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We are currently exploring greywater harvesting, its uses, and how it can possibly save you money.  This week we will look at the quality of greywater and what is required for it to be safe for use.

By reusing bath and laundry water, homeowners can tend to their gardens, in times of drought, without spending extra money on their water bill. Greywater, however, is different from fresh water and requires different guidelines for it to be reused.

The quality of water needed for irrigation and other nondrinking applications does not have to be of the same quality as required for potable water. In South Africa, the common practice is to use drinking water for non-drinking applications such as washing vehicles and irrigating gardens. Which is not sustainable or eco-friendly!

Water quality is described by physical, chemical and biological characteristics:

Physical quality includes clarity of the water, temperature and the total suspended solids in the water.
Chemical quality includes pH (acidity or alkalinity of the water), chlorine (found in disinfectants and cleaning products), the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water and chemical oxygen demand (COD) – a measure of the amount of organic material in the water.
Biological quality mainly relates to the presence of bacteria and viruses, and the presence of E. coli, which indicates the presence of faecal contamination and thus biological water quality.

National legislation does not prohibit the reuse of greywater and, at present, there are no formal standards or guidelines for the reuse of greywater for irrigation in South Africa. The disposal of wastewater is subject to regulations and by-laws of relevant local councils and as there is currently no known regulation or by-law prohibiting the reuse of greywater in the Rand Water supply area, greywater can be reused. However, use must not contravene the National Health Act 61 of 2003 and allow greywater to create a nuisance, which is defined as fly/mosquito breeding, objectionable odours, the surface ponding of water and/or the entry of polluted water onto a neighbouring property.

**Be on the look out for more posts by K-plumbing, www.k-plumbing.co.za **

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