Greywater reuse

Getting the most out of every drop

Greywater is reusable wastewater from washing machines, showers, baths and basins. It's easy and safe to access and use. Because it may contain valuable nutrients for plants, it can be used for irrigation all year round.

Using greywater safely

Using greywater is safe when it's used properly. However, if it isn't used properly it has potential to spread disease around your home and elsewhere. For example, infection can occur if untreated greywater is stored or used in a way where it can come into contact with birds, insects, pets or children.

Plants and greywater
Some soaps and detergents are harmful for your garden. Lanfax Laboratories, an independent laboratory, has researched popular laundry detergents and how they affect plants and soil.

3 ways to collect greywater

1. In a bucket

The cheapest way to collect greywater is in a bucket from your washing machine or shower. Use it to water your garden. You don't need permission to do this.

To prevent spills and bad odours, don't store greywater for more than one day. Also, don't use bucketed greywater on your garden when it's raining or when the soil is saturated. This will prevent your greywater running into neighbouring properties.

2. Greywater diversion devices

Greywater diversion devices direct your greywater to a small holding tank and then to an irrigation system below the soil surface. These systems should be self-draining so that greywater isn't stored for more than a day. They should also have a valve to divert greywater to wastewater pipes when it rains or the soil is saturated.

NSW Health maintains a register of accredited greywater diversion devicesThink about which device will work best for you. Consider:

  • cost
  • durability
  • ease of use
  • ease of installation
  • maintenance.

3. Greywater treatment systems

A greywater treatment system lets you store all the greywater your home generates, even when it's raining. When greywater is treated, it should be almost colourless and odourless. Treated greywater isn't drinkable, but you can use it to:

  • flush toilets
  • wash your clothes
  • water your garden using a hose, or spray or drip irrigation.

Many suppliers can provide greywater treatment systems. The Environmental Health team at NSW Health has accredited these suppliers.