans and animals.
If you’re not keen on gardening, there are commercial waste water treatment systems that dispose of both grey and black water using natural processes to nourish the soil. These greywater systems for homes reduce waste production with little maintenance and zero power consumption.
Grey water is still useful beyond the drain, and considering the initiative of conservation institutions for smart use of water, it’s time we did our part wherever we can.