How to use recycled grey water

Grey water is a great way to save money, save water and save your garden during the long, hot summer. The average family can generate as much as 400 litres of grey water a day. However, if you want to use this form of recycled water, there are a few basic things to keep in mind.

Know what grey water to use

Grey water is any water that goes down the drain at your house that isn’t from the toilet. That means water from your bath, shower, hand basins and washing machines. You can also think of water from the kitchen sink and the dishwasher as grey water, but because it’s usually got food scraps in it, water from these sources is referred to as having a high “organic load” – which is another way of saying that it’s in danger of being a source for unhealthy bacterial growth.

plants

Keep the quality of water high

Your garden is a living thing. To make sure that it stays that way, it’s important to keep its exposure to certain chemicals and bacteria to a minimum. Grey water usually has a much higher salt content than tap water, plus water with a lot of detergent or soap in it can also be a bit of a shock to your plants. Consider discarding water from your washing machine wash cycle but using the water from the rinse cycle. Another option is using “grey water friendly” detergent and soap.

Know where to use grey water

Avoid concentrating grey water in just one area of your garden. Don’t put too much on and keep an eye on the health of your plants to make sure you’re not doing any damage to your soil.

soil

Make sure your soil is right

Soils that are very sandy or have a high clay concentration are not good for using with grey water. High clay concentration can lead to water run-off issues. Very sandy soil can lead to excessively deep drainage with grey water entering the water table. The best soil type is a loamy type that retains water well without becoming muddy.

lawn

Choose the right water for the right plants

If you think about the sources of grey water in your house, you’ll realise that there is more than one variety. Some sources are better suited to certain applications. For example, if you’re using detergent with phosphates in it, it’s best not to use that on native plants but your lawn will love it. You must also never use grey water on food plants – especially leaf and root crops.

Know what regulations apply

Every state in Australia has different rules governing the use of grey water, but some rules apply across the whole country. Rules include:

  • Grey water systems must be installed by a licensed plumber.
  • All grey water pipes must be purple in colour.
  • All grey water diversion devices and taps must have a sign on them saying “unfit for drinking”.
  • When you use grey water it must never pool on the ground or run off your property.
  • You must also never use it on food crops like a vegetable garden.
  • Cherry Plant

    Planting & Growing How to plant and grow a cherry tree Sweet or sour, cherries are a popular summer treat around the world. Lovely and narrow, the cherry tree is suited to areas with cold winters, creating a stunning display of blossom in spring followed by the much-loved fruit.

    plant pots 03:15

    Planting & Growing How to grow and care for indoor plants For people unable to garden outdoors, growing indoor plants allows them to indulge in a hobby that gives great pleasure.

    bird of paradise plant

    Planting & Growing How to grow and prune a bird of paradise Hardy, easy to grow and architecturally dramatic with some of the most stunning and bizarre flowers you will ever see—that’s the awesome bird of paradise.

    Apple Tree

    Planting & Growing How to grow and prune an apple tree Nothing beats the crunch and taste of a fresh apple. So why not grow your own? An apple tree can be so much more than just a fruit tree.

    basil

    Planting & Growing How to plant grow and harvest basil An attractive garden plant that’s easy to grow and is an essential ingredient in a multitude of dishes. That’s basil!

    Bougainvillea

    Planting & Growing How to plant grow and prune bougainvillea If you’re looking for a plant with vibrant colours to bring a tropical look to your garden, then you can’t go past bougainvillea.

    How to design a herb garden 01:23

    Planting & Growing How to design a herb garden Turn your back or front yard into a beautiful, productive space by creating an edible garden that looks good and will tastes even better. For this project, we’re grouping our herbs into three pots – one for tea, one for smoothies and one for cocktai...

    Choose a sunny spot and watch 01:40

    Planting & Growing How to grow strawberries You’ll love the taste of home-grown strawberries. It’s a great activity the whole family will have fun doing.

    low water garden

    Planning & Projects How to create a low-water garden ‘Dry’ or ‘low-water’ gardening is a real art and, when done right, will provide you with an inviting landscape that uses very little water.

    Finished artificial green garden wall behind garden bench 02:05

    Planning & Projects How to create a green wall using artificial hedge Green walls are all the rage at the moment, but buying and maintaining one can be costly. Why not have a go at creating your own using pieces of artificial hedge – it looks great and will last the distance. Here’s how.

    reducing water

    How To Save Water How to reduce water usage Whether indoor or outdoor, there are lots of ways to be smart about water usage. And there are some simple actions that can make a big difference to your water bill.

    doorbell 02:04

    Doors How to install a ring doorbell The Ring video doorbell is a wireless doorbell which allows you to see who is at your front door. Find out how to install the Ring video doorbell yourself.

    a tree lit up with solar lights around it 01:46

    Garden Lighting How to install solar lights in your garden Solar lights are a great way to illuminate your pathways and highlight your garden beds at night. Install them yourself with these easy steps.

    how to organise your pantry 02:52

    Shelving & Storage How to organise your pantry Create an organisational system in your pantry with these handy storage hints. Trust us – its life changing!

    front door 01:31

    How To Paint How to paint your front door Make an entrance every darn day of the week by painting your front door a bold, enticing colour!

    how to hang pictures

    Walls The best way to hang pictures on a wall Learn the tricks to hanging your wall decor so it looks good – and doesn’t damage the plasterboard. Create an effortless-looking display by taking the time to consider spacing, proportion, frame styles and colour palettes.

    Health & Safety

    Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

    Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
    Top of the content