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Greywater, sometimes also spelled as graywater, grey water or gray water, is all of the effluent water from a household, except that from the toilets, which is sometimes called "blackwater". In addition, if greywater is held for too long (>24 hours in temperate climates), it will become blackwater.[verification needed]
The water leaving our homes carries nutrients and value. It may also contain pathogens, and/or harsh chemicals and care should be taken with it; however, it is not a great risk compared to blackwater (sewage).
Redirecting the water we use for tasks such as showering allows us to reclaim some of that value to grow plants and recharge the water table. It may be necessary to choose our soaps and detergents more carefully, if we use the greywater for watering and fertilizing plants.
Tips on how to minimize health risks associated with greywater
- Wash yourself after contacting greywater.
- Install signage around greywater irrigation systems or areas.
- Do not drink or play with greywater.
- Do not allow anything that may be eaten to come into contact with greywater.
- Do not allow greywater to pond or run off the property.
- Do not wash domestic pets in greywater or allow pets to drink greywater.
- Do not use greywater in public places such as children's play areas or playgrounds, BBQ areas or recreation facilities.
- What is the effect of various detergents and soaps in a greywater system? Consider the receiving soil and plant types - the answer may vary.[Suggested project]
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- Knoxfield greywater system - application of greywater treatment in a house in Knoxfield, in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. - Greenlivingpedia
- Oasis Designs - The best common errors and best practices section ever.
- The EPA on water.
- Agroforestry on greywater for Trees and Landscape.
- http://www.greywater.com/ - Check out their pollution page.
- College of Agriculture and Home Economics New Mexico State University
- 3/29/07 LA Times article on Grey water's red tape
- The graywater guide book from January 1995 (pdf)
- Focuses on Subsurface Drip Irrigation and Mini-Leachfield in California
- 1997 Revised California Graywater Standards (pdf)
- Main changes:
- Use in commercial, industrial and multifamily projects is now acceptable (and procedures for estimating discharge in those environments are now included). Whereas before only single family homes were allowed.
- One irrigation zone is now acceptable. Whereas before two were required.
- Filters are now sized based on filtration rate. Whereas before a 1 inch filter was prescribed.
- California Revised Greywater Code (html)
- Colorado State University - Greywater information
- Chapter 9 of the Humanure Handbook
- Excellent resource. Punchline: 1 of Constructed Wetland for every 1 gallon of graywater per day. This must be with a maximum two foot depth, especially considering that Oasis Design states 1/2 to 1 square foot for every 1 gallon of graywater per day.
- Texas A&M Greywater
- Great pictures
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