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What is Grey Water and What You Can Do With It?

What is Grey Water and What You Can Do With It?

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grey water - What is Greywater? - water flowing from bamboo tube

Greywater systems deal with the wastewater coming from baths, showers, dishwashers, washing machines, and sinks.

Unlike blackwater (which is used in toilets), grey water is much easier to recycle and treat because it contains no harmful bacteria. 

As a result, you could actually save about 70 liters of potable water per person per day with greywater reuse, helping you save money on water bills. 

So, how does greywater recycling work, and what uses are there for your greywater system?

What is Greywater?

Greywater is the wastewater from many of your home appliances; for example, bathtubs and showers, sinks, and dishwashers.

You can recycle greywater because, unlike toilet water (or blackwater), there is no fecal matter and pathogens that could cause disease.

Why Should You Recycle Greywater?

Greywater is never going to be safe enough to drink – no matter how much you treat it.

However, greywater systems can help you reclaim water that would otherwise be wasted and use it for washing clothes, flushing toilets, and watering your garden.

In short, recycling water can help you meet your demands without always using your mains water. Additionally, by using a greywater system, you will be sending fewer pollutants into freshwater rivers. 

If your greywater is not treated adequately, it can contaminate the groundwater and have an adverse impact on plant life and animals.

Popular Uses for Treated Greywater

grey water - treated greywater - water being flushed in toilet

For Toilet Flushing

  • Typically, a third of the water in your household is used for flushing your toilet.
  • This means that recycling greywater for this purpose can help you save valuable potable mains water and relieve sewage treatment.

As a Landscape Irrigation System

  • We use a lot of water to keep our plants happy in the summer.
  • This can be a significant issue when there are droughts, so using greywater in combination with an irrigation system is an environmentally friendly way to promote water conservation while providing your plants with valuable organic material.

For Washing Clothes

  • Lastly, another greywater reuse example is for clothes washing.
  • Reclaimed greywater systems can be combined with washing machines to save mains water – provided you redirect the plumbing for this purpose.

How Greywater Reclying Works

grey water - How Greywater Reclying Works - outdoor greywater recycling system

There are a few different ways to recycle grey water. Some methods are simple, while others depend on complex, fully automated systems.

Some popular grey water reuse systems include:

  • Direct Use Systems: The simplest way to recycle grey water is just to reuse it without treating it. The bacteria present in it can be siphoned directly from your bath or bathroom sink into an external waste pipe and used to maintain a greywater irrigation system (for example, using drip irrigation to grow plants, fruit trees, and sustainable backyard ecosystems. 
  • Biological Systems (without food debris): You can use a sand filter to remove sizeable particles and then pass the grey water through different layers of materials (such as humus-rich topsoil, a bed of building sand, and a layer of pea-shingle). The filtration takes place as the grey water travels down through the levels, purifying it. Another method for grey water reuse is constructed wetlands or a level with aquatic plants that use good bacteria to treat the water. 
  • Biological Systems (with food debris): Greywater that contains food particles can be treated using a septic system or storage tank and then passed through the soil box filtration system mentioned above
  • Mechanical Filtration: If you want to reuse greywater for toilet flushing, you can undo the U-bend under your sink, capture the water, and manually pour it into the toilet cistern. 


Several water recycling companies simplify and automate this process by using a pump unit that stores the grey water in a storage tank and distributes it to where it’s required. You can also filter the water using mechanical filters – for example, using a membrane bioreactor.

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Our Water Filtration Services

Hawthorne PHC is a plumbing and water filtration company. If you are looking for a plumber in Las Vegas, they can help you set up your water filtration system and enjoy clean, healthy water in your house. 

Whether you choose a small unit or a whole-home system for your grey water, you will be able to start enjoying the benefits of water filtration instantly.

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