Greywater includes all household wastewater, except toilet waste. It can be a valuable water resource and an increasing number of householders are reusing greywater for a variety of purposes. However, care must be taken as this practice can carry health and environmental risks.
Greywater can be used untreated, or it can be treated to varying degrees to reduce nutrients and disease-causing pathogens. The appropriate use of greywater depends on both the source of greywater and the level of treatment. The potential health risks associated with greywater reuse when it has been sourced from a multi-dwelling or commercial premises are considered potentially greater than those associated with greywater reuse within a single domestic premises.
Untreated greywater can be reused temporarily with readily available systems that can be used with domestic plumbing. These systems are designed for immediate greywater reuse.
If you want to put in a permanent treatment system for greywater recycling, more information is in EPA’s Code of practice: Onsite wastewater management (publication 891).
Greywater reuse must always occur in a safe and controlled manner. Reuse that places public health at risk may be investigated by council officers.
If you are in an area where mains sewerage is not available you will be required to install a septic system to remove, contain and/or treat waste. A permit is required from Council's Environmental Health Services before a new septic tank system is installed or an existing one altered.
You are obliged to:
Source competent consultants and contractors
Apply for a Permit to install before installing or altering a septic system
Apply for a Permit to use before the system is used.
Comply with any requirements noted on the Permit to install/use
Review your household public liability insurance to ensure the wastewater facility is included
Maintain the system in accordance with the septic tank permit.
If your home has an existing septic system it is your responsibility to make sure it is maintained regularly and is in good working condition.
You can ensure the system is working correctly by:
Being aware of the location and performance specifications of your septic system
Cleaning your septic tank at least every three years
Checking the treatment plant services, sand filter and effluent disposal system regularly
Protecting the effluent disposal area from livestock and vehicles
Not allowing fats, high nutrient detergents and sanitary products to enter the system
Council's Environmental Health Services can be contacted for further information on 1300 653 356 or email@example.com.