Greywater can be a useful water resource, particularly during drought and water restrictions. It is a popular alternative to mains water as it places less pressure on Melbourne’s water supply and is exempt from the Victorian Government’s Permanent Water Use Rules.
Greywater is wastewater produced from non-toilet plumbing systems such as:
- baths or spas
- bathroom or kitchen sinks
- laundry troughs
- washing machines
It can be useful for:
- washing clothes
- toilet flushing
- watering your garden.
You will need to make sure greywater is handled and reused safely to reduce health and environmental risks. For example, your greywater should be properly treated before washing clothes and have low salt levels before watering your garden.
Whilst kitchen wastewater is technically greywater, we do not recommend using kitchen wastewater as it may contain food waste and other chemicals that are difficult to break down. Greywater containing kitchen wastewater requires a greywater treatment system that is certified to handle kitchen wastewater.
Before using greywater, consider:
- adopting other simple and effective ways to save water
- Using rainwater instead (it is a good quality and safe alternative).
The simplest way to collect and use greywater is to use a bucket or container. There are also a range of systems available, including:
- simple diversion systems (often available as simple greywater diverters from hardware stores)
- diversion and filtration systems
- diversion with treatment systems (more complex).
Visit EPA Victoria or the Australian Government's YourHome website for more information on using greywater in your home.
Using greywater in your home has several potential health and environmental risks. Here are some tips on using greywater safely:
- use the safest source of greywater possible
- use environmentally-friendly detergents and cleaners such as no or low-salt, low-phosphorous and biodegradable products.
- take care when using buckets and containers around young children and pets
- do not store greywater for more than 24 hours
- do not use greywater on edible plants such as vegetables
- never use greywater which has faecal contamination (e.g. water to wash nappies)
- use sub-surface irrigation where possible, and avoid spraying and hosing with greywater - this can spread chemicals and bacteria
- minimise strains and injuries when carrying buckets by applying correct heavy lifting techniques
- Monitor your greywater use by checking for odours or other signs that may indicate your system is not working effectively, such s yellowing plants or grass.
Visit the Australian Government's YourHome website for more information on using greywater safely.
In Frankston City, you do not need a permit for a simple diversion system.
Diversion and filtration systems may require a septic tank permit.
Complex diversion and treatment systems require EPA approval in both sewered and unsewered areas. You will also need to obtain a septic tank permit from Council
Visit our Septic Tanks page for more information.