Recycling your household’s water can be as simple as irrigating your yard with shower water, or as ambitious as installing a home water recycling system. Providing you stick to specific types of waste water and use it the right way, reusing water doesn’t pose a risk to you or your family. Nonetheless,, you should check your local government codes before you reuse waste water at home.

What Water Is Safe to Reuse?

Water that’s safe to reuse at home is called gray water, and that generally means any water that isn’t contaminated with human waste, harmful chemicals, or large amounts of other waste. So water from your shower, bathtub and sink is typically safe. Water from your dishwasher and washing machine may also be safe if you use ecologically friendly products and do not wash diapers.

Black water is waste water that is not safe to use and should go into your home’s sewerage connection right away. Water from your toilet is black water, and so is water that’s been exposed to illness or disease, drain cleaners, car parts, solvents, or hazardous chemicals such as paintbrush rinse solution.

What the Law Says

Gray water must be collected, stored and used according to your state’s regulations, which are intended to prevent harmful bacteria or chemicals from harming local residents. In addition, the bacteria in gray water multiply and generally turn the water foul-smelling and unhygienic.

For this reason, it’s often a requirement that gray water must be used within 24 hours of collection. Other regulations may state that waste water is filtered and disinfected prior to reusing it.

Where Can You Reuse Waste Water?

Your toilet and yard are two of the best places to reuse waste water.

  • Toilet: Pour gray water directly down the toilet as a replacement for flushing. Don’t use it to fill your toilet’s tank because waste water can clog or damage the system. Another danger is that the gray water could back flow into your home’s fresh water supply.
  • Yard: Water established plants with gray water by applying it directly to the soil. Don’t use it on seedlings or young plants, and don’t allow it to contact plant leaves or run off your yard. You can use gray water to grow most edible plants except root vegetables that might be eaten uncooked. Alternate gray water and fresh water when watering plants.
  • Other Uses: The rinse water from one wash load can be used as the water for the next load, and you can wash your car with gray water.

Plumber-Installed Water Recycling

Most experienced Plumbers In Long Beach, CA will tell you that an installed gray water recycling system reuses water from laundry, sinks, and showers through a secondary set of plumbing pipes. To comply with state codes, the system may require filters, vents, drains, overflows, and other fittings. Only a state-licensed plumber is legally allowed to fit a gray water recycling system in your home.