As the world becomes more concerned with the conservation of fresh water, many homeowners are starting to consider installing a grey water system in their homes. Greywater systems offer an effective solution to reusing your household grey water that would have been otherwise wasted. In this quick guide, we have provided answers to all the common questions about grey water systems to assist you when making a decision about installing a grey water system in your home. Plumbing Ways is the professional plumber Cape Town who can help make your home more water-efficient with our expert grey water system installation.
What is a Grey Water System?
When you wash the sand off your spinach leaves before making a smoothie, take a hot shower after a long day at work, or throw your gym tights into the washing machine, you are producing household wastewater. Household wastewater is all the water that washes down your drains and toilets, as well as any stormwater runoff, that will feed into your sewer main and be sent to your local wastewater treatment plant or directed into your septic tank.
Household wastewater is categorised as either black water or grey water. Black water is highly contaminated water and comes from your toilets, kitchen sink, and dishwasher. Grey water is used water, with a characteristic grey tint, that is still relatively clean. Grey water comes from your sinks, showers, baths, and washing machine.
Rather than allowing your household grey water to be sent to your local wastewater treatment plant or get directed into your septic tank, you can reuse the grey water around your home by installing a grey water system. Grey water systems are designed to filter grey water so that it can be used again for specific purposes. Once the water has been filtered or treated by the grey water system, the water will be redirected into your home or stored for later use.
How Does a Grey Water System Work?
The grey water that flows from your sinks, shower, bath, and washing machine will contain dirt, hair, soap, and washing detergent particles, as well as small amounts of bacteria and faecal matter, all of which will need to be filtered out before it can be used safely around your home. Grey water systems generally include two filtering systems to ensure effective grey water filtering. We have explained the two basic filtering processes of a grey water system.
Pre-treatment: The discharge water pipes from your shower, sink, washing machine, and/or bath will be connected to the pre-treatment container in the grey water system. Within the pre-treatment container will be a bio-filter, typically made up of woodchips, that will be the initial filter for any larger particles in the grey water. While pre-treatment is not always included in a grey water system, it is a recommended feature to include in your installed grey water system.
Sand/Gravel Filter: Once the grey water has gone through the pre-treatment filter, it will then flow into the sand/gravel filter container. Within this container will be a layer of gravel, a thick layer of fine sand, and a bottom layer of gravel. The water will flow through the layers of gravel and sand, allowing the gravel and sand to catch any large or small particles in the grey water. This filtering process is highly effective and easy to maintain. If you do not have a storage feature, the water will either flow according to gravity or be pumped into your garden irrigation system or your household plumbing for toilet flushing.
What Are The Uses for a Grey Water?
Although grey water systems filter and treat grey water to be reusable, it is not safe for consumption due to the presence of chemicals and bacteria. The two main safe uses for grey water from grey water systems include being used to flush your toilets or to water your plants. Flushing your toilets is an excellent use for grey water as there is no need to worry about the quality of the grey water after the filtering process.
With using grey water for watering your plants, there are a few more factors to bear in mind. It is best to use a drip irrigation system where the filtered grey water is able to seep into the soil and does not spray excessively onto the plants or is able to pool on solid surfaces. Grey water is typically alkaline, so should not be used on plants that need acid soil to thrive. Grey water should never be used to water root vegetables or sprayed directly onto any other edible plants.
What Are the Benefits of Installing a Grey Water System?
Installing a grey water system in your home will be an additional expense and require the expert installation services of a plumber Cape Town. These factors can easily deter you from having a grey water system installed, but the benefits of grey water systems will quickly outweigh the initial cost and minor inconvenience of the installation process. We have briefly highlighted the personal, environmental, and community benefits that come from installing a grey water system in your home.
Saving Water: The main benefit of a grey water system is that you will be saving water. Rather than allowing all of your household wastewater to be washed away, you can redirect your grey water to better uses in your garden or your toilets. When you consider that a toilet can use a minimum of 6 litres per flush and how often you need to water your garden during the winter to keep it lush, this can quickly start translating into 1000s of saved litres per year.
Budget-friendly: While it is motivating enough to know that you are saving water, one bonus to a grey water system is that you can also save your monthly costs on water. Rather than using fresh water to wash your plants or flush the toilet that causes your water meter to run and your wallet to tremble, you can reuse your grey water and save cash. With a grey water system, both the environment and your bank account win.
Reducing Strain on Wastewater Treatment Plants: Across the provinces, wastewater treatment plants are operating under poor or critical conditions. A grey water system allows for you to reduce the quantity of your household wastewater needing to be processed, therefore reducing your contribution to the strain placed on your community’s wastewater treatment plant.
Minimising Contribution to River and Ocean Pollution: A sad reality in South Africa is that the sewer mains that lead to wastewater treatment plants are not regularly maintained, resulting in forced emptying of the contents into river systems to perform repairs. Once in the rivers, it is a quick journey for this contaminated water to reach the oceans and result in pollution. While not a total solution to the pollution problem, installing a grey water system in your home assists with minimizing the contribution of household water that flows into the sewer mains, and then into the rivers and oceans.
How Much Does a Grey Water System Cost in South Africa?
Grey water systems come in various sizes and with differing levels of sophistication, meaning that the associated costs can vary drastically. Grey water systems can start at around R500 for small and simple designs to R150 000 for large and advanced designs. Luckily, with this extreme range, it is easy to find a grey water system suited to your budget and your water conservation needs. If you need recommendations on the best suited grey water system for your household grey water production, you can contact a plumber Cape Town for their professional advice.
What Products Should I Use With My Grey Water System?
The products you should use depend on your intended purpose for your grey water from your grey water system. If you are planning on using your grey water to flush your toilets, you can continue using your current cleaning and personal hygiene products. If you are planning to use your grey water system for plant watering purposes, it is recommended that you change to biodegradable, non-toxic products. In general, these products are better alternatives for household use and should be considered even if your grey water is intended purely for use in your toilets.
When Should I Use My Stored Grey Water?
Once you have installed a grey water system with a storage facility in your home, you need to use all the stored grey water within one day, especially if your grey water system does not have an additional treatment facility in the storage tank. Filtered grey water cannot sit in storage for longer than 24 hours as it will start to produce a bad odour and there is a potential for bacteria to begin to multiply.
Install a Grey Water System with Plumbing Ways Plumber Cape Town:
If you are looking for a professional plumber Cape Town who can install a grey water system in your home, Plumbing Ways has you covered. Plumbing Ways plumber Cape Town is comprised of a specialist plumbing team with extensive experience in installing grey water systems. We will get your grey water system quickly and expertly installed so that you can start enjoying all the benefits of having a grey water system in your home.
With so many different grey water systems to choose between, it can feel slightly overwhelming. We are your professional plumber Cape Town that will happily advise you on the best grey water system for your needs and budget. You can easily call us, send us a WhatsApp, or fill in our online form to receive expert and personalised advice on your grey water system queries.
About Plumbing Ways Plumber Cape Town:
Plumbing Ways is a Cape Town-based plumber offering extensive plumbing services to Cape Town City Centre, the Northern Suburbs, Southern Suburbs, Winelands, Cape Peninsula, and Atlantic Seaboard. We are your go-to plumber Cape Town for any emergency plumbing needs, plumbing installations, or geyser-related requirements. In addition to our plumber Cape Town services, we offer electrical, carpentry, building, painting, skimming, tiling, paving, and rock plaster services.
Plumbing Ways plumber Cape Town is your first choice for affordable plumbing services. For our emergency plumber Cape Town services, we offer the same rates 24/7 to ensure you can always afford to have your plumbing emergency handled by our expert plumber Cape Town team. For plumbing installations, fault finding, geyser maintenance, or any of our other plumber Cape Town services, we will offer a free quote so that you can ensure we are friendly to your budget.
Enjoy the water-efficiency and cost-saving benefits of a grey water system by having one installed in your home by Plumbing Ways plumber Cape Town.