Laundry grey water surge tank

We have been dumping the waste water from our washing machine on the back lawn for years now. It seemed like an easy thing to sort out with the back of the house being 5-6 feet higher than the ground, and the backyard sloping away more after that. I’d previously cut a hole in the floor and run a pipe through and out the back steps to a longer pipe which we move around the back lawn as we remember.

There has always been the worry that the machine may be pushing too much water for its motors capacity, despite the gravity drop of 5 feet or more. And sometimes the pipe across the lawn doesn’t drain out fully, so it can be the case of the motor having to push this collected water ahead of it, or possibly drawing it back into the machine, resulting in dirtier washing than you started with.

Laundry grey water surge tank

Hence, the latest addition, a surge tank to collect the rush of waste water from the washing machine and allow it to slowly, gravity feed out via the original pipe and a short length of agi pipe.

We used a new molded garbage bin as the tank and several joiner pieces as the entry and exit points for the pipes. I managed to make the lower hole in the tank a tight enough fit for the joiner to make it water tight without additional sealant. The end result is fairly neat and tidy. I even made a small paving stand for the tank.

We seem to be washing clothes constantly at our place so it wasn’t long before the system could be tested. All good, although the agi pipe does empty its contents fairly quickly and over a small area. Not sure how to get it spreading out more. Perhaps by running it across the slope the run off will be over a greater area?

First test – no leaks!

Agi pipe to distribute water across lawn

This project has me thinking of other ways to use waste water from the bath and shower.


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4 Responses to “Laundry grey water surge tank”

  1. Michael Weatherall Says:

    It is very nice that you have concerns about the motor on the pump of your washing machine – it may be more appropriate that you have concerns about the health of your family and perhaps neighbours. The water you are letting run on your lawn has exactly the same bacteria as your toilet water and I might ask, would you run the toilet water on your lawn? Gray water carries the same bacteria as the toilet, be it in lower concentrations, and often carries a wider range of bacteria than toilet water. Not a good idea Brian to let this water run onto the lawn. If you were to send it underground ( 8″ – 10″ underground) then you would be a responsible recycler. Not sure about this Brian ? then check it out. A government site that will help you is Read the ‘Code of Practice – Onsite Wastewater Management’ about waste water re-use.
    Just one more thing Brian if you are working with gray water, as you show, you should have had your Hepatitis injections from your health professional.

    • luxgraphicus Says:

      Thanks for your interest in our blog Michael, and your reference to the Victorian Gov. website. I’ve downloaded the suggested material.
      On quick review it would appear that we are meeting the recommended standards for re-use of untreated greywater from a washing machine.
      I have also re-looked at the local, Canberra, government, health authority and utility material regarding greywater re-use and have satisfied myself that we are meeting their recommendations too.
      Happy to discuss the details of our re-use and the installation, as is often the case, the real issue is usually in the specific details rather than the general outline.

  2. Michael Weatherall Says:

    I know your location well and the regulations that are in place. The ACT Government follows the NSW Department of Health guidlines and will take advice from EPA victoria. If you were to contact your ACT Planning and Land Authority – Plumbing, you will be given a contrary view to that you presently hold.

    My reason in making a comment Brian was because you are not doing the right thing and if you were to seek advice and read and undserstand the advice suggested you will see that surface distribution of grey water is not a practice recommended or encouraged.

    Victorian EPA Code of Practice – 2-1 states ‘ it is a common misconception that greywater does not contain pathogens….’
    then sets out safe use guiodelines none of which allow surface distribution of grey water.

    NSW Health clearly sets out in detail the dangers of grey water.
    For this go to – then A_Z, then W, then grey water reuse. It is this that your Planning and Land will refer you to. Read the introduction alone and then tell yourself you are meeting and protecting your family’s health.

    You did not say if you had protected yourself by having the hep injection – you should if you continue to work with your grey water.

  3. luxgraphicus Says:

    Thanks again Michael, your references are valuable and have helped in furthering my knowledge and understanding of the issues involved here.
    I will continue to examine the subject, and will leave this post and these comments up to allow for other comment and opinion.

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