Greywater For Your Lawn and Garden

What is greywater?

Greywater is water sourced from household sinks, showers, bath tubs, and washing machines considered to be ‘gently’ used. This is contrasted to black water sourced from sewage lines. Greywater, though it contains traces of dirt, food, grease, hair, and cleaning products is still safe to reuse for limited purposes.

What does a greywater system do?

Residential greywater systems divert gently used water into a holding tank to be reused. The most effective use for this water is for landscape irrigation. Reuse of greywater indoors is not generally advised based on negative effects on toilet systems.

Greywater system, Image credit:

There is a wide variety of systems designed to utilize greywater ranging from home built collection and redistribution systems to commercially produced systems that utilize powered pumps to deliver greywater to uphill landscaping.

Some examples of these systems include:

  • Laundry Drum System: One of the cheapest and easiest systems to install, it utilizes a large surge tank where water from a residential washing machine is diverted to. At the bottom of the tank is an attachment for a water hose to be attached for lawn irrigation.

Laundry drum system, Image credit: Root Simple
  • Laundry-to-Landscape: This system by ecological designer Art Ludwig, doesn’t require alteration of any plumbing. It connects wash water to a diverter valve that either sends the water to sewage or diverts it to a tubing system that leads to specific plants.

Laundry-to-Landscape, by Art Ludwig, Image credit: CleanWaterComponents
  •  Pumped System: For landscape uphill from the house a pumped system is necessary. Much like other systems the used water is diverted through filters into a storage tank where an effluent pump pushes the water through irrigation lines. The drawback to this system is the use of electricity and eventual need for replacement.   

Typical greywater diversion system, Image credit:

Aqua2Use Greywater Diversion Device

Here's a video that explains how a typical greywater diversion system works: 

What does a greywater system cost?

Homemade greywater systems are no more expensive than a trip to a hardware store. Commercially produced diversion systems range from $399 to $1,900 per device. There are also greywater treatment systems that can be installed in houses and commercial properties on the market ranging from $8,100 to $11,900 per device.

What are the savings?

It is estimated that the average American household spends 35% of their water usage on landscape irrigation alone. Given this estimate the average family of four could enjoy the following savings:

PSU Ecomerge 2017
Special Considerations

Greywater coming from household sinks and washing machines can contain harsh chemicals such as salts, boron, and chlorine that would be harmful to plants. Using “plant friendly” cleaning products are both healthier for plants and for humans as well.

Green Empowerment

Our partners at Green Empowerment are dedicated to bringing renewable energy solutions and improving water usage in countries across the globe.

To learn about ways that you can conserve water at home click HERE

To help Green Empowerment in their mission, click HERE.

To Learn More About

Preferred practices in greywater systems, click HERE.

Examples of commercially produced systems, click HERE.

Greywater friendly products, click HERE.

An example of a homemade greywater system, click HERE.