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Author Topic: watering with greywater  (Read 4126 times)

Offline JPinMO

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watering with greywater
« on: July 24, 2013, 01:17:04 AM »
Ok, gardeners -- what is your opinion on using greywater? (Leftover dishwater, maybe even bath/shower water).

Since I'm paying for every gallon (city water), I'm trying to conserve where I can. We had .4" of rain Saturday morning, which was the first in more than three weeks.

I have read very conflicting reports on whether it is safe to use on your garden. What about dumping it at the base of your trees? After last year's severe drought (and 2011 was pretty dry, too), I really don't want to lose the nice trees in the yard of this house we just bought two years ago.

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cannot be trusted in large ones either."  Albert Einstein

Offline RC

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Re: watering with greywater
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2013, 08:36:18 AM »
I water several fruit trees and grapevines with grey water from the washing machine. They are the best looking plants on my farm. I have one Bee Bee tree that gets this water, too. It's 1 year old and about 8 feet tall. The other 2 I have are less than half that size and get only rain.
There are several books written on this subject and the general consensus is that it's safe. I think Mother Earth magazine has done a few articles on it, too.
My grandmother threw her dishwater on the garden as long as I can remember. It wasn't a matter of being green at the time, that generation just didn't believe in wasting anything.

Offline mikecva

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Re: watering with greywater
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2013, 12:27:34 PM »
I have used gray-water on trees and flowers for years. In my garden I use water from my downspouts thru a barrel and then a weeper hose. I will be interested to see what Mother Earth magazine and others have to say.  -Mike
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 01:18:44 PM by mikecva »
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Offline kathyp

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Re: watering with greywater
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2013, 12:31:05 PM »
i do it too.  1/2 the water from my house-laundry, showers, and bathtubs, goes to the garden and trees.  it's not legal in all places, so check local laws.  that way you know whether or not you can share your practices with your neighbors  ;)
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Online sawdstmakr

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Re: watering with greywater
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2013, 01:47:43 PM »
I lived in Bermuda in the 70's. Only water available was what you caught on the roof. I met a woman who had fantastic gardens. While I was there she was taking the water from her washing machine to water her plants. I asked her about the bleach and she said the plants love it because it kills some of the bad bacteria.
We have water plants here in Florida that they use to remove heavy metals and toxins from the water and then they are so safe they use them for feed. Even the Zoo uses them for this and then feeds them to the animals.
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Offline Anybrew

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Re: watering with greywater
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2013, 07:23:51 PM »
All my grey and treated black water is 100% recycled and used to irrigate my fruit tree's and garden in general.  I have town water piped to me, but we have no sewerage systems available. So we have to use our own, which consists on specially made tanks and aerators etc. When the water raises to a certain level it pumps out through drippers  and waters everything.

The tree's love it.

Offline JWChesnut

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Re: watering with greywater
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2013, 04:08:21 AM »
Most washing machine soaps/detergents are high in Sodium.  This causes clay soils to "gel".  The clay gets sticky and the soil loses aeration.  If you live in an area with high clay content, really large quantities of gypsum helps counteract the detergent issue.  Gypsum is CaSO4-- and the Ca replaces the Na (Sodium) in the soil gel, allowing the Na to wash down and out of the root zone.  In high drought areas with "adobe" soils, the sodium can build up and be negative (salts the plants). 

If you live in an area with sand soil - high drainage, this is not an issue.  If you live in a hard water area with lots of replaceable Ca or Mg, the sodium is taken care of by the water.

In former times (and some dishwashing detergents still), detergent had sodium tri-phosphates as the anionic.  This provided substantial phosphate fertilizer to the plants (and caused lake waters to have algae blooms from the fertilization).  Phosphate detergents are widely banned for this reason.

As long as you are not watering uncooked vegetables, you can consider grey waters generally hazard free in terms of parasites/microbes.  Most success  installs have some sort of sump (bark, horse bedding, etc)  so water does not appear on the surface.  I've installed a couple of pump assisted system and I cannot recommend those (maintenance nightmare, and expensive was to waste a grinder pump)>

Offline carlfaba10t

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Re: watering with greywater
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2013, 03:46:26 PM »
I built a simple recycling system using a 1000 gal. tank with small jet pump to pump grey water from bath,kitchen sink and washing machine into a 8ft x 8ft x 2ft high box built from rough sawn 2"x12" boards lined with black plastic and filled with,bottom 1ft level sand then old charcoal from burning oak brush and limbs,then added about 1ft 3/4 round gravel.water was filtered before being pumped to small rotary sprinkler set in center on top of gravel.The output was from a 2" pvc water line attached to bottom that ran directly into garden.I had sweet corn 9ft tall with 3 ears per stalk.Used it for about 6 years before cleaning it out. :)
Carl-I have done so much with so little for so long i can now do something with nothing!

Offline hjon71

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Re: watering with greywater
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2013, 08:37:08 PM »
This is new to me. And at first I thought "You gotta be nuts" but now I want to do this. Guess I need to go see someone about permits???
Quite difficult matters can be explained even to a slow-witted man, if only he has not already adopted a wrong opinion about them; but the simplest things cannot be made clear even to a very intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he already knows, and knows indubitably, the truth of the matter under consideration. -Leo Tolstoy

Offline Mackayboi

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Re: watering with greywater
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2013, 11:55:59 AM »
Grey Water is a great way to water gardens. Probably common sense would suggest to make sure no harsh chemicals get into the grey water system.

I want to modify the drain of the laundry and the shower to go towards the gardens.

Probably a good idea is to use a reservoir tank as mentioned by other members.

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: watering with greywater
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2013, 12:36:48 AM »
My father ran all of the downspouts from the house and garage into a drainpipe that empties into our seasonal creek. I want to redirect this by making a subterranean irrigation system throughout the garden before it empties into the creek.  1 inch perforated pipe set 15 inches deep ought to do the trick.
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