Skip to main content

Water Storage - Storing Grey Water - Grey Water tank

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

After moving on to a large property without town water Peter had to learn quickly the best way to harvest rainwater and control grey water.

First Some Warnings about Storing Grey Water

There can be very serious health risks involved in storing Greywater incorrectly.

The risks vary due to what is present in the water, for example, nappy washing, washing pets, disposing of household chemicals.

Add in the exposure to the outside environment, things like disease carrying mosquitoes, flies, vermin etc.

So with that in mind here are some suggestions to consider before you even think about storing your Grey water:

  • Do not store your grey water anywhere that can be accessed by children or animals.
  • it is highly recommended that grey water is not stored for more than 24 hours.
  • Do not under any circumstances store your grey water in tanks that, at some stage may be storing potable rainwater.
  • Do not allow your grey water to flow from your property or into storm water drainage systems. In many areas this can attract a large fine.
  • If you have an excess of grey water, make sure it flows back into the proper system eg: septic, sewage.
  • It is advisable not to use your grey water to water vegetables especially ones that will not be cooked.
Greywater storage tank commercially available for under $500. notice the Lilac color!

Greywater storage tank commercially available for under $500. notice the Lilac color!

cutaway image of the Bowser greywater storage and distribution unit.

cutaway image of the Bowser greywater storage and distribution unit.

Grey Water Storage

For many years the idea of using the Wheelie Bin for water storage, both for rainfall and grey water, has been extensively put into practice. I bet the two that we lost from our Garbage collections went to this use !!!

The concept has been put to good use by one company who have come up with a complete package and they call it the "Home Water Bowser" ( this has to be an Aussie company).

The idea is to collect the grey water from your washing machine, showers, baths and basins, etc and then after some filtering you can use it on your garden. Advisable to only use it on non edible plants.

A powerful 550 Watt submersible pump is included in the Bowser and will provide a reasonable pressure.

Included in the package is a hose and nozzle and an external filter.

The motor is turned on and off automatically by a float switch. The pump can also be used for rainwater. The lid has a stainless steel inlet for accepting diverted rainwater from your down pipes!

Notice, it is in the Lilac color, which in Australia is used for recycled water and must never be used as potable water.

Filtering using Mother Nature' Method

A more natural way of filtering is by using the same methods that make natural rivers and streams clean… even considering that they collect their water from many square miles of catchment area. Things such as dirt, worms, and faecal matter. Beneficial bacteria break down these nasties into water-soluble plant food, and it is consumed by the plants, leaving us with pure water.

Please leave you opinion

© 2010 Peter


Peter (author) from Australia on April 04, 2015:

@Cathy I have heard about the drought you are having and hope that it breaks very soon !

Scroll to Continue

It would depend on what washing medium you are using and what you are washing in your Machine!

Over here most washing powders/liquids are biodegradable so your clothes washer water 'should' be ok to put straight onto the garden.

However I would not use it on any plants that you are going to eat unless you run it through some sort of 'filtering' system first.

Bathwater and shower water can also be recycled in the same manner!

Most Hardware stores have a 'device' that you can fit into the outlet pipes to run into a barrel or straight out to the garden!

Cathy on April 01, 2015:

I live in the California Sierras and want to do my part with this terrible drought. I want to collect my clothes washers rinse water. Can I store it in a barrel to use in garden? Do I need to add beneficial bacteria to water? Thanks

Peter (author) from Australia on June 27, 2012:

Hm, I don't like to criticize something that I cannot evaluate myself but...

How GreyWater is handled by the authorities in your area does seem rather shortsighted.

Today there are many systems available that bring this effluent water back to a very good quality grade water and I do hope that is what 'your' authorities are doing when they remove your waste water with their 'honey-wagons' (what a great name...)

I certainly don't envy your situation, it takes me back to the early 1900's when we had the 'night-man' come to the back of our house and make a collection from the 'dunny'.

meinolf thanks for sharing your story it certainly adds to the discussion and it is much appreciated :-)

meinolf from Canada on June 24, 2012:

My cottage is in an area that no longer allows the effluent of septic or greywatwer systems to be discharged into the soil, period. Rather, it is collected by "honey-wagons" and hauled to a "lagoon" 30kms away. I don't know what happens after that. Each such event costs over $70, so obviously it is desireable to reduce the frequency, i.e. hold the wastes of life in a big tank. The current wisdom is a 1000gal(or more) tank buried on the cottage lot, for all wastes, grey and black. Since plumbing drains have to be vented to work, obviously the odours are escaping into the air hopefully high-enough to be unnoticeable, like in the city. In practice, the buried tanks themselves often stink, and the odour downwind of a working honey-wagon is terrible, and can be smelled a km away. I marvel at the fact that we still don't know how to deal with crap, except by moving it elsewhere.

I sincerely hope some genius will figure it out!

Peter (author) from Australia on June 29, 2010:

attemptedhumour thanks very much for all the information it is filed away for future research!

attemptedhumour from Australia on June 28, 2010:

No i haven't read Ernies Gold mine hubs yet but i will now. Linda did all the research for the solar power so she will explain it to you. She also likes photography.

Peter (author) from Australia on June 28, 2010:

Keith, we also have Solar Hot Water on both of our houses here in the South East of Melbourne and find it saves us quite a bit of money. We are also seriously considering Solar Power. We are also running septic tanks ourselves at the moment but may have to do something about that in the near future. I would love to hear your information on the unit that you have chosen?

Ernie (earnestshub) would certainly be the man for the job he is a bushman from way back. Did you read his Gold mine Hubs? They are a great read!

attemptedhumour from Australia on June 28, 2010:

Thanks for the advice, we've only just settled on our 'shack', we will be making a lot of improvements. We will install a compost toilet, It's Swedish and is the most efficient one that we can find. We are also looking at solar power and solar hot water. We installed solar on our house here in Thornbury which is working beautifully, and economically.

Ernie spent a day with us up at the Shack helping with a fire assessment strategy. The previous owners did install some gravel/stone trenches but we haven't checked them thoroughly as yet. Must dash thanks for the advise Keith and Linda

Peter (author) from Australia on June 27, 2010:

Hi Keith I'm sure Linda and yourself will have some great times up in East Warburton. I know that area and love it up there. Knowing what I do about the local council it surprises me that they have not caught up with you and insisted that you put in some sort of filtering system.

From the research that I have done you must keep your 'greywater' and 'human waste' separate. It is also not advisable to add your kitchen sink waste to greywater!

Depending on the use (number of people x number of visits)of your weekender I feel that the 'Wheelie bin' would be OK. Keith the technology for handling grey water is advancing at a great pace. I have put a link capsule directly under the comments please browse through the links for more information!

attemptedhumour from Australia on June 27, 2010:

Hi I'm Keith Buffey I'm also a friend of Earnest. My wife Linda and I have just bought a weekender up at East Warburton. There is no sewage or sceptic tank. The grey water from the sink and shower ran out of a pipe under the house and then down the hill. We wondered if one of the wheelie bins would be suitable for our needs? Another question would be about the flittering system as the company web site only talks about the pump and not about the filter? Regards Keith

Peter (author) from Australia on May 08, 2010:

Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment. Greywater Storage can be a problem and if it is not done correctly can lead to problems down the track!

susanlang on May 08, 2010:

Good hub, I enjoyed reading.

Peter (author) from Australia on April 02, 2010:

Trina Tune thanks for your great comment and it is great to see what you are doing with your greywater. I believe there may be a long term problem that may arise if you do not filter the water before putting it on the soil.

What may happen is that the sufficants (fillers) although in themselves not toxic may eventually clog the soil and do some damage to the tree. The worry with this is that the process is virtually irreversible. Australian native trees although hardy to the environment are very susceptible to changes in their soil condition! I am no expert on this and I would really like to hear what other people think on the matter.

Trina Tune from Sydney, Australia on April 02, 2010:

I let my washing machine grey water go directly on the trees at the back of my yard. I make sure I use a 'garden safe' washing powder. So far so good.

Peter (author) from Australia on March 31, 2010:

LeonJane, to me for the small house or flat the wheelie bin idea is one of the best ones going around. You don't need ot go for the whole set-up. You can pick the bin up for about $90 and using the water on the garden, my guess is that it would be paid for in about 12 months.

Cheers and thanks for dropping by with your great comment :-)

Peter (author) from Australia on March 31, 2010:

earnestshub, you betcha, as King of Water conservation and storage the first thing I would do is to make Water a National Project. Then stop the desalination plants and do a feasibility study on ALL of the rainfall and catchment areas in Australia. I do not believe that we need to desalinate the Oceans to get our water, we are only creating another problem for our Grandchildren to correct in 100 or so years.

earnestshub, thanks for coming around and leaving a nice comment:-)

LeonJane from Australia on March 31, 2010:

Interesting use of a Wheelie Bin, I'll have to read more about that grey water 'tank'.

earnestshub from Melbourne Australia on March 31, 2010:

agvulpes if you are appointed king of water conservation and storage will you get the government to put some more money in to water conservation?

It's getting to where we need to do something more for many of our cities in Australia.

Peter (author) from Australia on March 31, 2010:

Thank you for your kind word :-)

Destiny Rose on March 31, 2010:

Nice :)

Water Wise on March 30, 2010:

Another excellent Hub on saving Greywater. After reading several of your Hubs and as other commentors have expressed, you are the go to person for great and easy to follow information on how to save our precious water, and I also agree you are fast becoming King of our water conservation.

I look forward to reading more of your Hubs on saving water and other topics as they are published.

I will put these in my Favorites!

Peter (author) from Australia on March 30, 2010:

earnestshub, you are correct I see that Sydney is now using greywater in their water supply so it won't be long before it happens in Melbourne :-)

earnestshub from Melbourne Australia on March 30, 2010:

Another great hub agvulpes.

Grey water storage is an important subject. I know one thing for sure. We will all be using grey water soon!

Peter (author) from Australia on March 30, 2010:

Darlene Sabella, thanks for coming and having a look at my Hubs. I would have thought that the place where you live would not be short of water? But I'm told that pure rainwater is wonderful to wash your hair. I will certainly have a look at your articles :-)

Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on March 30, 2010:

Great article, you make it so easy to understand and I wish I could have a place to store water, not gray water, just the rain water for the garden. Thanks for sharing. If you find time come and check out of few of my articles...

Related Articles