Using gray water for landscape irrigation, foundation watering, and keeping trees healthy during times of drought is a great way to conserve water. Gray water – the wastewater from bathtubs, showers, bathroom sinks, clothes washers, and laundry tubs – is typically directed to the public sewer system with other household wastewater. With a gray water system, the gray water is directed to a separate private, on-site system that allows the water to be reused on the property.
Using gray water can be as simple as diverting the wastewater from your clothes washer directly to your landscape or through a more complex system with a tank. Determining the method that’s right for you depends on a number of factors, including:
Your demand. Consider if your existing outdoor water needs can be met with gray water.
Your supply. The simplest way to collect gray water is from the clothes washer, but depending on the plumbing layout and foundation type of your house, gray water can easily be collected from other sources as well.
How much time and money you want to spend. Simple systems typically cost less, require less maintenance, and use less energy, but don’t provide as much water as systems collecting from multiple sources. Again, consider your demand and choose what best fits your household.
Below is a summary of methods of collecting and using gray water.
Laundry-to-Landscape Systems. Gravity-flow systems that divert no more than 60 gallons per day of clothes washer wastewater directly to a sub-surface irrigation system.
Gravity-Flow Systems. Gravity-flow systems that divert gray water from any combination of sources to a tank before the water is distributed through sub-surface irrigation.
Pump-Assisted Systems. Pressurized systems that divert any amount of gray water from any combination of sources to a tank before the water is distributed through sub-surface irrigation.