Skip to Navigation

Grey water systems

As we consider ways of saving water, one important method is using more grey water, which basically means using the same water more than once. For example, you might use clean water for a shower, and then re-use that same 'grey' water from the shower to water the garden. There are risks and concerns around grey water use, which is why users of grey water must be careful to make sure grey water does not get confused with clean, safe drinking water. However, there are many ways we can use grey water, which greatly improves our water saving ability.

Grey water - what is it?

  • Greywater means waste water from washing machines, laundry tubs, showers, hand basins and baths, but does not include waste water from a kitchen, toilet, urinal or bidet.

Grey water and your health - is it safe?

  • Greywater contains human pathogens and other contaminants. It can be safe for use in controlled circumstances such as sub-surface irrigation of non-food gardens.
  • The use of greywater is regulated under the NSW Local Government Act and Regulations. Guidelines for the safe use of greywater have been provided by the NSW Department of Water and Energy.
  • Byron Shire Council does not advocate the use of grey water for any purpose other than for the listed uses.

Benefits of grey water - why use it?

  • Residential households can use less clean drinking water if they use grey water for some of their needs (meeting the requirements of BASIX).
  • Reduces demand on drinking water which helps conserve water resources and reducing the discharge of effluent to waterways.
  • Cost saving benefit in using grey water over potable water.
  • Grey water is available all year round.

Grey water systems - how do I use it?

  • Currently there are two types of grey water systems that are approved for sewered single domestic premises; grey water diversion devices and domestic grey water treatment systems.
  • Grey water diversion devices are installed to redirect grey water to the garden or lawn via a sub-surface irrigation system. Approval is no longer required from your local council to install a grey water diversion device; however a licensed device must be used and must be installed by a licensed plumber..
  • Grey water treatment systems collect, store, treat and may also disinfect grey water to a higher standard grey water to be used in more ways.  The installation and operation of grey water treatment systems require local council approval and NSW Health accreditation.
  • Byron Shire Council supports the reuse of grey water by households. However, it is not our role to supply information on the design and installation of grey water diversion devices and treatment devices within your household.
  • To ensure correct and safe application of grey water please consult your local council, the NSW Guidelines and the NSW Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability.

Useful links for grey water issues