Every day thousands of gallons of water go down homeowner’s pipes into the sewer system. It takes 1.5-2 gallons of water just to flush a toilet. Did you ever wonder if water could be re-purposed to your garden or yard?
Gray water is a term used to describe lightly soiled water (such as bath water) that can be used in other areas of your home. Here is how to use gray water in your home that will conserve water and help nourish your lawn and garden.
1. Manual Bucketing
This is the most low-tech (and cheapest) way to reclaim your gray water. Manual bucketing is exactly what it sounds like; you simply drain your gray water into containers, and then use that water to nourish your lawn, garden, and potted plants. Many people just scoop up their bath or sink water and take it straight to their potted plants or garden.
Use small amounts of gray water and your plants will thrive, and be careful not to use too much in one place. Gray water does contain some impurities which can be harmful to plants in large amounts.
2. Diversion system
This a permanent solution that lets gravity do all the work for you. Diversion takes the principles of manual bucketing and allows your plumbing to transport the water. The diversion system directly places gray water from your bathtub and sinks to your yard and garden.
The diversion system is advantageous because it requires a lot less manual labor, and is almost a completely hands-free way to reuse your gray water. It does need a subsurface irrigation system so that the gray water can be evenly distributed to your lawn, garden, and plants. This way you avoid an increased amount of runoff, which can lead to building damage, bad smells, insects, and even pollution.
3. Residential treatment and purification systems
Treatment takes the diversion method one step further by filtering gray water through a purification system that cleans the water. Although potentially the most expensive method for recycling gray water, treatment can possibly make gray water safe for storage or to be used to flush toilets inside the home. Basic treatment systems use a physical filter to purify gray water, but more advanced models remove pollutants with chemicals.
A variety of chemicals are applied to the gray water which breaks down contaminants, allowing the gray water to be distributed to plants. The main problem with this form of gray water treatment is that it has very high start-up costs.
4. Pump Systems
Many people opt to use a pump system if their yard slopes uphill, or if their plants are far away from the source. A pump system will contain a large plastic drum which stores gray water. That water is then pushed by a pump through an irrigation system directly to plants. Most people avoid this option as pumps can break, use electricity, and offer the lowest amount of savings.
Water conservation and efficient use
There are a variety of systems that can effectively reuse gray water. No matter which method you choose, repurposing gray water is a great way to conserve water, the environment, and money. The more everyone chips in, the more we can guarantee a safer and healthier planet for future generations.