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Greywater Collection Systems Conserve Water and Save Money

Installing a greywater collection system can help an individual conserve water while also reducing his monthly water bills – helping him save money. 

Water conservation is steadily becoming one of the most important issues in environmentalism. As humans deplete reservoirs for drinking water, water for gardening and other household water needs, local ecosystems suffer.

By reusing non-contaminated water, also known as “greywater,” consumers can reduce their overall water consumption and help preserve the environment.

Greywater Collection Systems Conserve Water and Save Money
Greywater treatment system By SuSanA Secretariat [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

How Greywater Collection Systems Work

Grey water collection systems collect excess household water before its swept away into a septic tank or sewer. The homeowner is then free to recycle the water however he sees fit. Greywater collection systems range from pricey machinery designed to collect, filter and purify slightly-used water to simple homemade collection systems.

Some sophisticated grey water collection systems do double duty as a greywater recycling system. For example, the machine may collect the excess water used when rinsing laundry and channel the rinse water back into the washing machine for the following load’s wash cycle. Depending on the size of the washing machine, this process conserves up to 20 gallons of water per load.

By contrast, a simple homemade greywater collection system could consist of a bucket placed in the shower to collect excess water or a container placed beneath the sink that an individual can drain rinse water into after disconnecting the sink’s drain pipe. The consumer may then reuse the rinse water to wash his garage, wash his car or water his plants.

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Using the Water From a Grey Water Collection System

Most individuals opt to reuse greywater to water plants, but it can also be placed into the toilet bowl in lieu of fresh water. Because the toilet tank monitors the amount of water present in the bowl after flushing, the amount of fresh water released into the tank will be decidedly less if an individual fills the tank with greywater after flushing.

If greywater is collected during showers, this process can be as simple as lifting a bucket out of the shower and pouring the excess water into the toilet bowl after flushing. Consumers should take care never to pour greywater into the toilet tank.

Before reusing greywater in any fashion, consumers should check with their municipality to ensure that greywater recycling is allowed and, if necessary, obtain a permit to do so. Some states and municipalities require residents to abide by certain rules when using greywater to water their plants. Therefore, this concern should be addressed prior to purchasing or building a greywater recycling system or collection system.

Only Recycle Greywater, Never Blackwater

When using a homemade greywater collection system, consumers should take care never to inadvertently collect and reuse “blackwater.” Blackwater is any water that has been significantly contaminated by bacteria. This includes any water that contains fecal bacteria such as water from the toilet bowl. Water from the kitchen sink is also considered blackwater if it contains bacteria, such as salmonella, from raw meat.

Although some individuals consider water that contains strong cleaning chemicals to be Blackwater, others do not. As a rule of thumb, however, its never a good idea for an individual to conserve chemical-laden water – especially if he plans to use his collected greywater to water his garden at the end of the day.

When executed properly, reusing greywater through a greywater collection or recycling system can contribute to water conservation, reduce an individual’s carbon footprint and save money on water bills.


  • Greywateraction.org: About Greywater Reuse: https://greywateraction.org/greywater-reuse/

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