Residential Grey Water Systems for Home Use

Greywater systems specifically designed for reusing greywater in landscape irrigation.


Which Residential Greywater System is Right for My Home?


Residential Greywater Systems are available in a few different configurations with varying price levels. The most effective reuse of greywater on a residential level is for use in the landscape to water plants and trees.

Indoor greywater reuse is not advised as treated greywater can put excessive wear on indoor fixtures such as toilets. (see greywater study from Kohler) Additionally indoor greywater reuse systems can be subject to rigorous governmental regulation, permitting and the initial cost is often cost prohibitive for the homeowner.



ShowerSpring Gravity Fed Greywater Irrigation System

The ShowerSpring greywater irrigation system captures water from the shower, filters and sends it outside to the landscape. The plants and trees to be watered must be at least 3" lower than the exit pipe on the ShowerSpring collection device. The Showerspring requires no plumbing modifications and can be installed in an afternoon. The system is available for $389.99 and includes all the piping and valves required for the irrigation system. In most states which allow for greywater reuse a permit is not required for a homeowner to install a ShowerSpring system due to the absence of a pump.

 

Flotender Greywater Irrigation System (pumped)

For landscapes with varying elevation or which are more complicated in design or extensive in size, the Flotender Greywater Irrigation System can be a perfect solution. Flotender is available in a variety of different pumping and surge capacity configurations and can be plumbed to capture water from the shower, bathroom sink and washing machine. The greywater is filtered by Flotender's multi-stage greywater filter and prepared for use in drip irrigation.  

     

     

    greywater irrigation
    The Flotender GS Series Greywater Filter

    Further Research:

    When deciding what type of greywater recycling system to use for your home, the following four topics must be addressed:

    • What exactly is Greywater (also spelled graywater)?
    • What are the advantages of using a greywater system?
    • What will you use it for and how?
    • Can my system adequately filter the greywater for my application? (Drip Irrigation)

     

    What is Greywater?
    Greywater is simply household wastewater that does not contain serious contaminants and can be safely diverted from its intended path of the sewer line and reused in your landscape.

    Residential greywater usually comes from the following three sources: 1) Laundry 2) Sink 3) Shower. Alternatively, blackwater is household wastewater that contains serious contaminants, and should never be diverted from the sewer line. It usually comes from these three sources: 1) toilets 2) Dishwasher 3) Sinks with food waste disposers.

     

    residential grey water system

    Above: Flotender Residential Greywater System. Click image to learn more.


    Advantages of Reusing Greywater
    There are two main advantages of implementing a residential greywater system in your home. The first is peace of mind. Peace of mind knowing that you are lessening your footprint on this planet by using less water, and reducing the amount of water being municipally treated. In an ideal world, all greywater would be either used again as in irrigation of plantings, or it would be sent to a separate treatment facility separate from blackwater. There is no need to treat greywater the same as blackwater. The average U. S. household uses 35% of their water use to landscape irrigation. With an effective residential greywater system, one could reduce their water use greatly, and in turn save hundreds of dollars every year.

     

    Reusing Greywater in Drip Irrigation
    It has long been proven that the most efficient method of distributing water in the landscape is by the way of Drip irrigation. Drip irrigation is essentially the slow release of water (or “dripping water”) directly at the root zone of a plant. With the use of drip irrigation, the amount of water used is greatly reduced due to the direct placement of the emitter at the plant, the reduction of surface evaporation, and the elimination of overspray from wind and poorly placed or adjusted irrigation heads.

    “One of the most efficient watering systems is drip or trickle irrigation. It takes effort to set up initially, but in the long run it saves time and reduces water use. It can be designed to accommodate any garden size or style and can also be used for container plants. Water is delivered directly where needed through emitters at the end of water tubes. Little water is lost to evaporation or wasted on areas between plants.”
    -American Horticultural Society July/August 2000

    http://www.ahs.org/publications/the_american_gardener/0007/smartgarden.htm

    Since most all-residential greywater systems will be used to irrigate the plants in your landscape, you will need to avoid putting anything down the drain that may harm plants, animals, groundwater tables, and adjacent waterways. Avoid using soaps and detergents that contain bleach, boron, phosphates and sodium salts. Mature plantings will accept and thrive with practically any amount of soap in the water, but new plantings and food crops should be avoided. Most households will need to change very little in their daily routine to ensure that they are producing safe greywater for their residential greywater system. In the ideal world one would never use any product that contains these harmful chemicals. However, if you have dedicated drains in your home for the greywater and blackwater, than you can choose which drains will be used for certain chemicals. For a list of safe cleansers to use for your greywater system check out the United States Environmental Protection Agency web site http://www.epa.gov/dfeprojects/formulat/formpartc.htm#consumerclean

    For environmentally safe soaps and cleansers check out:
    http://www.seventhgeneration.com/
    http://www.drbronner.com/
    http://www.mrsmeyers.com/
    http://www.vaskahome.com/

    One option would be to simply tie your greywater system into two showers and your washing machine. Use environmentally safe soaps, cleansers and laundry detergent for these areas only. The average washing machine uses 25 gallons of water per load. The average ten-minute shower also uses 25 gallons of water. An average two person household takes ten showers and does two loads of laundry per week, totaling 300 gallons of water each week, or 15,600 gallons per year. 300 gallons of water each week, every week of the year, would allow you to drip irrigate 100 plants for 60 minutes, two times a week. It has long been known that plants do much better with long, infrequent watering as opposed to short, frequent watering. Watering thoroughly mainly encourages deep root growth, which will create a healthy plant that will become more drought-tolerant, requiring less water during its life span.

    It is important to have a residential greywater system that is virtually maintenance free with the exception of cleaning the filter periodically. A completely automated system is a great choice as well. With the Flotender Greywater System, greywater flows from the source down to a surge tank. As soon as the water reaches a determined level in the tank, the pressure pump is activated and sends the filtered greywater out to the drip emitters in the landscape. When the water level drops in the tank, the pump automatically turns itself off, until additional water is introduced into the system. Any extra greywater entering the tank would be sent to an overflow port where it would be directed out to the sewer line.

    Choose a System Designed for Your Specific Application
    If the end use of the proposed greywater system is to irrigate the landscape via drip irrigation be sure to invest in a system that is designed specifically for that purpose. Many greywater filtration systems available (especially those priced at less than $1,000) do not designed to capture 100% of the debris produced by greywater fixtures. This will lead to the drip irrigation clogging very quickly due to debris buildup within the drip emitters and tubing. The Flotender Greywater System has been precisely engineered to provide the very specific filtration required for drip irrigation even with heavy debris producing greywater fixtures are being used. (eg. washing machine)