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Care needed with greywater as water rationing continues

Care needed with greywater as water rationing continues

22 March 2013

An Environmental Science and Research (ESR) scientist says householders should take care using greywater to water their gardens as water rationing in the Wellington region continues.

Greywater is the waste water from showers, baths, hand basins and laundries. It can contain disease-causing organisms.

Dr Alma Siggins, ESR’s lead scientist for greywater research at the Centre for Integrated Biowaste Research, says that using water from laundries and bathrooms to water plants can be an excellent way to save water.

However Dr Siggins says that ESR testing shows that householders need to use greywater with care.

“Our analysis of greywater has shown that it can contain bacteria and viruses that might make you ill,” she says. “Using greywater on plants that will be consumed raw, such as in your veggie garden, is not a good idea.”

“While we wait for more rain, safe use of greywater can relieve the pressure on water supplies.”

Tips for safe greywater use

• Only use greywater on plants that aren’t going to be eaten.

• Never use water that has been in contact with human waste. For example, washing nappies.

• Use greywater immediately. Storing the water can result in the disease causing organisms to increase, especially during hot weather.

• Don’t use greywater if anyone in your household is sick.

For more details on greywater research, suppliers and technical information visit:


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