Greywater can be classified as any wastewater that is produced by baths, showers, washbasins and laundry and kitchen appliances. Most types of domestic wastewater can be described as greywater, with the exception of sewage. When greywater has been treated, it has a number of uses around the home, so it can be a very effective tool in reducing the amount of water that is consumed on a daily basis.
In order to be able to use greywater you will need to have a treatment system installed. This system would include a place for the water to be collected and separate tanks for where the water can be treated and then stored. The water is usually gathered at a low level where it will then be pumped around the property to wherever it is needed.
Greywater is very useful for the irrigation of plants. As long as it has been treated correctly, it is safe to use on plants that produce food. Greywater is actually very good for plants because of the nutrients that it contains, and it can often be a better choice for irrigation than regular tap water. Using an irrigation system would increase the overall cost of the process but if you grow a lot of your own produce, then it may be worth the investment.
Flushing the toilet is one action that uses a lot of water throughout the day, especially if you have several people living in the same household. Greywater can be used for toilet flushing and this has the potential to save you a considerable amount of money on your water bill.
Weighing up the Benefits
Before having a greywater treatment system installed, it is worth spending some time working out whether you will benefit from it. In terms of saving money, it will only really offer you a saving if you can guarantee that you will produce enough greywater to meet your requirements. If the amount of greywater you collect is not sufficient you will still have to rely on your normal water supply, and this may mean that the savings you make are not as high as you may have hoped.
Nevertheless, there are a number of benefits to using greywater that can not only benefit you, but also the community as a whole. Reusing water not only means that you may be able to make savings on your water bills, it also places less pressure on the public water supply which benefits others living in your community.
These advantages mean that environmental groups are now encouraging builders to include greywater treatment systems into new build properties. This is a more cost-efficient process than installing them into existing properties, although retrofitting is still an option if it is something that you are considering. Installing a greywater system will undoubtedly lower your water consumption but it is important to remember that the cost of installation may outweigh the savings that you can make. However, for those of us who are environmentally minded, this is a very small price to pay.