The water from our washing machine is going to be drained into a garbage can that sits beside it. There is room there because we don’t have a dryer. When I was hooking up the washing machine I discovered that what came out the back of it was a hose that I was supposed to shove into a tube that led to the sewer. What a waste! Not to mention that soap has long been touted as a gentle insecticide so my soapy water also keeps the bugs out of my garden, bonus! Note that I exclusively use homemade soaps for everything in my house – no chemicals or freaky stuff allowed.

It is honestly dumbfounding to me that we do not collect the grey water in our homes. Perhaps when I was washing cloth diapers a couple times a week I might not have wanted that water on my herbs and vegetables but as far as regular everyday clothes washing absolutely! The average wash cycle uses 33 gallons of water. I did the conversion on that (cuz I have no idea what a gallon is) and that is 125L. I’ll say it again 125L. On laundry day in our house we do three or more loads of laundry. That is almost 400 liters of water which is more than enough water to keep our garden and the grass under the fruit trees happy.

The trick is that I need to get that heavy water filled garbage can outside because I don’t have any sort of plumbing on it the water just comes out the washer into the can. I need either a) a big strong man to carry it out so that I can dump it into the herb garden or b) to put the thing on wheels or something.

I also would like to capture the water from our baths and showers. We are just not that dirty and all that water that goes down the drain right back into the system to be cleaned and treated all over again, another 100 or so liters of it. Count up the number of households in the city, people having daily showers, washing clothes and watering lawns and gardens and it doesn’t take long to realize we have been doing things all wrong.

Solution 1: garbage can beside washing machine.

Solution 2: not sure yet… share your thoughts and ideas please!


Caroline Cooper · November 2, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Hello Krystal,

There are so many good uses for gray water especially in a dry climate like Kamloops. If a person is careful about the type of detergents, medications and soaps used in the household, the risks of using gray water is minimum in garden applications.

Unfortunately, using gray water is illegal in Kamloops. It is laws like this that must be changed or concerned citizens become criminals. There are many barriers to living a more conserving lifestyle. It is my hope that we can, over time, repeal laws that are barriers to being more self-sufficient with regards to basic needs.

admin · November 2, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Hrm… that is really unfortunate Caroline because I am fully installing this into my home next spring. The water will be diverted into mulch basins and drain underground into the soil of my herb garden. No storage. No one even ever touches it or sees it. I have been in touch with by-law officers about many of my ‘hair-brained’ ideas and as individuals they are always on board. I’d like to see change and will work with those around me to create it.

Caroline Cooper · November 6, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Wonderful! I am surprised the inspectors are on board. I could not access your link about i would like to have a chance to see the system you are using.

My husband, who is our group’s bylaw reader, would be very surprised to hear this. He looked into gray water use in the City of Kamloops about three years ago while we where building our warehouse. It was not allow in the bylaw. Could you quote the area of bylaw that allowed the inspector to approve your use?

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