Coastal River

Coastal River, West Coast Vancouver Island. Photo: Jeremy Koreski

Greywater is water generated when we use treated drinking water for domestic activities like bathing, laundry, and dishwashing. It includes all water used at home that is not sewage (known as blackwater) and that has the potential to be reused for watering inedible plants or for flushing toilets. The most common inputs of greywater are bathroom sinks, showers, and baths because the wastewater is much cleaner than other sources like the kitchen where water can be greasy or contain food particles.

Jamie Carson and Kevin Barker of Icon Developments in Ucluelet as they discuss the Idus Water Re-Use systems they install in homes on the west coast.

Typically, a self-contained internal wastewater drainage system is installed in order to collect and distribute greywater and keep it completely separate from potable water. Greywater is mechanically filtered before entering a holding tank where disinfectants may be introduced or biological treatment may take place depending on the system. From there, it is pumped or gravity fed to toilets and often to garden taps. An overflow system is put in place for when the supply of greywater exceeds demands, and backup water from the municipality or a catchment system is available for times when the greywater supply can’t meet household needs. Considering that flushing toilets can account for around 1/3 of your home's water use, using greywater in this capacity can save you a lot of money and reduce reliance on the municipal water infrastructure.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In the spring of 2012, the provincial government is releasing updated regulations for domestic greywater systems in the BC Building Code (Part 7: BC Plumbing Services) to take effect in November of 2012.

You can learn more about these systems at these greywater info sites.

Click here for the Icon Developments website.

Click here for more information about Idus Water Re-use Pump Stations.