The water that’s collected, stored and treated by grey water systems can be reused for various indoor and outdoor applications. Homeowners often use this water to flush toilets, wash clothes and irrigate plants. But, is grey water safe for your plants?
When you reuse grey water for your garden, you can significantly reduce your household’s potable water use. Remember, however, to take the following precautions to ensure the water is safe:
Consider your plants
Some plants are better suited to grey water than others. Shrubs and vines such as blackberries and raspberries thrive on grey water. Unfortunately, that is not the case for acid-loving plants. Grey water tends to be alkaline because of the cleaning products it contains, thus, it is not an excellent match for plants that prefer acidic soils. Acid-loving plants include ferns, blueberries, camellias and azaleas.
Choose biodegradable household products
If you grow acid-loving plants in your garden, you might have to lower the alkaline level of your grey water at home to ensure it’s safe for your plants. One way to do that is to switch to eco-friendly household cleaning products.
Buy products that contain low sodium, nitrogen, phosphorous and chlorine. Equally, avoid using bleaches, disinfectants and fabric softeners that will increase the number of harmful chemicals in your grey water. But remember, some non-phosphate detergents may raise the salt content of your grey water to a level several plants may not tolerate.
Choose an appropriate grey water treatment system
With an appropriate grey water system, you can separate grey water from black water at the source and treat it in environment-friendly ways. Make sure to filter grey water to remove solids or reduce these to tolerable levels. Also, don’t put toxic things such as bleach, cleansers, chemicals, boron-products and bath salts down the drain and into your grey water treatment system.
Don’t use grey water on vegetables that’ll be eaten raw
Preferably, use grey water on ornamental plants, lawns and trees. Avoid using it on vegetables and fruits, especially if these are to be consumed raw or partially cooked.
Using grey water in your garden can help you save potable water at home, as well as reduce your monthly water bills. But of course, do everything to ensure grey water at your home is safe for plants.