Gray Water System

My installation of a Gray Water System


Gray Water System Installation – a hands-on experience

I have given talks on gray water, but had never participated in the installation of a system myself…until now.  Thanks to a concerned citizen offering her house as a test platform to install a Laundry-to-Landscape system through a workshop hosted by Sustainable Contra Costa County, I finally had the opportunity to witness an installation for myself.

Class is now in session

The first portion of the workshop was a lecture where the instructor went through the basics of gray water plumbing and provided the attendees a chance to hold the parts used in a grey water system.  Highlights included the difference it makes if your washer was a front-loader versus a top-loader. As it turns out, this has a major effect on the amount of water available to water your plants. Another important point was the proper dish detergent to use since conventional detergents contain salt, which can be detrimental, or boron, which may harmful to the plant. Finally, the soil characteristics in your yard determine the absorption rate of water into the soil.

In the Yard

After class, the group was separated into two groups. One went inside and the other stayed out to begin the process of digging ditches for the mulch.  Once the trenches were in place, PVC piping was installed to ensure the plants received the maximum flow of water.

In the garage

After a break for lunch, the group who worked on the three-way valve and PVC piping ran a test cycle on the washer to ensure there were no leaks in the piping by pressuring the line with water.

By the end of the day

By the time we left, late in the afternoon, the gray water system was operational and pressure-tested and ready to water the plants when doing the laundry, saving precious potable water.  All it took was a plan and a Saturday afternoon of hard work.