Guide to greywater systems

We take you through greywater options, from simple diversion to 'Class A' treatment systems.
 
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  • Updated:2 Jan 2008
 

01 .Greywater systems

Water

In brief

  • Some greywater systems cost less than $1000, some cost over $10,000, and water quality varies accordingly.
  • There are two main options: diversion devices and treatment systems. The best option for you will depend on how much greywater you produce, the size of your garden, and your budget
  • Greywater recycling is not for everyone — for some people the costs (and risks) will outweigh the benefits.

With water restrictions operating in many parts of Australia, people are looking at ways to save water or save their garden — or both. Rainwater tanks are one option (if you’re getting any rainfall). Recycling greywater is another logical option: after all, you don’t need drinking-quality water to water the garden or flush the toilet.

Please note: this information was current as of January 2008 but is still a useful guide to today's market.


What is greywater?

  •  It's the waste water from showers, baths, spas, handbasins, laundry tubs and washing machines. Water from dishwashers and kitchen sinks is often referred to as dark greywater, because it has a higher load of chemicals, fats and other organic matter. Water from toilets is called black water.
  • It’s estimated that just over half of total household water could be recycled as greywater, saving potentially hundreds of litres of water per day.
  • Greywater 'systems' range from a simple hose diverting water from the washing machine to the garden, to treatment systems that treat greywater for use in your washing machine or toilet, as well as the garden.

Risks to consider

Using untreated greywater on the garden can be relatively cheap and easy, but can be risky for several reasons:

  • Potential exposure to disease-causing pathogens.
  • Damaging salts and chemicals could kill your plants and ruin the soil.
  • Run-off could escape your boundaries and create problems for neighbours.

CHOICE verdict

Installing a greywater treatment system will give you safer water and more options to reuse it, but it’s expensive and needs regular maintenance. Buying one probably won’t save you much money on water costs over time, but it might save your garden — a valuable part of your house — if you can’t use tap water in times of high-level water restrictions.

Not only your garden will benefit. Any sort of greywater recycling will reduce how much water you use and the amount of water going into the sewerage system. Combined with water conservation measures and a rainwater tank, you’ll be doing your bit for the environment.

More information

Greywater is a complex substance and there are many things to consider if you’re to use it safely and to maximum benefit. The NSW Department of Water and Energy has a very comprehensive set of guidelines for greywater use in households, including figures to help you calculate your water use and needs. There’s a link from its greywater main page.

 
 

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John's opinion:

  • Member since: 02 Jul 13
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6 MONTHS AGO | Ditto re the lightness of the article. There are several websites ranking on google that are not covered. And I would appreciated Choice doing what I quickly do to estimate coverage, i.e. using narrow criteria such as an exact age and height to get a count of all members of that subset within n km of a particular locality, which allows accurate extrapolation. Choice could then follow through by paying to contact a small percentage of members to check that they are real currently active individuals; this would be expensive for large numbers, but could check if the smaller websites are stuffing their database with fake accounts. This is the sort of stuff I would expect a consumer watchdog to do, instead of relying on the websites' reported figures.

An analysis of photos could figure out how many people use more than one website - there is nothing wrong with doing so, but it can mean that there is little point re being active on the smaller sites. You could also give more of a run down on demographics - e.g. RSVP seems more white collar, seemed OKcupid more blue collar. Personally, I've given up on PlentyOfFish, OKcupid (although I really like its concept), and eHarmony - they just didn't have who I wanted. The price of an RSVP stamp seems to dissuade time-wasting. The fact that they are cheaper in bulk perhaps encourages people to stay with the one account rather than proliferate accounts, which hopefully encourages honesty. RSVP seems to have won the critical mass war, although I could well imagine new paradigms such as enforcing honest self representation could allow market shifts. Thanks to Jane for raising iqcatch.com - I also noticed relationships.answers.com/adult-singles-dating/intelligence-based-dating-sites-for-mensa-minds has stuff on niche sites. Given that the wikipedia page listing dating sites seems to be dominated by vested interests, it would be great if Choice could provide moderation of members' reported experiences.

Another useful thing Choice could do is survey a representative sample of the population re their experiences, and report that.

Personally, I have found internet dating to be great - you get to think about compatibility before physical sexual attraction shuts down one's brain, so it has many of the advantages of the arranged marriages that have so long been the norm in most of the world. It might even lower the divorce rate. Reproduction is up there on Maslow's only shortly after oxygen, so it would be great if Choice could help us all do it more intelligently.

 

 
 

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Sarah's opinion:

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6 MONTHS AGO | To be honest, I was expecting a little more from Choice than just a rundown of the prices and a few opinions or case studies. How about some thoughtful criticism?

 

 
 

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ileneni's opinion:

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7 MONTHS AGO | I met my husband via internet dating. And I know other 7 steady couples that have met that way (5 mid 30's & 2 over 50's). I suppose the stigma is fading out. We now find houses, jobs and goods online. So it only makes sense. Having said that, I did meet someone who was lying and was actually married. Very sad as her wife called me so I was honest with her. So overall a good experience but 1 in 4 is dodgy but you just move on. My guess is in a pub 3 out of 4 is dodgy so my take is you are better off with internet dating.

 

 
 

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Michael Camilleri's opinion:

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4 YEARS AGO | It's entirely clear here that $name is a very important thing. I just believe the review could have entailed a little more information. lol ;)

 

 
 

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John's opinion:

  • Member since: 02 Jul 13
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6 MONTHS AGO | Ditto re the lightness of the article. There are several websites ranking on google that are not covered. And I would appreciated Choice doing what I quickly do to estimate coverage, i.e. using narrow criteria such as an exact age and height to get a count of all members of that subset within n km of a particular locality, which allows accurate extrapolation. Choice could then follow through by paying to contact a small percentage of members to check that they are real currently active individuals; this would be expensive for large numbers, but could check if the smaller websites are stuffing their database with fake accounts. This is the sort of stuff I would expect a consumer watchdog to do, instead of relying on the websites' reported figures.

An analysis of photos could figure out how many people use more than one website - there is nothing wrong with doing so, but it can mean that there is little point re being active on the smaller sites. You could also give more of a run down on demographics - e.g. RSVP seems more white collar, seemed OKcupid more blue collar. Personally, I've given up on PlentyOfFish, OKcupid (although I really like its concept), and eHarmony - they just didn't have who I wanted. The price of an RSVP stamp seems to dissuade time-wasting. The fact that they are cheaper in bulk perhaps encourages people to stay with the one account rather than proliferate accounts, which hopefully encourages honesty. RSVP seems to have won the critical mass war, although I could well imagine new paradigms such as enforcing honest self representation could allow market shifts. Thanks to Jane for raising iqcatch.com - I also noticed relationships.answers.com/adult-singles-dating/intelligence-based-dating-sites-for-mensa-minds has stuff on niche sites. Given that the wikipedia page listing dating sites seems to be dominated by vested interests, it would be great if Choice could provide moderation of members' reported experiences.

Another useful thing Choice could do is survey a representative sample of the population re their experiences, and report that.

Personally, I have found internet dating to be great - you get to think about compatibility before physical sexual attraction shuts down one's brain, so it has many of the advantages of the arranged marriages that have so long been the norm in most of the world. It might even lower the divorce rate. Reproduction is up there on Maslow's only shortly after oxygen, so it would be great if Choice could help us all do it more intelligently.

 

 
 

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Sarah's opinion:

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6 MONTHS AGO | To be honest, I was expecting a little more from Choice than just a rundown of the prices and a few opinions or case studies. How about some thoughtful criticism?

 

 
 

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ileneni's opinion:

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7 MONTHS AGO | I met my husband via internet dating. And I know other 7 steady couples that have met that way (5 mid 30's & 2 over 50's). I suppose the stigma is fading out. We now find houses, jobs and goods online. So it only makes sense. Having said that, I did meet someone who was lying and was actually married. Very sad as her wife called me so I was honest with her. So overall a good experience but 1 in 4 is dodgy but you just move on. My guess is in a pub 3 out of 4 is dodgy so my take is you are better off with internet dating.

 

 
 

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Michael Camilleri's opinion:

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4 YEARS AGO | It's entirely clear here that $name is a very important thing. I just believe the review could have entailed a little more information. lol ;)

 

 
 

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John's opinion:

  • Member since: 02 Jul 13
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6 MONTHS AGO | Ditto re the lightness of the article. There are several websites ranking on google that are not covered. And I would appreciated Choice doing what I quickly do to estimate coverage, i.e. using narrow criteria such as an exact age and height to get a count of all members of that subset within n km of a particular locality, which allows accurate extrapolation. Choice could then follow through by paying to contact a small percentage of members to check that they are real currently active individuals; this would be expensive for large numbers, but could check if the smaller websites are stuffing their database with fake accounts. This is the sort of stuff I would expect a consumer watchdog to do, instead of relying on the websites' reported figures.

An analysis of photos could figure out how many people use more than one website - there is nothing wrong with doing so, but it can mean that there is little point re being active on the smaller sites. You could also give more of a run down on demographics - e.g. RSVP seems more white collar, seemed OKcupid more blue collar. Personally, I've given up on PlentyOfFish, OKcupid (although I really like its concept), and eHarmony - they just didn't have who I wanted. The price of an RSVP stamp seems to dissuade time-wasting. The fact that they are cheaper in bulk perhaps encourages people to stay with the one account rather than proliferate accounts, which hopefully encourages honesty. RSVP seems to have won the critical mass war, although I could well imagine new paradigms such as enforcing honest self representation could allow market shifts. Thanks to Jane for raising iqcatch.com - I also noticed relationships.answers.com/adult-singles-dating/intelligence-based-dating-sites-for-mensa-minds has stuff on niche sites. Given that the wikipedia page listing dating sites seems to be dominated by vested interests, it would be great if Choice could provide moderation of members' reported experiences.

Another useful thing Choice could do is survey a representative sample of the population re their experiences, and report that.

Personally, I have found internet dating to be great - you get to think about compatibility before physical sexual attraction shuts down one's brain, so it has many of the advantages of the arranged marriages that have so long been the norm in most of the world. It might even lower the divorce rate. Reproduction is up there on Maslow's only shortly after oxygen, so it would be great if Choice could help us all do it more intelligently.

 

 
 

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Sarah's opinion:

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6 MONTHS AGO | To be honest, I was expecting a little more from Choice than just a rundown of the prices and a few opinions or case studies. How about some thoughtful criticism?

 

 
 

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ileneni's opinion:

  • Member since: 28 Feb 14
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7 MONTHS AGO | I met my husband via internet dating. And I know other 7 steady couples that have met that way (5 mid 30's & 2 over 50's). I suppose the stigma is fading out. We now find houses, jobs and goods online. So it only makes sense. Having said that, I did meet someone who was lying and was actually married. Very sad as her wife called me so I was honest with her. So overall a good experience but 1 in 4 is dodgy but you just move on. My guess is in a pub 3 out of 4 is dodgy so my take is you are better off with internet dating.

 

 
 

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Michael Camilleri's opinion:

  • Member since: 28 Jun 13
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4 YEARS AGO | It's entirely clear here that $name is a very important thing. I just believe the review could have entailed a little more information. lol ;)

 

 
 

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John's opinion:

  • Member since: 02 Jul 13
  • 4 Comments
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6 MONTHS AGO | Ditto re the lightness of the article. There are several websites ranking on google that are not covered. And I would appreciated Choice doing what I quickly do to estimate coverage, i.e. using narrow criteria such as an exact age and height to get a count of all members of that subset within n km of a particular locality, which allows accurate extrapolation. Choice could then follow through by paying to contact a small percentage of members to check that they are real currently active individuals; this would be expensive for large numbers, but could check if the smaller websites are stuffing their database with fake accounts. This is the sort of stuff I would expect a consumer watchdog to do, instead of relying on the websites' reported figures.

An analysis of photos could figure out how many people use more than one website - there is nothing wrong with doing so, but it can mean that there is little point re being active on the smaller sites. You could also give more of a run down on demographics - e.g. RSVP seems more white collar, seemed OKcupid more blue collar. Personally, I've given up on PlentyOfFish, OKcupid (although I really like its concept), and eHarmony - they just didn't have who I wanted. The price of an RSVP stamp seems to dissuade time-wasting. The fact that they are cheaper in bulk perhaps encourages people to stay with the one account rather than proliferate accounts, which hopefully encourages honesty. RSVP seems to have won the critical mass war, although I could well imagine new paradigms such as enforcing honest self representation could allow market shifts. Thanks to Jane for raising iqcatch.com - I also noticed relationships.answers.com/adult-singles-dating/intelligence-based-dating-sites-for-mensa-minds has stuff on niche sites. Given that the wikipedia page listing dating sites seems to be dominated by vested interests, it would be great if Choice could provide moderation of members' reported experiences.

Another useful thing Choice could do is survey a representative sample of the population re their experiences, and report that.

Personally, I have found internet dating to be great - you get to think about compatibility before physical sexual attraction shuts down one's brain, so it has many of the advantages of the arranged marriages that have so long been the norm in most of the world. It might even lower the divorce rate. Reproduction is up there on Maslow's only shortly after oxygen, so it would be great if Choice could help us all do it more intelligently.

 

 
 

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Sarah's opinion:

  • Member since: 18 Feb 12
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6 MONTHS AGO | To be honest, I was expecting a little more from Choice than just a rundown of the prices and a few opinions or case studies. How about some thoughtful criticism?

 

 
 

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ileneni's opinion:

  • Member since: 28 Feb 14
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7 MONTHS AGO | I met my husband via internet dating. And I know other 7 steady couples that have met that way (5 mid 30's & 2 over 50's). I suppose the stigma is fading out. We now find houses, jobs and goods online. So it only makes sense. Having said that, I did meet someone who was lying and was actually married. Very sad as her wife called me so I was honest with her. So overall a good experience but 1 in 4 is dodgy but you just move on. My guess is in a pub 3 out of 4 is dodgy so my take is you are better off with internet dating.

 

 
 

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Michael Camilleri's opinion:

  • Member since: 28 Jun 13
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4 YEARS AGO | It's entirely clear here that $name is a very important thing. I just believe the review could have entailed a little more information. lol ;)

 

 
 

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