Grey Water Recycling System: All That You Need To Know

water sprinkler in a lawn

A grey water recycling system can effectively purify the dirtiest water 

Among all things home improvement, the grey water recycling system is quickly gaining popularity thanks to its unmatched decontamination abilities. And that’s despite the fact that a lot of municipalities still don’t allow residents to install grey water systems. 

Wondering what’s so special about these recycling systems? 

You see, although our home water purification systems cleanse municipal or well water quite efficiently, they’re not without their limits. After all, you’ve still got to rely on some source of water supply. 

And apart from adding to your utility costs, these sources of water supply are also not always dependable. Think about an instance where a hurricane or storm wipes out the energy supply or damages some vital systems at a treatment plant. This can interrupt water supply for weeks, if not months. 

In fact, that’s exactly what happened after Hurricane Ian when the worst hit parts of Florida ran out of water after electricity went out and water lines got severed. 

Nonetheless, a few homes with a grey water system were able to cope well. That’s because grey water recycling systems reduce your dependence on municipal water significantly. 

Now, if you’re puzzled as to what exactly these grey water systems are and what they’ve in store for you, you’re at the right place. 

Read on, as we’ve answered all your questions regarding grey water recycling. 

What is a grey water recycling system? 

the filter used in a grey water recycling system

Generally speaking, a grey water recycling unit is designed to treat such water in a residential or commercial property that’d otherwise go to waste.

And to do so, it uses top-notch filtration systems and a complex yet effective filtration process to get rid of almost every impurity. 

A grey water system isn’t like your regular home water purification systems, which are standalone units. Rather, you can think of it as an intricate and multi-layered system that diverts the used water from your home to a recycling system instead of the sewage. 

That’s interesting. Isn’t it? 

Now, before we get into the working and utility of these recycling systems, let’s see what grey water is and why reusing it makes sense. 

What is grey water? 

As you might already have figured out, grey water is such water that you’ve already used for purposes such as showering, laundry, dishwashing, gardening, etc. And it’s not just homes that generate grey water, as commercial buildings also have similar water usage. 

This water typically flows into the drainage system of the property and further into the sewage. Also, if not collected and treated for reuse, grey water makes its way into the rivers, lakes, and other water bodies. 

Note: Some people confuse grey water for black water, which isn’t true. So, while you can find soap, dirt, and some microbial content in grey water, it doesn’t contain any human waste.

Meaning you can recycle and reuse grey water on your property, albeit for limited purposes. 

Why should you recycle grey water? 

Having learned about grey water and its recycling potential, you’re sure to wonder why you should recycle this water in the first place. More so as our municipal and other sources of water supply are reliable enough for our day-to-day needs. 

Well, if figures from the National Library of Medicine are any suggestion, an average home’s grey water generation accounts for about 69 percent of the total water consumption. Also, the figures aren’t very different for commercial establishments. 

And saving this water serves two purposes: 

  • First, with grey water recycling, you can expect much lower water bills. In fact, some property owners even admitted to having saved over 75 percent or two-thirds of their average water bills. 
  • Second, by recycling grey water, you can help protect the ecology since this water flows back to lakes and rivers, thus polluting them. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency suggests that this could be a major source of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the major water bodies. 

How does a grey water recycling system work? 

working of a commercial grey water recycling system

A grey water filtration unit is typically installed underground at an outdoor location and is connected to the drainage line of the property. 

For instance, when installing a water recycling system at your home, you’ll most likely get the unit installed in your yard and connect it to the grey water drain pipes. 

Herein, the grey water system will collect the water flowing from the sink, shower, laundry machine, dishwasher, etc., and store it in a tank. A filtration system will then clean this water by passing it through multiple filters. 

Also, depending on the type of recycling system, the recycled water is either stored in a separate tank or diverted into a plumbing system. 

Here are three components essential for the working of a grey water system: 

1. Grey water storage tank 

This is the main tank that collects all the grey water from a building and stores it for recycling. 

While these tanks have a high storage capacity, you can also find an in-built valve for overflow which is further connected to the main drainage line. And this ensures that the excess grey water flows right into the sewage system and that the filtration system runs smoothly without leaks or seepages. 

2. Water filters 

Filters are the mainstay of grey water systems as they turn your wastewater into usable water. 

A recycling system can have multiple sophisticated layers of water filtration systems for removing impurities such as dirt, soapy content, microorganisms, etc. Also, you’ll usually find a filtration membrane responsible for capturing and removing soap, lint, hair, and other particles. 

3. Recycled water storage tank

After the filtration process, the clean water is transferred to a secondary tank which is further connected to the plumbing systems where this water will be used.  

Note: Some grey water system models don’t have a secondary tank. These systems use a different filtration process wherein the grey water is directly flown through a filter and then stored in the primary tank itself. 

Is it possible to install a DIY grey water recycling system? 

Like all things DIY, building a grey water system is also quite lucrative. Nevertheless, installing a water-saving system by yourself can be complicated unless you’re an expert. 

Meaning you should either go for professional installation or at least seek assistance from a seasoned individual. 

Now, when undertaking a DIY grey water system installation, there are a few important things you should bear in mind: 

  • First, the best location to install the storage tank is outdoors due to practical and logistical considerations. While it is possible to install the tank indoors, it might involve a lot of wear and tear. Nonetheless, indoor installation is worth considering if you lack the required outdoor area. 
  • Second, if you intend to use recycled grey water solely for landscaping needs, the process of installing plumbing is straightforward. All you’ve got to do is build a plumbing line from the filtration unit to the garden. 
  • Third, to use the water for indoor purposes, you’ll likely need a dedicated drainage and plumbing line. And that’s something you should only do under an expert’s guidance. 

Where to use recycled grey water? 

When installing a grey water system, it’s essential to understand where you can use the recycled water and where you can’t. 

You see, a grey water recycling system for homes as well as commercial buildings has its own limitations, given the nature of the water it is recycling. So you can’t expect one to provide edible water. 

As such, you should refrain from drinking recycled grey water, no matter the type and quality of filters these recycling systems use. 

That said, there are a lot of things you can use grey water for, including gardening, car washing, cleaning, laundry, etc. In fact, this list of utilities only expands further for commercial grey water recycling systems

And that means there are still plenty of ways recycled grey water can reduce your overall municipal water usage. 

Is it legal to install a grey water system on your property? 

When it comes to installing a grey water system, there isn’t a single rule, as rules and codes differ for different places. 

You see, a lot of states and municipalities either don’t have a regulation on grey water recycling or don’t allow it altogether. 

For instance, while Georgia doesn’t allow its residents to build an irrigation system for the reuse of grey water, Oregon levies an annual fee for grey water systems. 

However, that’s not the case in every county or municipality of the country. Take Tucson, for instance, which makes it mandatory for builders to include a grey water treatment pipeline in homes as a response to an imminent water crisis. 

Also, you should bear in mind that even if grey water systems are allowed in your area, you may still have to follow stringent plumbing codes. And that’ll likely include inspectors visiting your property to inspect whether or not the recycling system follows the necessary guidelines. 

At the minimum, you should ensure that the plumbing lines for grey water and potable water are separate and clearly labeled.  

How much does a grey water recycling system cost? 

Talking about the cost of grey water systems, there isn’t a fixed price tag. That’s because the exact price of a particular system is influenced by a lot of factors such as manufacturer, model, size, installation labor, etc., to name a few. 

And going by the estimates from HomeAdvisor, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 and $4.000 to upward of $20,000. 

For instance, a small recycling system connecting the grey water line from your laundry to a filer and further to the lawn won’t cost more than $1000. 

However, the whole-house grey water recycling systems connecting every source of grey water to a large storage tank and further to a sophisticated filtration system will undoubtedly be expensive. Meaning these systems will cost you the upper end of the price. 

Does it make sense to invest in grey water recycling? 

grey water before and after recycling

Yes, investing in grey water recycling systems is totally worthwhile. 

Although some online commentaries might suggest you against investing in such a filtration system, do the math, and you’ll find enough reasons to invest in it. 

Let’s look at a residential grey water system analysis to understand better: 

An average family uses anywhere between 300-400 gallons of water, and the water bill for the same ranges between $55 and $70. This translates to an annual bill of $800 or more. 

Now, by recycling an average of 65 percent of your total water usage, you can save upward of $500 every year. Meaning you can expect a payback period of 10 years or less wherein you recover your investment entirely. 

Impressive, right? 

You might also want to read – 7 Best Whole House Water Filters For Your Home


As you can see, installing grey water systems might be one of the best water-saving projects you invest in. 

And thanks to the environmental and economic benefits attached to these systems, there’s a good chance you can avail a lucrative incentive as well. For instance, as part of a pilot program, a lot many homes in Tucson, Arizona, got a free-of-charge grey water system installed. 

Nevertheless, you need not wait for such incentives as the payback period of grey water systems is quite lucrative already. 

Looking to install a grey water recycling facility on your property? 

You can get in touch with us!

We have the best-in-class recycling systems for both residential and commercial properties. Meaning we’ve got all your grey water recycling requirements covered. 



0 Comments Add comment

Leave a comment