Who's using grey water on their garden?

ClissAT

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And how is it working out for you?

Is your soil staying healthy? Are you using any additives to balance the grey water in the soil?

What system are you using, ie straight from the house or out of a collection tank?
 

Flatland

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I use it straight from my washing machine onto the lawn and that is great. Lawn green and growing in summer when without the washing machine water lawn would be dry and dead. As a bonus it is better for the septic tank to keep water going into it to a minimum.
At our old place we ran the washing machine water out the laundry window into a 44 gal drum and from there pumped the water up hill to where our orchard was. We didn't store the water it was pumped as we were doing the washing. This was the only water that the fruit trees got and they grew well and fruited well. We did this for about 10 years and didn't have any problems. We were in a high (winter) rainfall zone. So in winter if there was any build up of nasties in the soil you could say that the soil got washed in winter.
 

ClissAT

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At our old place we ran the washing machine water out the laundry window into a 44 gal drum and from there pumped the water up hill to where our orchard was. We didn't store the water it was pumped as we were doing the washing. This was the only water that the fruit trees got and they grew well and fruited well.
Very interesting info Flatlands, thanks.:thumbsup:

This bit gave me an instant idea & made me wonder why I never thought of doing it myself.:idea:
But this is why I am asking these questions because I know others will have really valuable ideas that I can use.

I have a submersible bilge pump that I could use to pump my water around my property instead of hand bucketing every morning. Admittedly I use 4x 9lt buckets in a big plastic wheel barrow but I still have to push it uphill twice every morning to use up the stored water from previous day. However the pump runs off a solar panel & pumps 15000lt/hr so maybe it would be too big for my little 75lt per day job! :think: But I could buy another much smaller pump for only a few bucks for sure.

My laundry water goes directly out onto the horse paddock so I only use shower & kitchen sink water on my gardens. I don't use chemicals or even detergents other than a little bit of natural soap. But I am concerned about buildup in the soil & potting mix I am using in my container gardens considering the volume of water I am having to apply daily to keep them moist. They seem to be drying out very quickly recently. It could be due to the hot dry winds, 7-15% humidity & blazing sun or it could be due to the small buildup from the grey water.:dunno:
 

Mataeka

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I'm at units so it's pretty sketchy but I have been on the odd occasion using the grey water from the washing machine on the lawn - mostly to keep it green and stop the other neighbour using completely fresh water on it (units are not individually metered so we all pay for his want of decorative green grass)

I had to stop collecting atm though because pregnancy brain has led to me flooding the garage twice and accidentally frying a washing machine (ouch!)

But my parents have had a greywater outlet that comes above ground for as long as I can remember. It never was treated - I suspect it went into a tank but that it instantly overflowed. It was never purposely harvested etc but they have since planted a great native garden that would benefit from the runoff and in the past a self sown tomato plant produced the best tomatoes I had ever tasted.
 

Letsgokate

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We have a septic system so everything goes into that. Water is then pumped out a grey water hose onto sprinkles that water the grass, we can move this hose around. I would not put this on veggies or fruit trees and was my understanding that you couldn't.

I think it could be used on non edible plants but ours isn't setup for that.
 

Mark

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I would not put this on veggies or fruit trees and was my understanding that you couldn't.
Yes, you can use it on fruit trees just not if the fruit is getting sprayed but if the tree is not in fruit or the fruit is high out of the way it's fine to use grey or treated septic water in the orchard. The threat wastewater poses is from bacteria growing on the food this bacteria is not taken up by the fruit tree roots and then subsequently into the forming fruit to then be ingested by the consumer - that's not possible.
 

Mark

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And how is it working out for you?
It's fantastic for extra nitrogen and a great water saver, especially over summer.

Is your soil staying healthy?
The soil improves after a good stint of the enviro sprinkler and the trees, shrubs, grass, grows wonderful for several weeks later.

Are you using any additives to balance the grey water in the soil?
No - we do mulch and fertilise our fruit trees though.

What system are you using, ie straight from the house or out of a collection tank?
We have an enviro cycle treatment system. The wastewater is filtered and treated with chlorine tablets before being pumped out. The system gets serviced every quarter. We have a movable hose about 40 metres long with a line of sprinklers on the end. We use it to give extra water to fruit trees and ornamentals or grass.
 

Bea

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I have a 5 gal bucket and an much bigger rubbermaid container that are overflowing from both the rain and roof runoff from last night. In the dry season I used them for water from my washing machine but obviously never enough storage. My laundry liquid is homemade from borax, washing soda, and Dr. bonner's bar soap. i powder the whole thing so it works better in cold water. I do use it when i can but worry about the ingredients. I also throw the contents of the housecleaning bucket into those bins. This is also homemade from alcohol, orange vinegar, water and a few drops of dish soap. I want to talk my LL into just giving me one the gigantic blue rubber cisterns (or what ever they are called) that they no longer use for rainwater since installing a pump on the rooftop reservoir. I would attach a spigot for the hose, I think, if I got the big blue tubs. BTW where i get the extra runoff is a bit of a swamp at this time of year. There I have growing calendula, parsley, lettuces, plantain (yes!), and anything else that likes a lot of water. I wonder if I should plant celery there????
 
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DarrenP

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We save water in bucket in the shower as it heats up. Also we wash the dishes in a tub that fits into the sink over summer. Our hot water heater has an overflow that needs emptying every three or four days. And if I remember, I put a bucket or two to catch the washing machine water.
All of these go onto the lawn over the warmer months, and our lawn, as small as it is, is green.
 
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Bea

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hey Darren, I like the shower idea. Without fancy systems, but saving a ton of money, you dont lose much of the water. I see that you are in a temperate zone and the reason for using in the summer. The rainwater I capture is still used even in the rainy season here because of tomatoes and peppers being sheltered under my lean-to. No ideas on how to use the grey water during winter?
 

DarrenP

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Not without some sort of storage system; and I'm not sure how it would store.
Our winters can be quite dry, so saving it and putting it on the lawn doesn't go astray. The bucket in the shower gets full over a couple of days, as I don't leave it in the shower. I don't like the idea of too many chemicals going onto the lawn.
 

Helen Auriga

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We have a bioseptic tank so all our grey water and black water goes there, is treated then sprayed. I don't spray on food plants. Spray under advanced trees. Favourite spot for the chooks as they find lots of insects in the damp leaf litter.
 
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ClissAT

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Well the rain disappeared as quickly as it arrived so I've been back to bucketing grey water onto everything for a couple weeks now.
With these very hot dry days, it is amazing just how fast things dry out.
My biggest problem is I don't use enough water in my household during a 24hr period to have enough to put some water on every plant.
So comes the nightmare of what to water & what has to wait a day. Then what got watered one day is again dry next day.
I hate having to make decisions like that on a daily basis because I don't like having favorites. Its tiring. :(