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Australia is experiencing increasing pressure on its finite water resources. This pressure, combined with increasing community interest in water conservation, has prompted many inquiries to the State EPA authorities and local councils about reusing household wastewater.

Many large water authorities have started to implement waste water recycling schemes which will see Class A quality recycled water distributed under mains pressure to new residential and commercial areas. This water supply is easily identifiable as all plumbing must be installed using the purple/lilac colour.

Click here for illustration of Urban Plumbing Possibilities

At a domestic scale many householders currently reuse their greywater for garden watering. You need to check with your local authority if you are permitted to do so in your garden.

What is Greywater?
Water that is discharged from household appliances and water using fixtures such as:

  • showers/baths

  • washing machines & dishwashers

  • kitchen & laundry sinks

It excludes water discharged from toilets, bidets and urinals (black water) .

What are the risks in using Greywater?
Greywater contains large numbers of bacteria that may include disease causing organisms. It also contains a number of pollutants including organic matter, nutrients, salts and detergents. Long term watering with greywater can effect sensitive garden plants and soil.

Am I allowed to reuse Greywater?
You may divert untreated greywater for immediate reuse, as long as there are no adverse impacts on public health or the environment, caused by greywater run-off to stormwater. (Check with your local Council)

  • Use a licensed plumber to install the diversion system

  • Water diversion systems are best restricted to low risk sources such as bath, shower and laundry rinse water

  • Kitchen water should not be used as it is heavily contaminated with fats, greases and solids

  • Laundry wash water is also high in detergent concentrations

  • Be aware of biodegradable labeled products

  • Only divert in hot dry conditions, in quantities that can be taken up by plants & soil

  • Ensure there is no cross connection of greywater with the drinking water supply

  • It is illegal to store greywater for later use in a tank (24 hr maximum storage)

  • Do not discharge greywater near agi pipes as the greywater will flow into the stormwater system

  • Place signage around the areas you discharge greywater - so people are aware.


More information

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 18:06
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