Grey Water Reclaiming

Grey water is any wash water that has been used in the home, except water from toilets and the kitchen, is called grey water. Shower, sink, and laundry water comprise of 50-80% of residential "waste" water. This may be reused for other purposes, especially landscape irrigation.

Why Use Grey Water?

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 use
  • Less strain on failing septic tank or treatment plant
  • Better treatment (topsoil is many times more effective than subsoil or treatment plant)
  • Less energy and chemical use
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Plant growth
  • Reclamation of otherwise wasted nutrients
  • Increased awareness of and sensitivity to natural cycles
Why Does Grey Water Matter?

Viewed narrowly, grey water systems don’t look that important. A low flow showerhead can save water with less effort. A septic system can treat grey water almost as well.

But when you look at the whole picture—how everything connects—the keystone importance of grey water is revealed.

  • Ecological systems design is about context, and integration between systems. The entirety of integrated, ecological design can be reduced to one sentence: do what's appropriate for the context.
  • Ecological systems—rainwater harvesting, runoff management, passive solar, composting toilets, edible landscaping—all of these are more context sensitive than their counterparts in conventional practice; that's most of what makes them more ecological.
  • Grey water systems are more context sensitive than any other manmade ecological system, and more connected to more other systems.
  • Get the grey water just right, and you’ve got the whole package right—and that matters.