10 Safety Tips for Handling Graywater

10 Safety Tips for Handling Graywater

Landis Carey
Mar 28, 2011

"Graywater, the used water from sinks, showers, tubs dishwashers and washing machines, represents 50 to 80 percent of our home waste water. Rather than sending it to treatment plants, you can redirect it to your yard and garden and let nature's filter do its work," writes Natural Home. As the world's water demand balloons, integrating such conversation methods into our structures are sure to become a best practice.

Graywater systems aren't for every home (i.e. inaccessible pipes or those in very wet or very cold climates) but for those who do benefit from the possibility, here are 10 Safety Tips for Handling Graywater:

  1. Don't store graywater for more than 24 hours. Bacteria can multiply and transform it into unsafe, bacteria-ridden blackwater.
  2. Limit the amount of cleaning supplies you use. Avoid using borax, it's toxic to plants. Also avoid chlorine bleach and non-chlorine bleach with sodium perborate.
  3. Use cleaners with little of no sodium. Liquids are better than powders.
  4. Avoid cleaners with whitening agents, softeners or enzymes.
  5. Label graywater components and wear gloves when handling them.
  6. Don't apply graywater via sprinkler, aerially to lawns or directly to foliage.
  7. Don't apply graywater to storm-saturated soils.
  8. Don't irrigate with graywater near a well.
  9. Don't water vegetables with graywater. Rather, use it on ornamentals or on fruit trees via mulch beds.
  10. Don't discharge graywater directly into bodies of water or onto hardscaping (i.e. paved areas such as streets, sidewalks and driveways).

For more information about graywater systems and whether your home qualifies, read the full article Pipe Dreams at Natural Home.

(Image: Natural Home)

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