Water Conservation Using Greywater - Clallam County, Washington
Water Conservation Using Greywater Wastewater Management Program FACT SHEET May 2005Why conserve water? Conserving What is greywater? Greywater is waste- our water resources is important in times of nor- water from bathtubs, showers, bathroom sinks, wash- mal rainfall, but even more so during periods of ing machines, dishwashers and kitchen sinks: any extended drought. Our ground water and surface source in your home other than toilets. water supplies can be emptied faster than they It is important to understand that greywater can be refilled with rain and snowmelt. By using can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and water wisely now, you help to ensure that there chemicals that pose a risk to public health will be enough water for everyone in the future. and the environment if mishandled. If handled carefully, greywater can be used in place of fresh water in subsurface irrigation systems. However, using less water in the first place is cheaper, easier, and safer than installing a greywater system for irrigating your land- scape, and…it’s something everyone can do! What’s in Greywater? Greywater Source Characteristics* Clothes Washer.…....... Bacteria, bleach, foam, high pH, hot water, nitrates, oil and grease, salinity, soaps, sodium and suspended solids Bathtub and Shower…. Bacteria, hair, hot water, odor, oil and grease, soaps, and suspended solids Sinks…………………. Bacteria, food particles, hot water, odor, oil and grease, organic matter, soaps, high pH and sodium (from dishwasher), and suspended solids * These characteristics make it necessary to handle greywater carefully.Source: Adapted from Small Flows Quarterly, Winter 2001, Volume 2, Number 1Did You Know………..? • Greywater makes up the largest portion Subsurface irrigation with greywater offers a way to of wastewater from your home…up to 40 conserve water. However, greywater may not meet all gallons per person each day. of your landscape irrigation needs all year round. • Greywater systems must irrigate below • Some times of the year, your plants may need more the ground surface by using a drainfield water than can be supplied by greywater irrigation or a suitable drip irrigation system to …..other times of the year, your home may generate reduce health risks. more greywater than your plants can use. • Greywater systems are usually cheaper • Some chemicals in greywater can be harmful to plants. and easier to install during construction (For information about suitable plants for greywater, of a new home. Re-plumbing an existing please see Greywater Plant Choices at: building can be expensive and may be http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/ts/ww/greywater/ impractical. greywater-5.htm#plantchoices.
Greywater Fact SheetHow can using greywater What else can I do to conservefor irrigation help me water?conserve water? • Install low-flow water fixtures and water • Greywater collected from sinks, tubs, efficient appliances. showers, and clothes washing can be • Repair leaky plumbing fixtures. used in place of fresh water to irrigate trees, shrubs, and flowers. • Take shorter showers. • Sub-surface irrigation can place this • Choose landscaping that does not require water source where your landscape large amounts of water. plants need it…at the root zone. • Water landscapes before 10 AM or after 7 PM.How do I safelyinstall and use a For your safety and thegreywater irrigationsystem? safety of others…... Where can I1 Contact your county health agency for: • Wastewater Treatment DO NOT drink greywater or apply it on anything that may be find more information? eaten, including root crops like System permits (grey- • Water Conservation water is wastewater), potatoes or carrots. information is available • Design requirements, at the Washington State • A list of qualified DO NOT water lawns with Department of Health, Designers and Installers. greywater using a sprinkler, or Office of Drinking Water use greywater to wash patios, “Drought” website at: walkways or driveways.2 Develop a design that matches your specific needs and options for greywater use. http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/ dw/drought/droughthome.htm • For information about onsite wastewater treatment The design of the system will depend on: systems (septic systems), please visit the Washington • The source and characteristics of the State Department of Health, Wastewater Management greywater, Section web page at: • The physical characteristics of the http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/ts/waste.htm site, • Local code requirements, • The National Small Flows Clearinghouse provides • How, when, and where the greywater information on small community and individual will be used. on-site sewage systems at: http://www.nsfc.wvu.edu3 Apply greywater safely by: • Irrigating with greywater below the surface of the ground, Washington State Department of Health Office of Environmental Health and Safety • Irrigating ornamental landscapes Wastewater Management Program such as shrubs, trees, and flowers, Telephone: (360) 236-3062 • Regularly checking your greywater E-mail: WastewaterMgmt@doh.wa.gov system to be sure it is functioning DOH Pub 333-058 05/2005 properly.