31 August 2008

Grey water and your soil - does it cause any harm?

There is a growing attitude in the water challenged times that we live in, that to waste any water is unacceptable. Out of this, simple grey water diversion systems such as the one above are becoming more prevalent and are being readily accepted by mainstream Australia.

But when looking to install some form or grey water diversion system, serious consideration has to be given to the effect that the nutrient rich water will have on the ecology of the soil that you are diverting the water to. Last thing anyone looking to reduce their environmental impact wants to do is, by do good on one hand (reducing water usage) they find themselves doing bad (damaging soil ecology) as a result of it.

RMIT Honours Student Farzarhd Namdarian recently completed a thesis in conjunction with the Alternative Technology Association titled 'The impact of grey water irrigation systems on domestic soil environments'.

Generally it is a fairly dry subject, but it does make for interesting reading. By researching and recoding data from 7 real life case studies in Melbourne, Farzarhd has been able to gather some useful information that should help anyone thinking about installing a grey water diversion system from causing any damage to their soil ecology.

Check it out here at the ATA website.


bestonline323 said...

Home > About Logan > News online > Current news > ..water may harm some clay gardens

Untreated greywater may harm some clay gardens

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Logan residents with clay soil gardens have been given some simple tips for greywater usage to avoid long-term environmental issues in their neighbourhoods.

Logan City Council Water and Waste Committee Chairperson, Cr Luke Smith said detergents, soaps and bathroom cleaners containing salts, bleaches, fats and preservatives could be found in greywater.

Cr Smith said the level of chemicals and other contaminants would build up over time and could be harmful to gardens with clay soil.

"A lot of people want to do the right thing and are using greywater from their washing machines by running a hose into their garden to save the town water supply," Cr Smith said.

"We appreciate residents using greywater on their gardens, but they should be aware there may be some harmful effects on their gardens if the water is not properly treated. Using some detergents may actually kill their plants and lawns in the long term.

"It's certainly something residents should be aware of and watch out for."

To avoid long-term garden damage, residents can choose garden-friendly laundry detergent, cleaning products and soaps and shampoos (with low levels of sodium, phosphorous and nitrogen).

Using only the rinse cycle water and rotating the areas where greywater is used can also help.

"Regularly check your garden to ensure your greywater isn't damaging the health of your soil, lawn and plants," Cr Smith said.

"Be careful when using greywater on native plants and don't use it on edible parts or vegetables."

For more information about using greywater in your home contact Logan City Council's Plumbing and Drainage section on 3412 5269.

reducing water usage

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