Photo by: Gary Ombler ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Gary Ombler, 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited



Graywater recycling systems range from the small to the large. A small-scale graywater system can be easily installed without professional help. These systems come in kit form with clear instructions. In addition to a filtration unit, you will need to buy extra waste pipe and the right connections, as well as a compatible water butt. This system is ideally suited for connection to bath or basin wastes.

Step 1

Large-Scale Systems

It is now possible to buy large tank storage and treatment systems that can cope with the majority of graywater produced in the home. This can then be fed back into the domestic system for most uses, except drinking water. A relatively complex system of filters and pumps cleans the water, discarding sediment and debris; the water is also treated with UV to kill off the most harmful bacteria. These tanks can be underground, similar to those for rainwater. Generally, however, upright tanks situated in the house are used. Some dual-sytems recycle rainwater and graywater.

Step 2

Adding a Graywater System

Mark on the waste pipe where you will fit the combination outlet. Allow space for the cut ends of the pipe to fit into the sockets of the outlet (Image 1).

Use a fine-toothed saw to cut out the section of pipe, following the guidelines as accurately as possible (Image 2).

Mark on the wall where you want to route the drainage pipe outside. Do this by temporarily fitting the outlet, or by holding it in the correct position (Image 3).

Drill a hole at the marked position, using a core drill bit. Fit a piece of waste pipe long enough to extend through the wall (Image 4).

Cut back the pipe on the exterior wall to a suitable length for connecting an elbow. Position the elbow on the cut section. Seal with silicone sealant (Image 5).

Fit lengths of waste pipe from the connecting elbow down to a point above, and adjacent to, the water butt. Screw in brackets to fix the pipe.

Assemble the filter unit and place it on the water butt, following guidelines about filter alignment. Fit the hose tail adaptor to the base of the waste pipe.

Use the hose to join the pipe to the filter. For all waste-pipe joints, use solvent cement to secure them in place. Secure the hose with a jubilee clip.

Step 3



Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Reed Beds

In addition to a composting toilet, a reed bed is an eco-friendly way of getting rid of blackwater. The toilet functions conventionally, except that the discharge runs into an underground primary chamber. Solid waste settles at the bottom of it (and needs to be pumped out periodically), while an overflow at the top takes the liquid waste onto a planted reed bed. The root system "treats" the water by filtering out potentially harmful bacteria, and oxygenating it to help beneficial micro-organisms thrive. Another pipe takes the treated water away, normally for garden irrigation.

Image shows the underground chamber and reed bed.

Multiple benefits

Reed beds are not only effective; they also provide an aesthetically pleasing feature that can host a large variety of wildlife.