Planning for a greywater system


You can have a greywater system for your family’s use or one built as per the number of rooms that the house has. Start by determining the average amount of greywater that is generated at home. The water could be generated from laundry dishwashing, bathing, and other miscellaneous uses. On an average the sink drowns about two to five gallons per day, the shower heads about five to seven gallons, the dishwasher about four to five gallons with the washing machine taking up to thirty gallons per day.

Consider disposing of the effluent

Give the final consideration on the way to dispose the effluent into the soil and ensure that the soil can accept the amount of water that will be generated from your activities, treated and discharged. You may ask your local sanitation engineer to test the ground to determine if it would percolate the water.


In the overall site plan look at the topography, slope, soil conditions and the ledge. You should look at the levels of the groundwater and the buildings around the compound. You should also check if the vegetation in the compound can withstand the grey water that you shall introduce. You should not use the greywater near the wetlands or water catchment areas.

 It is important to check the plumbing code in your area and any state regulations that limit the use of greywater. The reuse regulations will lead you to safe ways of effluent discharge and other land application regulations that should be followed. In some states, you are required to have a permit from the local health boards before using the greywater. Some state environmental regulations also limit the use of greywater and require a detailed investigation before allowing the use of greywater.


Designing the treatment system

 The greywater may be used on the soil as it is and the soil microorganisms can work on the elements in the water safely. However, if the amount of water is so high, you may need a leach-field or the cesspool to treat the water so that it can be stored for longer before being released to the soil. The septic tanks should only be used for the blackwater.

The Open Permaculture School and Regenerative Leadership Institute  teaches a number of ways of conserving water and reusing the greywater. They have over the years contributed to a better environment. You can apply at any time for their water conservation courses and enlighten yourself on the best ways to manage your water resource. For more information visit Regenerative Leadership Institute page.

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