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Greywater Articles and Resources

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Greywater is a constant. It may not rain, but you will always be generating some waste water. This traditional "waste water" should not be wasted. Toilet and kitchen sink water, or any other source that may have high contaminants are considered black water. All other sources are greywater or graywater and a source of water that should not be wasted.

Below are a set of articles on this precious water source. At the bottom are links to some good greywater resources and links to important greywater websites.

Codes are the Last Obstacle to Wider Use of Graywater in Homes - Today, the technology and know-how exists to take graywater from washing machines and showers—as well as rainwater collected from roofs—and use that water to flush toilets and irrigate landscapes. That same water can be brought back into the house, treated, and used yet again. It makes a lot of sense and saves a lot of water, so why isn't it happening, or even mandated, everywhere?

What Water is Right For What Use? - Water, water everywhere but what is right for me? With water we do have lots of choice and not all are created equal. You are probably wondering what I am talking about. What choices, what water?Of course there is city water that most of us utilize abundantly. But we also have rainwater, greywater, and blackwater. All of these are potential sources of water that could be used to drive our net water use to zero or better; help us to become a net producer of water.

It's Official: Eating Food Watered by (Treated) Greywater is Fine - In dry or arid areas, from Israel to California, water use can be tightly regulated, especially for gardens. But there's another source of water that's going unused, and a new study suggests we should take a closer look at it. Water conservation types like to talk about the three basic types of water for use in agriculture: blue, green, and grey. Blue water is clean, withdrawn from reservoirs, groundwater, and rivers. Green water is rain. And grey water is used, or dirty water, but not so used that it has no possible reuses. So that disqualifies toilet water, which has to be treated more intensely (sewage is known as “black water”), but the leftovers from your sink or bathtub has a lot of possibilities. >> more

Everything You Need to Know about Ultraviolet Water Purification - A number of factors combine to make ultraviolet radiation a superior means of water purification for rainwater harvesting systems. Ultraviolet radiation is capable of destroying [UV does not actually destroy, but inactivate bacteria, see note] all types of bacteria. Additionally, ultraviolet radiation disinfects rapidly without the use of heat or chemical additives which may undesirably alter the composition of water.

Epidemiological study for the assessment of health risks associated with graywater reuse for irrigation in arid regions ($14.95 for paper) Graywater reuse is rapidly gaining popularity as a viable source of reclaimed water, mainly for garden irrigation and toilet flushing. The purpose of this study was to determine, by epidemiological survey, the risk for gastroenteritis symptoms associated with graywater reuse. The study comprised a weekly health questionnaire answered by both graywater users and non-graywater users (control group) regarding their health status over a period of 1 year, and periodic sampling for graywater quality.

Greywater Gone Wild - Typically, greywater systems are simple and built on site with no controls and little filtration. In new homes, a greywater system is an easy, inexpensive add-on. In existing homes, however, it can range from simple to impossible. Despite the fact that reusing greywater is an old technology that has been tried and true for decades, many states impose tight controls. In New Mexico and Arizona, you may recycle greywater on a landscape without a permit if you produce less than 250 gallons per day and install the system using published best practices.

Once is Never Enough, Use it Twice - There are numerous ways to make your water go further these days. One easy but often overlooked method to cut your water bill is to use your water twice. Unlike electricity, water can be reused over and over again. Installing a greywater system is one way to stretch your gallons. These simple systems take the water you use in your bathroom faucets and laundry and send it to your yard. The water is used in both your house and yard, but you are only billed for it once!

The New Create an Oasis with Greywater: Choosing, Building and Using Greywater Systems - Includes Branched Drains by Art Ludwig

One of the best books on greywater systems. Create an Oasis with Greywater describes how to choose, build, and use twenty different types of greywater systems. It thoroughly covers all greywater basics, and will benefit everyone who is using or contemplating the use of greywater. This 5th edition of the world’s best-selling greywater book includes 50 pages of new text, photos, and figures, as well as the entire text on Branched Drain Greywater Systems.

Once is Never Enough, Use it Twice - There are numerous ways to make your water go further these days. One easy but often overlooked method to cut your water bill is to use your water twice. Unlike electricity, water can be reused over and over again. Installing a greywater system is one way to stretch your gallons. These simple systems take the water you use in your bathroom faucets and laundry and send it to your yard. The water is used in both your house and yard, but you are only billed for it once!

Greywater Codes - Different plumbing codes specify different requirements for greywater systems. The two different codes used in the United States are the International Residential Code (IRC) and the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC). Greywater is new to both of these codes.

Additionally, states and local jurisdictions may have different requirements. Check on the Regulations page for any codes that I am aware of. If you find others, please email them to me.

Below are some great sites that cover greywater exclusively and some links to great greywater guides and books

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