Use a Rain Barrel for Easy Greywater Diversion Systems

picture-9So I know…watering your trees and plants with greywater is against many municipality regulations, but we were happy to just have a customer write to us with their use for one of our rainbarrels as a greywater container for their diversion system. They divert greywater from their washing machine to their trees and ornamental plants. This customer reported saving 10 to 50 gallons a week of water for her yard. That’s better for the soil, plants, and local sewage treatment system…and tax payers! Did you know that a typical U.S. household uses 363 gallons of water per day… so we are thrilled to hear this water footprint reduction use.

The simplest greywater system is to simply divert the water directly to the garden. Regulations change by country and region, but common guidelines for safe usage include not storing the greywater for more than 24 hours, ensuring it cannot pool or run off, and depositing it with subsurface irrigation. Greywater diversion systems can be both designed-in to new homes, or retrofitted to many existing homes.

The benefits of grey water recycling include:

  • Lower fresh water use
  • Less strain on failing septic tank or treatment plant
  • Grey water treatment in topsoil is highly effective
  • Ability to build in areas unsuitable for conventional treatment
  • Less energy and chemical use
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Plant growth
  • Reclamation of otherwise wasted nutrients

Soapy Tips:
And remember, avoid using detergents with boron, sodium and chlorine. Eco-Soaps are actually good for the soil structure and make it more permeable allowing deeper rooting plants.

Learn more with these greywater links:

  • Oasis Design – All about all aspects of grey water systems. Why to use them, how to choose, build and use them, regulations, studies, and examples. Includes grey water irrigation, grey water treatment, grey water filters, and indoor grey water reuse.
  • Greywater Guerrillas
  • Rainbarrels you can use

Pining for the Tropics:
Oh and…remember if you live up north, your rain barrel parts could freeze (just like hoses) in winter so that is something to consider when designing your greywater system. Southern climates…well lucky you!

4 responses to “Use a Rain Barrel for Easy Greywater Diversion Systems

  1. Pingback: A Home Kitchen Garden Rain Barrel | Your Home Kitchen Garden

  2. Gray water is a great resource. I am a Penn State engineering student and for a class project me and some classmates constructed a gray water garden by connecting a hose to a kitchen sink that redirects used water to a garden. Here is our design and some more info about it:

  3. peoplepoweredmachines

    Good luck with your studies! Great to know there are students excited about this!

  4. Pingback: It takes 35 gallons to make a cup of coffee, 100 to make a t-shirt… « People Powered Machines

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