Greywater Reuse: Types of Simple Systems


  1. From the Washing Machine

Typically, the washing machine is the easiest source of greywater to reuse because its greywater can be easily diverted without cutting into existing plumbing. Each washing machine has an internal pump which automatically pumps out the water. You can use that to pump the greywater directly to your plants.

  • Laundry Drum:

If you don’t want to spend much money on the system or have many hardscapes (patio/concrete) between your house and the area to irrigate, you should use a laundry drum system.

Washing water is pumped into a “drum,” temporary storage or a large barrel called a surge tank. The water at the bottom of the drum drains out into a hose which is moved around the yard to irrigate. This is the easiest and cheapest system to install, however, requires constant moving of the hose for the system to be effective at irrigating.

  • Laundry-to-Landscape:

If you’re looking for a system which takes very little maintenance and gives you flexibility in the plants you’re able to irrigate, you should use the laundry-to-landscape system invented by Art Ludwig.

This system doesn’t alter the household plumbing: the washing machine drain hose is directly attached to a diverter valve which switches the flow of greywater between the septic/sewer and the greywater irrigation system. This system is easy to install, low cost and gives flexibility for irrigation. Commonly, this is the perfect choice to start when choosing a greywater system.

  1. From the Shower:

The shower usually produces a lot of relatively clean water and is also a great source of greywater. To have a simple but effective shower system, you should use a gravity-based system without a pump. If your yard is located uphill from the house, you’ll need a pumped system.

  • Branched Drain: This system was also invented by Art Ludwig. In this system, the water is divided into smaller and smaller quantities by using a plumbing fitting which splits the flow. Each branch’s final outlet flows into a mulched basin. Branched drain systems require time to install, but once finished, they require only little maintenance and work well for the long term.