At home

Greywater

Greywater is the drain-waste from your shower, bath, spa, hand basins, laundry tub, washing machine, dishwasher and kitchen sink. It doesn't include water from toilets, urinals or bidets.

Recycling greywater

As well as saving hundreds of litres of fresh water each day – cutting your consumption and bills – recycling greywater also helps to reduce the amount of sewage discharged to the ocean and rivers.

Is greywater safe?

All forms of household wastewater are potentially detrimental to human health and may pollute the environment, but if used carefully can be a valuable resource. When installing greywater devices and systems, it is essential to follow the Water 4 Life guidelines to ensure the health and safety of your household and community.

Greywater devices and treatment systems

These can be purchased from some hardware stores or direct from the manufacturer and require a plumber to install. NSW Health keeps a register of WaterMark licensed suppliers of domestic greywater diversion devices and accredited greywater treatment systems.

Ways of collecting greywater

  • Manual bucketing: Small quantities captured in a bucket for re-use on gardens or lawns. No council approval is required.
  • Diversion: Using devices to redirect greywater outside to gardens or lawns using sub-surface irrigation. Council approval is required and needs a plumber to install.
  • Treatment: Systems for recycling water to use inside the home (e.g. toilet flushing, washing machine), as well as outside on gardens or lawns. Council approval is required and needs a plumber to install.

 

The best source of information about installing, treating and using greywater devices and treatment systems is your local council or water utility. If you live within the Greater Sydney area, contact Sydney Water. The Water for Life Greywater Fact Sheet (PDF 2.1MB) gives an excellent checklist for installing diversion devices.

In areas registered as environmentally sensitive, council approval is needed to divert greywater. The NSW Office of Water maintains a register of environmentally sensitive areas for reuse of greywater.

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Page last updated: 10 December 2015