What is greywater?

'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, which is considered 'blackwater'.

By capturing some of the wastewater and re-using it, can also reduce the strain on the town water supply and save money on water bills.

How can greywater be used?

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 it safe to use greywater?

Greywater has a high chance of carrying microorganisms and disease-causing micro organisms, fats, oils, detergents, salt and other things derived from household and personal cleaning activities that make it unsafe for people to drink. However, if properly used, these pose little threat to health and the environment.

Greywater isn't suitable for use on your veggie garden, fruit trees, or areas where kids and animals play, but for watering decorative parts of your garden or for flushing toilets in your home, it can be a great way to save drinkable water for where you need it most.

An effective way to improve the quality of greywater is to change the type of detergents, soaps and cleaning products used in the house.

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 if 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 the NSW Health Guidelines for Greywater Reuse in Sewered Single Domestic 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 contact Shoalhaven City Council on 02 4429 3598.