Water Storage - storing GreyWater - Grey Water tank

First of all some serious warnings about storing Greywater.

There can be very serious health risks involved in storing Greywater and the risks vary due to what is present in the water (eg nappy washing, washing pets, disposing of household chemicals) and the exposure to the outside environment ,( eg disease carrying mosquitoes, flies, vermin etc).

So here are some suggestions to consider before you even think about storing your Greywater:

  • Do not store your greywater anywhere that can be accessed by children or animals.
  • it is highly recommended that greywater is not stored for more than 24 hours.
  • Do not under any circumstances store your greywater in tanks that will be storing rainwater.
  • Do not allow your greywater to flow from your property or into storm water drainage systems.
  • If you have an excess of greywater, make sure it flows back into the proper system eg: septic, sewage.
  • It is advisable not to use your greywater to water vegetables especially ones that will not be cooked.

Greywater storage tank commercially available for under $500. notice the Lilac color!
Greywater storage tank commercially available for under $500. notice the Lilac color!
cutaway image of the Bowser greywater storage and distribution unit.
cutaway image of the Bowser greywater storage and distribution unit.

Grey Water Storage

For many years the idea of using the Wheelie Bin for water storage, both for rainfall and greywater, has been extensively put into practice.   I bet the two that we lost from our Garbage collections went to this use :-)

The concept has been put to good use by one company who have come up with a complete package and they call it the "Home Water Bowser" ( this has to be an Aussie company).

The idea is to collect the greywater from your washing machine, showers, baths and basins, etc and then after some filtering you can use it on your garden.

A powerful 550 Watt submersible pump is included in the Bowser and will provide a reasonable pressure. Included in the package is a hose and nozzle and an external filter.

The motor is turned on and off automatically by a float switch. The pump can also be used for rainwater. The lid has a stainless steel inlet for accepting diverted rainwater from your downpipes!

Notice, it is in the Lilac color, which in Australia is used for recycled water and must never be used as potable water.

Filtering using Mother Nature' method

A more natural way of filtering is by using the same methods that make natural rivers and streams clean… even considering that they collect their water from many square miles of catchment area. Things such as dirt, worms, and faecal matter. Beneficial bacteria break down these nasties into water-soluble plant food, and it is consumed by the plants, leaving us with pure water.

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Do you consider it worth while collecting your greywater

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Comments 25 comments

Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Great article, you make it so easy to understand and I wish I could have a place to store water, not gray water, just the rain water for the garden. Thanks for sharing. If you find time come and check out of few of my articles...

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Darlene Sabella, thanks for coming and having a look at my Hubs. I would have thought that the place where you live would not be short of water? But I'm told that pure rainwater is wonderful to wash your hair. I will certainly have a look at your articles :-)

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Another great hub agvulpes.

Grey water storage is an important subject. I know one thing for sure. We will all be using grey water soon!

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

earnestshub, you are correct I see that Sydney is now using greywater in their water supply so it won't be long before it happens in Melbourne :-)

Water Wise 6 years ago

Another excellent Hub on saving Greywater. After reading several of your Hubs and as other commentors have expressed, you are the go to person for great and easy to follow information on how to save our precious water, and I also agree you are fast becoming King of our water conservation.

I look forward to reading more of your Hubs on saving water and other topics as they are published.

I will put these in my Favorites!

starme77 profile image

starme77 6 years ago

Nice :)

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you for your kind word :-)

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

agvulpes if you are appointed king of water conservation and storage will you get the government to put some more money in to water conservation?

It's getting to where we need to do something more for many of our cities in Australia.

LeonJane profile image

LeonJane 6 years ago from Australia

Interesting use of a Wheelie Bin, I'll have to read more about that grey water 'tank'.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

earnestshub, you betcha, as King of Water conservation and storage the first thing I would do is to make Water a National Project. Then stop the desalination plants and do a feasibility study on ALL of the rainfall and catchment areas in Australia. I do not believe that we need to desalinate the Oceans to get our water, we are only creating another problem for our Grandchildren to correct in 100 or so years.

earnestshub, thanks for coming around and leaving a nice comment:-)

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

LeonJane, to me for the small house or flat the wheelie bin idea is one of the best ones going around. You don't need ot go for the whole set-up. You can pick the bin up for about $90 and using the water on the garden, my guess is that it would be paid for in about 12 months.

Cheers and thanks for dropping by with your great comment :-)

Trina Tune profile image

Trina Tune 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

I let my washing machine grey water go directly on the trees at the back of my yard. I make sure I use a 'garden safe' washing powder. So far so good.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Trina Tune thanks for your great comment and it is great to see what you are doing with your greywater. I believe there may be a long term problem that may arise if you do not filter the water before putting it on the soil.

What may happen is that the sufficants (fillers) although in themselves not toxic may eventually clog the soil and do some damage to the tree. The worry with this is that the process is virtually irreversible. Australian native trees although hardy to the environment are very susceptible to changes in their soil condition! I am no expert on this and I would really like to hear what other people think on the matter.

susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

Good hub, I enjoyed reading.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment. Greywater Storage can be a problem and if it is not done correctly can lead to problems down the track!

attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

Hi I'm Keith Buffey I'm also a friend of Earnest. My wife Linda and I have just bought a weekender up at East Warburton. There is no sewage or sceptic tank. The grey water from the sink and shower ran out of a pipe under the house and then down the hill. We wondered if one of the wheelie bins would be suitable for our needs? Another question would be about the flittering system as the company web site only talks about the pump and not about the filter? Regards Keith

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Keith I'm sure Linda and yourself will have some great times up in East Warburton. I know that area and love it up there. Knowing what I do about the local council it surprises me that they have not caught up with you and insisted that you put in some sort of filtering system.

From the research that I have done you must keep your 'greywater' and 'human waste' separate. It is also not advisable to add your kitchen sink waste to greywater!

Depending on the use (number of people x number of visits)of your weekender I feel that the 'Wheelie bin' would be OK. Keith the technology for handling grey water is advancing at a great pace. I have put a link capsule directly under the comments please browse through the links for more information!

attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

Thanks for the advice, we've only just settled on our 'shack', we will be making a lot of improvements. We will install a compost toilet, It's Swedish and is the most efficient one that we can find. We are also looking at solar power and solar hot water. We installed solar on our house here in Thornbury which is working beautifully, and economically.

Ernie spent a day with us up at the Shack helping with a fire assessment strategy. The previous owners did install some gravel/stone trenches but we haven't checked them thoroughly as yet. Must dash thanks for the advise Keith and Linda

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Keith, we also have Solar Hot Water on both of our houses here in the South East of Melbourne and find it saves us quite a bit of money. We are also seriously considering Solar Power. We are also running septic tanks ourselves at the moment but may have to do something about that in the near future. I would love to hear your information on the unit that you have chosen?

Ernie (earnestshub) would certainly be the man for the job he is a bushman from way back. Did you read his Gold mine Hubs? They are a great read!

attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

No i haven't read Ernies Gold mine hubs yet but i will now. Linda did all the research for the solar power so she will explain it to you. She also likes photography.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

attemptedhumour thanks very much for all the information it is filed away for future research!

meinolf profile image

meinolf 4 years ago from Canada

My cottage is in an area that no longer allows the effluent of septic or greywatwer systems to be discharged into the soil, period. Rather, it is collected by "honey-wagons" and hauled to a "lagoon" 30kms away. I don't know what happens after that. Each such event costs over $70, so obviously it is desireable to reduce the frequency, i.e. hold the wastes of life in a big tank. The current wisdom is a 1000gal(or more) tank buried on the cottage lot, for all wastes, grey and black. Since plumbing drains have to be vented to work, obviously the odours are escaping into the air hopefully high-enough to be unnoticeable, like in the city. In practice, the buried tanks themselves often stink, and the odour downwind of a working honey-wagon is terrible, and can be smelled a km away. I marvel at the fact that we still don't know how to deal with crap, except by moving it elsewhere.

I sincerely hope some genius will figure it out!

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 4 years ago from Australia Author

Hm, I don't like to criticize something that I cannot evaluate myself but...

How GreyWater is handled by the authorities in your area does seem rather shortsighted.

Today there are many systems available that bring this effluent water back to a very good quality grade water and I do hope that is what 'your' authorities are doing when they remove your waste water with their 'honey-wagons' (what a great name...)

I certainly don't envy your situation, it takes me back to the early 1900's when we had the 'night-man' come to the back of our house and make a collection from the 'dunny'.

meinolf thanks for sharing your story it certainly adds to the discussion and it is much appreciated :-)

Cathy 23 months ago

I live in the California Sierras and want to do my part with this terrible drought. I want to collect my clothes washers rinse water. Can I store it in a barrel to use in garden? Do I need to add beneficial bacteria to water? Thanks

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 23 months ago from Australia Author

@Cathy I have heard about the drought you are having and hope that it breaks very soon !

It would depend on what washing medium you are using and what you are washing in your Machine!

Over here most washing powders/liquids are biodegradable so your clothes washer water 'should' be ok to put straight onto the garden.

However I would not use it on any plants that you are going to eat unless you run it through some sort of 'filtering' system first.

Bathwater and shower water can also be recycled in the same manner!

Most Hardware stores have a 'device' that you can fit into the outlet pipes to run into a barrel or straight out to the garden!

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