Gray water is unrefined waste water that is not contaminated by any toilet discharge. Gray water, referred to as graywater, contains waste water in homes, from bathtubs, showers, bathroom sinks, washing machines, and dishwashers. In most jurisdictions, the official definition of gray water excludes bleach from kitchen sinks, dishwashers, waste water from photo labs, or dirty diapers.
Gray water systems are on-site wastewater systems that use gray water for underground landscape irrigation using mulch basins, disposal ditches or underground drip irrigation areas. There are basically two types of gray water systems: These are;
Gravity-fed manual systems
Manual systems do not need electricity or pumps as they work on gravity, bringing gray water to the area where it is needed. They may require a larger courtyard area to install the system outside. Packaged systems require electricity, but are self-contained and can be installed indoors. Codes and local regulations must be observed with each option.
Reuse of gray water increases our drinking water supply, reduces water and wastewater bills, and reduces the burden on wastewater treatment plants. This harmoniously using gray water as a resource, water-based landscaping, rainwater harvesting and conservation helps reduce dependence on imported water, and protects the urban watershed and ocean.
General precautions are not to use detergents or bleaches that can harm plants in the sink, bathroom and laundry. To further ensure safety, gray water cannot be used in edible parts of vegetables and should be used for subsurface irrigation to reduce human contact or ponding. Usually gray water cannot be stored, only the amount needed to water the garden is diverted.
As gray water systems are an excellent way to increase a home’s water efficiency, it is increasing in popularity for green-conscious homeowners. Fresh water scarcity is becoming more common around the world, and installing a gray water system at home is just one of the ways to combat it. This option is even more important for those living in dry climates. But what exactly is a gray water system and how does it work? Understanding these systems is an important step in establishing a sustainable lifestyle.
What is Grei Water?
Domestic water can be considered in three categories: fresh water, black water, and gray water.
• Fresh water is naturally occurring water that is not seawater or brackish water. This can mean water supplied at any of the following sources such as groundwater, rivers, icebergs, glaciers, etc.
• Blackwater is highly toxic as it seems and contains a concentration of bacteria. This water is the water that comes from the toilet.
• Gray water is the residual waste water produced by a house. This is water from the shower, laundry, dishes, etc. It can happen. Many home systems are designed to store and reuse this water.
What Is The Gray Water System Used For?
To put it simply, a gray water system takes gray water domestically and directs that water to other places and purposes, such as garden water and irrigating your landscape. Gray water contains traces of dirt, food, hair, and oil. Although these elements are harmful when released into water bodies, they act as nutrients and fertilizers for plants, herbs, trees and flowers.
How Do Gray Water Systems Work?
It seems that the way a gray water system works is not very complicated. It’s simple: It works like all the water in the washbasins, shower and additional drains is collected in an “expansion tank”. The equalization tank can take up too much water at the same time by slowing the flow. When this water slows down, the solids that have accumulated in it will settle to the bottom and allow clean water to separate and move.
There are many options when it comes to building and designing this system. Simplicity is key, and there are ways to build it in a way that doesn’t change the existing plumbing setup. A gravity-based system can be considered to direct water to an expansion tank and a basic irrigation system. If living in an inclined area then it may be necessary to add a mechanical pump.
Benefits of the Domestic Gray Water System
The main benefit of the gray water system is its environmental friendliness. Implementing a gray water system in homes allows it to operate in an environmentally friendly way, recycling and reusing the water for additional purposes. Many homeowners also mention the money these systems save. Installing a gray water system can result in significant energy and water bill savings, with the potential to save up to 40,000 gallons per year in water. A bonus for septic tank users is that the use of these systems also helps to extend the life of the system.
Common Mistakes in Gray Water Systems
There are some mistakes made by those who are new to the concept of the gray water system or are not sure how to approach this issue. Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid;
• Storing water for too long: Gray water can quickly become septic when stored for too long or in hot conditions. When water becomes septic, it becomes unusable. Of course, this is undesirable to happen, so it’s important to have a system that uses stored water regularly. Water should not be stored for more than 24 hours.
• Not knowing where gray water goes: When it comes to different gray water systems, some, such as perforated pipe, may not have a clear direction. Problems can arise if the gray water is not known where it goes. One of them is caused by soil clogging or roots leaking into the system.
• Watering the wrong plants: Gray water is perfect for trees and flower beds. However, it is very important to note that you should avoid watering your vegetable garden with it. Also, some lawns cannot handle gray water and require special equipment to distribute it properly. Before you pour gray water on anything, it is important to be informed by doing research.
• Using the wrong equipment: When it comes to the equipment used, it may be desirable to create a field-operated gray water system. Again, this will take some time and energy to search for the right method for home and property. In order to achieve a positive result, it is important to get service from a staff who are experts in the system.
Writer: Ozlem Guvenc Agaoglu