Washing Machine Greywater Resources

Pantyhose filter

For those of you attending our Wednesday night greywater workshop at Good and for those of you who can’t, here’s a list of resources for using your washing machine as a irrigation source:

The New Create an Oasis with Greywater: Choosing, Building and Using Greywater Systemsby Art Ludwig. This is the bible of greywater. Follow Ludwig’s instructions and you can’t go wrong. Buy a copy via the link, and you’ll help support Homegrown Evolution.

Ludwig’s open source Laundry to Landscape system.

1″ polyethylene tubing–an alternative to PVC pipe.

Oasis Biocompatible detergent, the only laundry detergent we can find that’s appropriate for greywater use. It works great and, again, click through the link and we get a little support.

A selection of three way diverter valves. Note the 1″ brass model for laundry systems. Use these diverters to shift between sending your greywater outside or back to the sewer. Great if you have to do a load of diapers. We don’t have one, but we’re both cheap and kinda extreme.

A local Los Angeles source for drums, the Apex Drum Company: www.apexdrum.com. Phone number: (323) 721-8994. Located at 6226 Ferguson Drive in the picturesque city of Commerce. You can also scavange drums, but make sure they didn’t have nasty chemicals in them. See our greywater surge tank post for what kind of barrel we like to use. Note that you can also turn a surge tank into a rain barrel.

A description of our greywater fruit mini-orchard.

Our greywater surge tank version 1.0. We’ve since added a pantyhose filter as seen above to catch lint that can clog the tank and garden hose. It’s just some threaded ABS waste pipe fittings screwed together with used pantyhose.

A liquid fertilizer of the type that you could add to your greywater surge tank during a wash cycle to fertilize your garden. You could also get a fish emulsion or sea kelp based liquid fertilizer from your local nursery.

Oaktown’s Greywater Guerrillas, another source for inspiration.

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  1. Laundry detergent – I’m told any standard castille soap (like Dr Bronner’s) works fine in greywater systems, but Bronners is really spendy used that way. I’ve been using Biokleen Cold Water Formula Laundry Liquid (www.biokleenhome.com/products/household/laundry) for about 6 months now and it works great for much less then Bronners. The trick is finding soaps that have no sodium or boron compounds in them (the biokleen powders are unsuitable for greywater).

  2. I’m close to despair that I cannot get up to LA to attend any workshops. I would LOVE to at least hack my washing machine. I know Orange County is a bit of a wasteland, but do you know of ANYBODY down here working on sustainability-type projects? There’s so much going on in LA, but I have yet to stumble across anybody a bit closer to my stomping grounds.

  3. Oh Drat! I can’t believe I missed this! I’m working on a project now. I have Ludwig’s book, but still have questions. LOOKING FOR ADVICE. Deal is the easiest place to spill my washer water is a strip of decomposed granite in the middle of my old-fashioned Hollywood driveway (i.e. two strips of concrete). There are a few scraggly creeping thyme plants there (not edible ones) and CA poppies. Because this is a drive way (albeit a seldom used part) it’s not feasible to plant trees or put in a mulch basin. Will pouring Greywater here kill my plants? Anything I could grow in a hot area with DG? I should add there are actually some drains in this area, so water wouldn’t pool up and get stinky. There’s also additional DG around the drive.

  4. Ilsa,

    A washing machine with three folks in your household would probably be too much water for thyme and poppies. Also, if the drain goes to the street that would not be cool. But I’m sure there’s a way to get that water elsewhere. Washing machines have built in pumps. See Ludwig’s Laundry to Landscape PDF, linked above.

    Also, we’re planning on doing a hands-on workshop at a house in the next few months where we actually put a system in. More details in a few weeks.

  5. Thanks for the info. I would NEVER let water run off my property. The drains go to groundwater through infiltration system below my driveway.

    I would love to attend your next workshop.

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