What Is A Residential Greywater System?

In order to understand the purpose and function of a residential greywater system, it is important to first understand what greywater is and how it differs from other forms of wastewater.

What is greywater?

Greywater is any water that generates from laundry, bathroom or hand basin use. Although this water is considered waste water, the reality is that its level of contamination is fairly benign. This means that, unlike black water, treatment processes are too, benign in comparison.

How does greywater differ from black water?

Black wastewater is water containing waste from toilets and from the kitchen. Although the water generated in the kitchen is technically a greywater, it is classified, and, therefore, treated as black water due to containing high levels of grease, an array of oils and detergents.

Unlike black water, greywater can easily be reused as household irrigation water on your land or property, however, before this is able to occur, it must first be treated to a suitable quality using a Greywater Treatment System.

Residential Greywater System

What is a residential greywater system and how does it work?

Once greywater has been generated, be it from a shower or from someone washing their hands, it is held briefly in a tank before being discharged into a treatment system. Treatment of greywater occurs in three stages:

  1. The removal of unwanted material, such as lint (fine fibers) and hair
  2. The removal of substances that can cause disease, such as unwanted chemicals (salts and nutrients), using either chemical treatments or micro-organism
  3. Disinfection by ultraviolet light

Once this set of processes has occurred, greywater is diverted, either by gravity or through the use of a pump (it depends on the system and its location), to a surge system where it is deemed ‘ready for use.’

Tips for handling greywater:

  1. Do not store greywater for long periods of time: Once greywater hits the surge system and is considered ready for use, it is advised that you do so within 24-hours. Greywater is still safe to use outside of this timeframe, however, nutrients in the water do have the potential to further breakdown, which can encourage a bad odour.
  2. Minimize your contact with greywater: Although greywater undergoes treatment, it could potentially contain pathogens. This is not to imply that treated greywater is unsafe, but it is advised that all persons within a household understand that such water cannot be used for drinking or bathing.

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