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Home » Environment » Grey Water Divertor
Grey Water Divertor
Grey Water SystemsA Simple way to effectively use your Water Resources

Installing a greywater treatment system  give you safer water and more options to reuse it. Water resources (clean water that is) are scarce. With ever increasing demand for water, it becomes imperative that we use it in the best possible way. So here is another idea to save your water. “Grey Water” is the water that you have already used for various tasks in your homes.
According to Sydney Water, “Approximately 61% of the total wastewater produced by an average household can be used as grey water. Kitchen wastewater is not usually included in this amount.” By using greywater for watering gardens and lawns, a household has the potential to save between 50,000 and 100,000 litres of drinking water a year.
WATEEN Solutions is a Cleantech business committed to tackling issues surrounding dwindling water resources. WATEEN  provides a range of affordable and sustainable greywater treatment systems, rainwater harvesting systems, water recycling systems and drinking water purification systems for both commercial and residential use. This not only saves water and saves money; it clearly benefits the environment.

Greywater: What is it?

Greywater comprises wastewater generated from:

•    bathtubs
•    showers
•    bathroom hand basin
•    washing machines/ laundry
•    dishwashers and kitchen sinks
•    any source in your home other than toilets, urinal or bidet usually categorized as Blackwater.
Note: Water from dishwashers and kitchen sinks is often referred to as dark greywater, because it has a higher load of chemicals, fats and other organic matter. Water from toilets is called black water.
                                     What's in Greywater?                                   
Greywater Source Characteristics that make it necessary to

handle greywater properly

Clothes Washer Bacteria, bleach, foam, high pH, hot water, nitrates, oil and                                                       

   grease, salinity, soaps, sodium, and suspended solids

Bathtub and Shower    
  Bacteria, hair, hot water, odor, oil and grease,

        soaps, and suspended solids

Sinks Bacteria, food particles, hot water, odor, oil and grease,

    organic matter, soaps, high pH and sodium (from 

     dishwasher), and suspended solids

        Source: Adapted from Small Flows Quarterly, Winter 2001, Volume 2, Number 1                 

Benefits of using greywater

Reusing greywater provides a number of benefits including:

•    Reducing your potable water consumption
•    Reducing the amount of sewage discharged to the ocean or rivers
•    Reducing your water bills

•    A healthier garden, especially during drought periods.

Disadvantages of using greywater

The disadvantages of greywater reuse may include:

•    The potential for pollution and undesirable health and environmental effects if the greywater is not reused correctly

•    Initial cost of a greywater system and plumbing requirements

Ways to reuse greywater

Using greywater can be as simple as bucketing it out by hand into the garden (cheap but a little labour intensive), or as complex as installing an automatic diversion, treatment and irrigation system (very convenient but more costly to set up).  There are three ways of reusing greywater:

•    Manual bucketing – small quantities of greywater are captured in a bucket for re-use outside on gardens or lawns. No council approval required.
•    Diversion – greywater diversion devices redirect greywater for use outside the home on gardens or lawns using sub-surface irrigation. No council approval required under certain conditions. Needs a plumber to install.
•    Treatment – greywater treatment systems for reuse inside the home (e.g. toilet flushing, washing machine) as well as outside on gardens or lawns. Council approval is required. Needs a plumber to install.

Some greywater systems cost less than $1000, some cost over $10,000, and water quality varies accordingly.
Previously, council approval was required for greywater diversion devices to be installed in homes. The NSW Government has changed the rules, and this is no longer required if certain conditions are met. However, if you want to re-use greywater inside the home, treatment systems are necessary and council approval would be required to do this.
There are two main options: diversion devices and treatment systems. The best option for you will depend on how much greywater you produce, the size of your garden, and your budget
Greywater recycling is not for everyone — for some people the costs (and risks) will outweigh the benefits.

What you can use Greywater for

•    Garden Only
•    Toilets and washing machines only

•    Toilets, Washing machine and Garden

The benefits of grey water recycling 

It's a waste to irrigate with great quantities of drinking water when plants thrive on used water containing small bits of compost. Unlike a lot of ecological stopgap measures, grey water reuse is a part of the fundamental solution to many ecological problems and will probably remain essentially unchanged in the distant future. The benefits of grey water recycling include: 

Lower fresh water extraction /use from rivers and aquuifers

Grey water can replace fresh water in many instances, saving money and increasing the effective water supply in regions where irrigation is needed. Residential water use is almost evenly split between indoor and outdoor. All except toilet water could be recycled outdoors, achieving the same result with significantly less water diverted from nature.

Less strain on septic tank or treatment plant

Grey water use greatly extends the useful life and capacity of septic systems. For municipal treatment systems, decreased wastewater flow means higher treatment effectiveness and lower costs.

Highly effective purification 

Grey water is purified to a spectacularly high degree in the upper, most biologically active region of the soil. This protects the quality of natural surface and ground waters.

Site unsuitable for a septic tank 

For sites with slow soil percolation or other problems, a grey water system can be a partial or complete substitute for a very costly, over-engineered system. 

Less energy and chemical use 

Less energy and chemicals are used due to the reduced amount of both freshwater and wastewater that needs pumping and treatment. For those providing their own water or electricity, the advantage of a reduced burden on the infrastructure is felt directly. Also, treating your wastewater in the soil under your own fruit trees definitely encourages you to dump fewer toxic chemicals down the drain.

Groundwater recharge

Grey water application in excess of plant needs recharges groundwater. 

Plant growth

Grey water enables a landscape to flourish where water may not otherwise be available to support much plant growth.

Reclamation of otherwise wasted nutrients

Loss of nutrients through wastewater disposal in rivers or oceans is a subtle, but highly significant form of erosion. Reclaiming nutrients in grey water helps to maintain the fertility of the land.

Increased awareness of and sensitivity to natural cycles
Grey water use yields the satisfaction of taking responsibility for the wise husbandry of an important resource.

How grey water makes life easy

Grey water can be reused to benefit both man and nature, especially in hot, dry, Australia where water thriftiness is becoming a major trend. Below are two applications of grey water in Australian context, where they could be put into good use.

Irrigation

Greywater can replace drinking water for irrigating gardens or lawns and, if treated appropriately, it can be used in toilets and washing machines.  Greywater can be used in place of fresh water to irrigate (below ground) the roots of trees, shrubs, and flowers. 

Grey water usually breaks down faster than black water due to its lower nitrogen and phosphorus content. However, it must still be assumed that grey water may contain pathogens and microorganisms that may harm humans. Thus grey water when applied in Australia should be applied underground whenever possible to avoid humans coming into contact with potentially dangerous microorganisms. There could be a danger of inhaling the water as an aerosol.
In dry climates where water conservation is enforced and lawn and garden watering is often prohibited or limited, this water becomes a valuable asset to have. In addition to helping the water table through conservation, keeping this additional water out of your existing septic or cesspool system will also save money on maintenance costs.

Indoor reuse

Recycled grey water from showers and bathtubs can be used for flushing toilets, which potentially saves a lot of water because a lot of water is used when flushing the toilet. However,grey water that has not been treated should not be used as flush-water because it will cause the toilet fixture to smell and discolour, especially if left for more than one day.

Health and safety

All forms of household wastewater have the potential to be infectious to human health and pollute the environment. However, when managed properly and carefully using appropriate processes wastewater can be converted into a valuable resource that can be reused. 

The NSW Office of Water has developed a range of information on greywater. It is very important to following our guidelines when installing greywater devices and systems to ensure the health and safety of your household and community is protected. More information can be obtained by visiting www.nsw.gov.au.

Guidelines for greywater reuse in households

The NSW Office of Water has published guidelines for greywater use in households. The Guidelines relate to single, detached households only and do not include premises comprising more than one dwelling. The Guidelines can be downloaded here:
•    NSW Guidelines for Greywater Reuse in Sewered, Single Household Residential Premises (PDF 1 MB)

Why is it important to reduce your water footprint?

People can reduce their water footprint by making better choices and decisions.  By making simple changes in a daily regimen, such as watering the lawn less, using low flow toilets, and not running the water while you brush your teeth, water footprint can be reduced. 

What are ways people can reduce their water footprint?

People can reduce their water footprint by making better choices and decisions.  By making simple changes in a daily regimen, such as watering the lawn less, using low flow toilets, and not running the water while you brush your teeth, water footprint can be reduced.

Factoids:

•    Using a low-flow faucet can save you 3.5 gallons per minute.
•    Using a low-flow toilet can save nearly 5 gallons per flush.
•    Brushing your teeth requires around 2 gallons of water.  Shut off the water while you brush.

    A five minute shower can use 25-50 gallons of water. A low-flow shower head can help reduce water usage by about 40%.

•    Fix your leaky faucet; left alone it can waste up to 100 gallons of water a day.
•    An automatic dishwasher uses approximately 9 to 12 gallons of water while hand washing dishes can use up to 20 gallons.   

Another way to reduce water footprint is by making better decisions regarding the food that you eat and the products that you buy.

Factoids:

It takes about 37 gallons of water to grow the coffee beans and process them to make one cup of coffee.

•    More than 1,300 gallons is required to produce a 12oz steak.
•    About 6,800 gallons of water is required to grow a day's food for a family of four.
•    It takes 52 gals of water to produce one glass of pasteurized milk. The ratio is 1,000:1 so to produce 1 gallon of milk in the fridge takes 1,000 gallons out in the fields

•    It takes more than 10 gallons of water to produce one slice of wheat bread. If you eat the bread with a slice of cheese then you add another 13 gallons.

Risks to consider

•    Using untreated greywater on the garden can be relatively cheap and easy, but can be risky for several reasons:
•    Potential exposure to disease-causing pathogens.
•    Damaging salts and chemicals could kill your plants and ruin the soil.
•    Run-off could escape your boundaries and create problems for neighbours.

                              Some type fogreywater systems available with us are
              
Greywater recycling system                                   
Greywater Accumulator           Domestic Grey Water Diverter

(operates on the principles of

biological membrane filtration )

Return on Investment

An average family of four wastes 3,000 litres of grey water a week down the drain. In 3 to 4 years with the saving on your metered water bill, and a refund on the sewage part of your bill an average family of four can save $ 400 per year. You also use free water to irrigate your garden and saving our precious water resources.

Can a grey water recycling system be installed at my house? 

It can be installed in any property providing the drain pipes are external. On new build houses most drain pipes are internal and inaccessible, however, New build houses can still collect rain water.
WATEEN Solutions design, manufacture and refine the technology of treatment plants. Our range is designed for a wide range of applications, from a single domestic house to housing developments and then on to cater for all sizes of business and leisure facilities.
WATEEN listen carefully to the needs of our customers and clients before proposing a solution. WATEEN treat our customers and clients with dignity, honesty, trust and respect.

Plant Choices for Greywater

Some times of the year, your plants may need more water than can be supplied by greywater irrigation. At other times of the year, your home may generate more greywater than your plants can use.
Some chemicals in, and characteristics of, greywater can be harmful to plants. For example, some studies have shown that greywater from kitchens that have dishwashers can be quite damaging to plants because of the very high pH (i.e. pH of 10). Few, if any, plants will survive very high pH.
For more detailed information, see the Recommended Standards and Guidance . . . for Water Conserving On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems.

 Plants that are not suitable for irrigation with greywater                   
     Azaleas               Ferns              Magnolias
     Begonias             Foxgloves        Oxalis (Wood Sorrel)
     Bleeding Hearts    Gardenias         Primroses
     Crape Myrtle         Holly              Redwoods
      Deodar Celular      Hydrangeas      Rhododendrons
     Dogwood             Impatiens         Violets


            Plants that might tolerate greywater irrigation
              (except greywater from kitchens with dishwashers)
      Bearded Iris                       Junipers                   Rosemary
      Burning Bush                      Oaks                       Roses
      Cottonwood                         Pine, Austrian          Russian Olive
     (Many Native) Desert Plants    Pine, Italian Stone    Sage, Big Basin
     Fringed Sage                         Pine, Mugo             Sedum
      Honeysuckle                         Rabbit Brush            Sumac (staghorn)
       

Useful links for grey water issues

•    NSW Department of Health:http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/PublicHealth/environment/ water/accreditations/diversion_devices.asp
•    http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/public-health/ehb/general/wastewater/wastewater.html 
•    NSW Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability - http://www.dwe.nsw.gov.au/water_urban/recycling_grey.shtml
•    Savewater.com.au http://www.savewater.com.au/how-to-save-water/in-the-home/grey-water