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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    6

    Default Watering with Grey Water

    I read a "This Old house" article on CNN about routing your washing machine drainage to your yard to water plants.

    I live in the desert, Phoenix, Arizona to be exact and have been doing this for over 15 years. I plumbed my washer through the exterior wall with PVC pipe and attached 50 ft of clear flexible tubing, I believe it is 2 inch but could be bigger so I could move it around the yard to water the various plants. It has work exceptionally well. The plants are strong and healthy and it has cut my use of drinking water for plant watering down to zero for plants and trees in my back yard. I use All as my detergent of choice because it does not contain phosphates. I don't know if that actually makes a difference, but phosphates irritate my skin, so figured they probably wouldn't be good for plants either.

    I have also plumbed my front bathroom sink the same way, it drains to the side yard where I move the hose once a week to the various plants, they are also doing exceptionally well. If I could figure out a way to do the shower (location is not on an exterior wall) I would be completely set. I monitored this closely to see if shaving cream, toothpaste residue and soap residue would adversely affect the plants. After 15 years, there is no discernable impact, other than the plants are growing at an enviable rate.

    However, what we really need is an enlightened city code. When I contacted the City of Phoenix, they told me what I had done violated city code, so I never told them where I lived. Also, we need to improve the City's water codes. Our sewer rates are based on consumption. So even though the 1st and 3rd major consumers of water in my house, laundry and sink are not dumping into the sewer system, I am still being charged the sewer charge for that use.

    Both plumbing changes were extremely simple (completed in less than an hour), and the costs for materials (roughly $60 for the washer and $30 for the sink) has been recovered thousands of times over.
    Last edited by bloodwyn; 01-07-2008 at 04:58 AM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Watering with Grey Water

    You are right, we need enlightened persons in the bureaucracy.

    Basing sewage rates on water usage is done almost every where as a matter of convenience, it eliminates the need for a meter on the discharge side and the additional records that would require.

    I see nothing wrong with what you have done. In some areas, it may not be feasible due to poor percolation/absorbtion, but that is no problem in your area. You state that you do pay attention to what goes down the drain and onto the yard, and contamination of ground water is one issue that states tend to worry about. Still, you paid for that water and are getting all the use for your dollar you can, as well as saving resources. Very good!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    1

    Smile Re: Watering with Grey Water

    There is a new product out that will take the place of the septic tank or the public sewer system. It cooks down all the solid waste, vacuumes away the residue, uses gray water to flush the toilet and processes the gray water for use in sub surface irrigation. The system does not connect to any potable water source and costs less than a septic system or the connection to a sewer system. This is new on the market so you will probably hear about it in the months to come. This is about a GREEN as you can get.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Watering with Grey Water

    [QUOTE=kcb;11167]You are right, we need enlightened persons in the bureaucracy.

    Basing sewage rates on water usage is done almost every where as a matter of convenience, it eliminates the need for a meter on the discharge side and the additional records that would require.

    We have a well and use no city water at all, yet we pay a fixed sewer charge of $85 every 3 months. Whether we have a house of 10 or a house of 2, with a well it is the same charge. I really wish there was a more accurate method to charge for sewer usage.

    I like the idea of using the drain water to help irrigate. As long as people are responsibel for what goes in the drain, what comes out shouldn't have a negative impact. My Dad lives in Prescott, AZ and uses plenty of water keeping his landscaping healthy. I am sure he would be interested in your method. Thanks for posting.

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