Q: We were concerned earlier this summer about the issue of drought and we’re trying to find ways of preserving water at home. We’ve heard about the possibility of installing a ‘grey water system’ or ‘rainwater harvesting’ to reduce our water usage. Will this work for an existing home, and can you tell me more about it?
A: Grey water is the waste water that flows out from sinks, baths, hand-basins, washing machines, and kitchen appliances. Grey water is recycled, especially in large hotels, student hostels and similar places that use a high volume of water.
However, sinks and hand basins present problems as they can be used to prepare food and wash wounds. Therefore, the waste water could be contaminated with harmful bacteria that would require treatment before it can be used again safely. This means that a full greywater system may not be practical for your home because of the maintenance involved and the cost of installation. It doesn’t currently make economic sense for an existing home but this will certainly change as the technology develops.
It is, however, practical to consider a tank to capture and reuse bath and shower water to flush the toilet. Depending on the system, this may require filters and chemical treatment. In a rural setting, it may be more practical to use a ‘reed bed’ system to filter grey water.
Rainwater Harvesting for Your Home
In an Irish context, rainwater harvesting is a more practical alternative. Gathering rainwater is a technology that is thousands of years old.
It’s no secret that it rains a lot in Ireland. However, it is also common knowledge that any spell of dry weather, given the condition of the water infrastructure, usually means a hose-pipe ban. The crucial factor is…
Read more:: How do we cut down on our water wastage