Using Gray Water

rainydaywoman_z8(8)October 20, 2009

A couple of years ago I read a detailed article about using all the household gray water for gardening. I think they routed all the water into a holding pond, along with rain barrels, & then pumped it out for irrigation. So I routed my washer hose to a flower garden & killed everything there. I was careful not to use bleach or hot water. So can someone tell me how to do this? I hate it everytime I hear wash water going down the drain!

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If you ran the wash water direct, maybe you were just using it too strong, as in too much detergent/soap. Mixing it with bathwater or rainwater might help. Are you sure your detergent is non-toxic?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 5:18AM
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The only gray water watering system I've seen is a 55 gal. barrel filled with gravel. The gray water flows in the top, is filtered somewhat by the gravel, and there is a tap at the bottom to attach a hose or pour the water into a bucket.
The recommended detergent is washing soda.
Gray water is regularly used in the Caribbean to water lawns at resorts and estates. It really should not be used on edible crops.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 7:42AM
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I don't think you can use regular detergent. There are brands that are specific to your needs. Also running the water through a pond definately filters the water. If you really want to use your grey water a swale to a raingarden would work well.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 10:28AM
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Thanks for all the info. I changed my laundry detergent and the dishwasher detergent to a recipe I make myself, & I only use vinegar, soda, or borax to clean. Looks like there is still another step, tho, to make this work. I'm going to investigate the 55 gal barrel system---I have an artificial bog garden that I would love to use gray water on.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 1:21AM
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curtludwig(New England)

Sounds like you might have been getting too much water in too small a space with too much pressure too.... Most washers plow through lots of water...

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 2:39PM
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pris(8B TX)

You can't leave your drain hose in one place. Move it from place to place in your yard and it works best this way for lawn watering. You can also run it into barrels with the soapy water diluted by the rinse water. Attach a hose to the barrel and hand water your gardens from there. By doing this, I don't feel quite as guilty using the second rinse cycle when washing clothes. Soap residue left in clothes causes them to age faster, so, I'm saving my clothes and watering the garden as well. All with the same water. It goes without saying that you can't use kitchen sink, dishwasher and toilet water for this. Bath, shower and washer water is OK.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 5:21PM
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Thx for the ideas. I will start a barrel for the water and go from there. Wish I could get the bathwater rerouted---I think about the amount every time I shower. Every little bit helps, even here in rainy Oregon.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 12:09AM
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They use vinegar and salt to kill weeds, maybe the vinegar is what killed it. Grey water is supposed to be good for plants. They recomment baby shampoo to start seeds.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 10:09PM
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A neighbor told me that the diverter from the washing machine could be switched off when soapy water going down the drain and on when it is rinse water. I plan on getting a set up like that. [as soon as can talk my sons into it] It would mean paying attention the the wash/rinse cycles, but the savings in water would be worth it.

I already use my bath water to flush toilet and any extra goes down a drain that my son built for me -- runs down to a holding bucket ... and I use water pail from there.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 5:11PM
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