Greywater is ‘used’ water that comes from sinks and drains, as well as reclaimed rainwater collected from a home’s roofs—some greywater systems only reuse reclaimed rainwater.Greywater recycling can help homeowners save money every month, reduce the strain on city water supplies and sewage treatments, especially during dry summer months, and help save the environment.
The water is then treated and filtered to use for flushing toilets, watering the lawn, washing the car and doing laundry. It cannot be used for drinking, showering or bathing.
"Greywater is ‘used’ water that comes from sinks and drains, as well as reclaimed rainwater collected from a home’s roofs—some greywater systems only reuse reclaimed rainwater."
The greywater is then diverted into a holding tank, sometimes buried under the front lawn, where it’s filtered and treated before being sent back into the house for re-use. The holding tank or cistern can be made of concrete, which makes it very strong and stable, but plastic is another option.
There are different types of greywater—the difference being the original source of the water and what it was used for.
Light-greywater comes from bathroom sinks, tubs, showers, laundry and can include rainwater.
Dark-greywater includes light-greywater, plus water from kitchen sinks and dishwashers. It contains food waste, grease and bacteria—as well as possible chemicals from household cleaners.
Black water is water that has come in contact with toilet wastes. It must be chemically treated and disinfected before it can be reused.
"Recycling greywater is still not legal in many municipalities across North America and it’s not a part of most Building Codes."
In every standard home’s plumbing, all wastewater is combined at the main sewer, and all grey and black water is drained away together.
Many local Building Codes consider any and all water that has exited any plumbing fixture to be “black water” and require it to be sent through the municipal water treatment system. But not all wastewater is the same and some of it can be diverted and filtered for alternate uses.
Is it against code?
Recycling greywater is still not legal in many municipalities across North America and it’s not a part of most Building Codes. There aren’t provincial or federal governmental guidelines for using greywater systems. Each individual municipality accepts or rejects proposed greywater systems that homeowners might want to install.
Homeowners interested in incorporating a greywater system into their home must work with their builder or contractor, local building authority and plumbing inspector. A special permit is required, as well as a plumbing inspection.
The installation of dual plumbing is also necessary in order to make sure there are separate lines running to keep the potable and non-potable water from mixing.
ANOTHER GREEN SOLUTION
Only about 10 percent of clean water is used for drinking or cooking. The rest gets used for showers, baths, laundry, watering lawns and gardens and washing cars.
Different greywaters need different treatment processes to make sure they are safe, for people and for the environment. Although the final use for greywater is not as potable water, it still needs to be treated—this helps protect pets that might drink the water in the toilet. Also, using untreated greywater directly for irrigation can affect the soil’s health, as well as the water table.
Domestic Hot Water Recovery System
A domestic hot water recovery system re-captures the heat from hot water already used, like from washing the dishes, showers and laundry, and then uses it to preheat the water going into the hot water tank.
DID YOU KNOW?
According to Environment Canada, toilets use one-third of a household's total water consumption. That’s 33 percent of most households’ water bill!
A greywater system in a house, used to flush toilets and water lawns, could save about 150 litres of drinking water per day, per household.
The average home can lose 7,500 to 75,000 litres of water due to leaks! If you have a leak get those pipes checked out by a licensed plumber ASAP!
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