Wednesday, August 10, 2011

So what is Grey Water and We Can Water Our Gardens with it?

I’ve discovered that the water created after washing our laundry is “grey water” and guess what?  You can water your gardens with it!!!!  Of course this comes with some caveats.  You need to use eco-friendly detergents, no bleach, and use caution with fabric softeners.  A good rule of thumb is that most products made for septic systems are safe for grey watering.  Another note:  the laundry itself can’t contain “harmful” products being washed off it.  I probably wouldn't take junior's dirty diapers (should you be brave enough to use cloth diapers) and recycle that water. 

Actually it’s been discovered that dirty laundry water can be a treat for plant life.  Some of the organic materials found in laundry waste water can actually supply extra nutrients they ordinarily wouldn’t get.  Many detergents contain nitrogen and phosphates which help with plant growth. Quite often, grey water users report an increase in growth and overall positive appearance in the garden. 

How do you go about converting to grey watering?  It can be as simple as adding a hose to drain the laundry waste water from the machine to your garden.  You can set up a dual system which can be turned on to divert grey water to sewer when needed for those times the water in the wash could be harmful to the plants.  Also, using your judgment on which plants you want to use grey water on is always a very personal choice.  Often people will use grey water on everything but vegetables, as they are edible.  Should you decide to go “grey”, there are many useful websites with plans for enabling this.  Give it a thought, and maybe a try.  What do you have to lose?  What do you have to save?  Water!!!


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