Greywater Recyling Guidance for domestic use
This guide should be read in conjuction with Greywater recyling regulations.
If you plan to use greywater for irrigation, you must take into consideration the effect of any household cleaners and toiletries and detergents you use in your day to day life.
Chemicals to avoid altogether when using greywater for irrigation:
When household Ammonia is mixed into cleaning products, it reacts with the water particles to create ammonium and hydroxide ions. Ammonium ions can sometimes be used in fertilizers; in its aqueous form it is toxic to seedlings.
Bleach is often used to kill off fungal growth infestations in soil but unfortunately it also creates an hostile environment to grow plants.
Any surfactants within the cleaning products should be plant based and biodegradable to avoid any chemicals building up.
When choosing your cleaning products and toiletries, it is best to opt for options which are septic tank safe, plant based and biodegradable. This ensures that the bacteria aiding in the greywater treatment are healthy, and that no nasty chemicals will be released into the soil if used in irrigation.
Household ingredients can be used to create your own cleaning products. Baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice are all easy to source, great cleansers and won’t harm your plants when diluted and processed through a greywater system. Vinegar contains acetic acid which can destroy the cell lining of bacteria and viruses. Whilst it will not kill off 100% of the germs, it is very suitable against salmonella and E.Coli making it great to use in areas where food is prepared and stored.
Lemon has similar acids making its juice suitable to kill germs, bacteria and moulds.
Rubbing alcohol can also be used but in very diluted amounts as too much can make your soil unsuitable for plant growth.
When using greywater for irrigation, you must also consider the pH of the water. Any soap used will cause the water to be more alkaline, therefore your should avoid watering acid loving plants with greywater where you know soap and cleaners has been used.