Greywater is defined as water that has been used but doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals or excrement (also known as blackwater). This water can be reused, yet millions of litres go down the drain on a daily basis. One way to reduce this water waste is to consider installing a greywater system in your home. It is a system that diverts used water to other parts of the home that may need it, as opposed to flushing it into the sewer where it will be wasted. Not only is this good for the environment, but it’ll also save you good amounts of money on your water bill in the long run.
Where can greywater be used?
Greywater can be used to water the garden and flushing the toilet. Added to this, if the water is treated properly, it can also be also be used to fill up swimming pools, for laundry and for toilet flushing. However, greywater systems that have the ability to treat water are usually expensive and most greywater systems available for home use aren’t able to achieve this.
Is greywater use legal in South Africa?
In South Africa, the use of greywater is legal, but it’s important that one executes their greywater system properly to prevent any potential issues. This is because improper greywater use can sometimes lead to blocked sewers, which is why experts recommend that you don’t use all your greywater but divert some to the sewer.
What options are available for greywater systems for the home?
You can opt for a greywater system that is professionally installed. These usually cost approximately R50 000 to R100 000, and this depends on the sophistication of the greywater system. Alternatively, if getting a professional to install a greywater system in your home is out of reach, you can install one yourself using a greywater kit, which is much more cost-effective, retailing around R500 and upwards.
Top tips to note before installing a greywater system
A common pitfall people face when installing their own greywater systems is preventing drain pipes from getting clogged with hair, food particles, and other substances. An important feature that can mitigate this is a surge tank and a filter. The surge tank helps the water slow down and the filter will prevent any drains or pipes from getting clogged.
You should note that greywater must never be stored beyond 24 hours. Kitchen and dishwasher water cannot be reused as greywater, and neither can any excrement or chemical-filled water. It’s recommended that you use biodegradable products that are environmentally friendly if you’re looking to install a greywater system.
It’s also important to consider how your greywater system will function in winter, particularly if you live in a cold area. You should make sure your pipes are installed below the frost line.
Have a look at the following greywater systems you can install in your home:
1. Simple Permaculture-Based Greywater Treatment System
This greywater system is suited for off-grid homes or those located in rural areas. It is can be used to grow vegetables, tend to worm farms, and more.
2. Gravity-fed Greywater System
This greywater system uses the power of gravity to move water from the bathroom to the garden for irrigation. It requires no digging and is fairly easy to make.
3. DIY Recycling Septic Saver
This DIY recycling septic saver not only reuses greywater from the bath, shower and washing machine, but it also saves water from the septic tank, which saves a lot of water and can increase the durability of your septic tank.
4. DIY Greywater System Using Kiddie Pool
This backyard greywater system uses a kiddie pool, sand, layers of stone, charcoal, and a bucket to collect greywater. It’s much simpler than dealing with your home’s piping. It’s also inexpensive and a bonus is that you can add plants around it to assist with filtration.
If you’re considering installing a greywater system for your home, the above tips and tricks should help you get started. Not only will it have a positive effect on the environment, but your greywater system will save you thousands of Rands in the long run.