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Greywater

Reusing greywater can save hundreds of litres of fresh water used on gardens each day and offers an additional resource to help people go one step further in the effort to save water.

Greywater is generated from using a shower, bath, laundry, hand basin and kitchen (only when going to a greywater treatment system) – it doesn’t include water from the toilet, urinal or bidet.

How can Greywater be used?

Drinking water quality is not required to do everything around the home with water. Watering the garden and flushing the toilet, for example, are just as effective using greywater. By capturing some of the wastewater and re-using it, can reduce the strain on the town water supply and save money on water bills.

Using greywater can be as simple as bucketing it out by hand into the garden (cheap but a little labour intensive), or as complex as installing an automatic diversion, treatment and irrigation system (very convenient but more costly to set up).

Is approval necessary from Council to use greywater?

Manual bucketing of greywater for residential premises in sewered areas does not require prior approval from Council. Prior approval from Council is required a greywater diversion device is installed.

However, if the property is a single residential premises connected to the sewer, Council approval is not required if the conditions listed under Section 3.2 of the NSW Guidelines for Greywater Reuse in Sewered, Single Household Residential Premises are met.  

If re-use of greywater is to occur inside the home, treatment systems are necessary and Council approval is required to do this.

For further information, please refer to Shoalhaven City Council’s Sewage Management On-Site – Approvals and regulations, or contact the Development and Environmental Services Group on 02 4429 3598.

Is it safe to use Greywater?

Yes, provided it is used in the appropriate way. Grey water can contain certain disease-causing micro organisms, fats, oils, detergents, salt and other things derived from household and personal cleaning activities. However, if properly used, these pose little threat to health and the environment.

An effective way to improve the quality of greywater is to change the type of detergents, soaps and cleaning products used in the house. It certainly requires a little more effort from householders to organise greywater re-use but the benefits can be worthwhile.