Saturday, July 26, 2008


I recently heard a presentation at the Environment Nature Center given by the Greywater Guerillas about using greywater to irrigate your garden with. So what is greywater?

note: this information was taken from the Greywater Guirillas website.

Greywater is water that flows down sink, shower, and washing machine drains--but not the toilet. Reusing your graywater keeps it out of the sewer or septic system, thereby reducing the chance that it will pollute local water bodies.

The easiest way to use greywater is to pipe it directly outside and use it to water ornamental plants or fruit trees. This avoids the potential risk of transmitting disease-causing microorganisms. Greywater can be used directly on vegetables as long as it doesn't touch edible parts of the plants. In any direct greywater system, it is essential to put nothing toxic down the drain--no bleach, no dye, no bath salts, no cleanser, no shampoo with unpronounceable ingredients, and no products containing boron, which is toxic to plants. It is crucial to use all natural, biodegradable soaps whose ingredients do not harm plants.

Types of greywater systems...
  • Laundry Drum
  • Drumless Laundry
  • Branched Drain
  • Constructed Wetland

Greywater guidelines (some cities may have requirements which you should be aware of)

  • Don’t store greywater (more than 24 hours).
  • Minimize contact with greywater.
  • Infiltrate greywater into the ground, don’t allow it to pool up or run off (knowing the soil percolation rate of your soil and designing mulch basins will help with this).
  • Keep your system as simple as possible, avoid pumps, avoid filters that need upkeep.
  • Match your plants irrigation needs with the amount of greywater they’ll receive.

If the leaves of your plants which are usually green are turning yellow then you are over waterting but on the flip side if the leaves are turning brown then you are not watering enough. Remember that each plant has different watering needs which you should be aware of prior to irrigating.

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