Greywater is the wastewater generated from your washing machine, shower, bath and basins which, when used safely, can replace drinking water for watering lawns and gardens. Water from your kitchen can also be reused as greywater if the correct treatment process is put in place.
You can help to play your part in securing Sydney's water supply by using greywater for both indoor and outdoor purposes.
There are three ways that greywater can be reused:
- manual bucketing - small quantities of water are collected from either the washing machine or the shower in a bucket for reuse outside on gardens or lawns
- greywater diversion devices - involves the installation of a greywater diversion device to redirect greywater to the garden or lawn via a sub-surface irrigation system. You will need a plumber to install the device. Council approval is not required if the conditions of Section 75A of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 are met
- greywater treatment systems - enables you to use treated greywater for toilets and washing machines, and on gardens and lawns. Council approval is required and you will need a plumber to install the system.
These are covered in an easy guide for householders from the NSW Government, NSW Guidelines for Greywater Reuse in Sewered, Single Household Residential Premises (PDF). The Guidelines relate to single, detached households only and do not include premises comprising of more than one dwelling.
The NSW Government has also published five easy to follow fact sheets on greywater reuse for households.
Another useful source of information is the NSW Health website, which includes links to research on the environmental impact of different soaps and detergents; a list of watermark licenced greywater diversion devices and a list of NSW accredited greywater treatment systems.
Under the Commonweath Government's National Rainwater and Greywater Initiative rebates for households are available to install rainwater tanks or greywater systems, subject to terms and conditions.
Greywater fact sheets
The community can help to play a part by reusing greywater to water gardens or lawns, thus helping to save up to hundreds of litres of fresh water each day. The NSW Government has put together five easy to follow fact sheets on greywater reuse below.
If you would like further information on greywater, visit the NSW Office of Water and Sydney Water websites, which cover the ways greywater can be used, diversion devices and treatment systems and their maintenance, and protecting your health.