Flexible PVC Pipe for Greywater

Following up on an earlier post about using your washing machine’s greywater in your garden we thought we would revisit the sexy and exciting world of flexible 1″ pvc pipe and other exotic plumbing materials to be found in the isles of your local pool and spa supply shop–the unlikely go-to source for greywater revolutionaries. Flexible pvc pipe is probably the easiest way to run washing machine waste water out to your plants, just like you would with a garden hose. But garden hose could burn out your washing machine’s motor because it’s too small and has a tendency to kink up, hence the need for flexible 1″ pvc.

Another handy item from the bourgeois land of pools and spas is the swing check valve which will keep waste water from flowing back into the machine and gunking up your clean clothes. We hope graphic designers will appreciate (or perhaps not) those glowing blue drop shadows, but we digress. Apparently, this back-flow problem is not an issue with all washing machines so we’d hold off on getting one of these slightly expensive things until you know it’s an issue.

We’ve already discussed the not-safe-for work-sounding “three way diverter valve” which seems like something this business located in our neighborhood might carry (NSFW!). The tree way diverter valve, you may recall, is a way to send that greywater temporarily back to the sewer should the need arise. Another, much cheaper way to divert grewater is with a duo of two way valves. The radical Greywater Guerrillas of Oak-town show you how to do this on their fantastic website (which seems temporarily to be under construction–check back later).

So when the inevitable zombie hordes cause chaos across the land, just remember that you can scavenge hot tub parts in their wake to run your greywater system.

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2 Comments

  1. I wonder if local codes would keep people from rerouting bath water and sink water to an outside tank? I live in a codes heavy suburban town. The type that is fast to threaten sanctions if your grass gets high.

  2. Greywater goes septic very fast in a tank. It’s best to use it immediately. You can construct what’s called a “surge tank” however. See our post for how to do that:

    http://survivela.blogspot.com/2006/12/build-washing-machine-greywater-surge.html

    Your bathtub/sink would need to be higher than the tank. I did meet someone who has a collection tank in their basement that collects greywater that gets pumped up to the garden. I’m pretty sure they did it with a permit (in Los Angeles), but I bet it was expensive.

    Don’t know where you live, but local codes probably make greywater a pain in the ass to do legally. Best to do it undercover if you can.

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