(This is the third post in a series about ways in which renters can reuse greywater. For a definition of greywater, and why it’s a good idea to recycle it, check this out. Here are links to the other posts in the series: 1 , 2)
Irrigating with Greywater
The daily volume of greywater produced by the average American (31 gal) is enough to irrigate about 227 square feet of growing space at 1/4 inch of water per day. That’s considerable area, especially on an urban lot!
But if you’ve created a system for collecting greywater (as suggested in this post), and want to start using it for irrigation purposes, don’t just start throwing buckets of greywater onto the vegetable garden. A more sanitary use involves applying greywater to pits filled with organic matter.
Manual Distribution to Mulch Basins
Most renters don’t have the luxury of implementing a fully integrated greywater system, so in lieu of a gravity fed distribution setup that passively conveys greywater from sink to landscape, we get to stay in shape by lugging buckets full of water to mulch basins. (Call the exercise a stacked function!)
Mulch basins are trenches, swales, or pits dug 6-12 inches deep and filled with a course, carbonaceous mulch material, such as woodchips. When greywater is poured into a mulch basin (as in the photo to the right), it is simultaneously purified by billions of micro-organisms, and infiltrated into the soil, which acts as another fine filter before the water reaches an aquifer or surface water body. Placed adjacent to (hopefully edible) trees, shrubs, and beds, mulch basins offer an abundance of year-round moisture that plants are able to slurp up before it sinks into the subsoil. All of this water that would normally go into a sewer or septic system.
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