22 May Grey water filtration systems for tiny homes
Tiny home living – especially off the grid – will require you to consider what to do with your waste-water.
There are 2 types of waste-water – black water and grey water. Firstly, black water is a term for sewage water from your toilet. Some tiny homes, caravans or RVs may store this water in tanks until it can be disposed of at a dumping station.
However, due to weight restrictions, storing water in a tiny home that is used regularly for travelling can be problematic. Many tiny home enthusiasts are opting for alternative methods of dealing with black water.
We have discussed the options of what to do with black water in this article here.
But, what about grey water?
Many people don’t give much consideration to their grey water. Grey water is the non-sewage water from showers, sinks, and washing machines.
Grey water can contain soaps, detergents, food, oil, grease, household cleaning products, bacteria, and other pollutants, so it is considered dirty. However, it can be reused in specific ways, saving hundreds of litres of water per week.
While releasing this kind of water into rivers or lakes can pollute them, directing it into gardens is safe for trees and plants that can filter the water and even use the contents as fertilizer.
Not only is it suitable for gardens, but, it is great for tiny home owners. It allows them to safely dispose of their grey water and reduce their waste-water substantially.
So what kind of grey water systems are available?
Bucket or tank
One of the simplest ways to reuse your grey water is to place a bucket or tank inside or underneath your shower and sink.
Once the bucket or tank is filled, you simply direct the water to the surrounding landscape.
Just ensure that the plants and trees you are watering are not getting too much water and end up drowning. Poor soil drainage can be a contributing factor.
Another option, if you have a traditional flush toilet, you can use grey water for flushing.
While this method isn’t ideal because it doesn’t reuse the water, if you have access to a sewer or septic system that isn’t at capacity, you could divert water there.
It doesn’t win you many points for being environmentally friendly; however, it does present a simple option for you.
Wetland – Pond – Permaculture Gardens
If your tiny home is not on wheels or parked in the same spot long-term, you could construct a purpose built wetland or pond area. This involves creating a multi-stage filtration system to remove nearly all of the contaminants and directed into a makeshift pond or wetland.
I have also seen some impressive permaculture gardens making use of grey water. If you are interested in growing a vegetable patch, this will warrant your further investigation.
Another cost-effective, simple solution is using gravity fed buckets to filter your grey water. You simply place your buckets down a slope with gaps in between. The water is then directed through the series of buckets where it is filtered for the surrounding trees and gardens.
This is another good option because it doesn’t involve a considerable expense or altering the landscape permanently.
Grey water filtration systems
More elaborate filtration systems do exist for those with bigger budgets. These more expensive systems collect and treat grey water to varying levels of purity. Treated water can then be used for washing machines, toilets, and gardens.
These systems are generally used in traditional homes, and generally speaking, more cost-effective methods for grey water reuse for tiny home owners are preferred.
Final thoughts on grey water reuse
Many people considering a tiny home don’t give much thought into grey water recycling. However, sustainable water initiatives are a great way to preserve this precious resource.
Directing grey water into black water tanks, where it becomes as polluted as sewerage water, requires a lot of energy to reintroduce it back into the water supply.
Another significant benefit to utilising grey water whenever possible is as a way to combat drought. Many parts of Australia are currently in drought and have seen little rainfall in a very long time. Grey water can be an immediate relief to some of these barren landscapes.