11.17.2014

How to Install a Simple Gray Water System

How to install a simple gray water system from your washing machine

Trying to capture gray water and transporting it out to the yard or garden can be a huge task, let alone a slow process. Although I'm no engineering expert, it seemed to me that there had to be a easier way, so I am sharing with you what I 'set up' at my house to divert water out to my garden.



I use a simple hose pipe system that the exhaust hose from my washer pours out into.  This pipe then diverts the water out to plants within the length of my pipe, or additionally with the use of rain gutters to carry the water further.  This is not a permanent system, so the hoses are removed from the garden after use.

For materials, my main element is a long, black flexible pipe (shown in these photos). After scouting my local big box hardware stores, I found that this item was not stocked (although since then I have spotted it at Home Depot). I ordered online a 4-in x 25-ft 70-PSI Corrugated Solid Pipe that was what I wanted.  So far, this length has worked with my yard.

Materials:
Black corrugated hose/pipe: available in various lengths, and can be made longer
Rain gutter: any length required to carry water further to plant/tree
Wire: for 'handle' at top of pipe


To set up my pipe for installation, I punched 2 holes about 2" below the top edge on each side of the hose end, using an ice pick (heated over the stove flame).

Next I created a wire hanger that looks alot like a bucket handle using the 2 holes to fasten the wire to the pipe end (in this photo, this 'handle' shape looks slightly twisted).

The pipe needs to be hung near the original water outlet in the wall, so that the washer hose can be easily put into the pipe when in use. I also needed this to be easily removed after each use.  Two large cup hooks were screwed to the bottom of overhead cabinet to hang the pipe from.  Do not try lowering the washer hose below the level of the wall exhaust pipe.

When in use, the back door is open for the hose to exit the laundry area.  It is layed outside at a level that is flat or 'going downhill' so water flows easily out to the yard.

To extend the distance, I use a few long rain gutters that seem to fit the pipe easily and don't need to be fastened or secured, as shown in the photo.

Laundry soap: I researched laundry products online and took my list to Wholefoods where I selected a brand recommended for gray water use. After using this product for about 6 months, I haven't seen any problems develop with the plants that receive this gray water. I sort our laundry and do not gray water any loads that might have cleaning chemicals or other harmful elements.

This method waters: camellias, citrus trees, pittosporum, random succulents in the flood plain, and a redwood tree.

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