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Gray or Grey Water

What is graywater ?

Any water that has been used in the home, except water from toilets, is called graywater. Dish, shower, sink, and laundry water comprise 50-80% of residential "waste" water. This may be reused for other purposes, especially landscape irrigation.

Why use graywater ?

It's a waste to irrigate with great quantities of drinking water when plants thrive on used water containing small bits of compost. Unlike a lot of ecological stopgap measures, graywater reuse is a part of the fundamental solution to many ecological problems and will probably remain essentially unchanged in the distant future. The benefits of graywater recycling include:

  • Lower fresh water use
  • Less strain on failing septic tank or treatment plant
  • Graywater treatment in topsoil is highly effective
  • Ability to build in areas unsuitable for conventional treatment
  • Less energy and chemical use
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Plant growth
  • Reclamation of otherwise wasted nutrients  

QUESTION: We have an aerobic septic system with discharge sprinklers. We moved some of the sprinkler heads two or three years ago. How long should we wait before planting fruit trees or vegetables in this area?  R.G., Fort Worth

ANSWER: It shouldn’t be a problem now unless you have been pouring toxic chemicals down the drain.


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