Greywater uses | Brisbane City Council

Greywater uses

Untreated greywater is wastewater from baths, showers, hand basins, laundry tubs and washing machines. Untreated greywater can be used carefully on gardens and lawns. 

You can also choose to install a system to treat the greywater and make it suitable for other uses around your home.

Using untreated greywater

Bucketing

Collect water from your shower and washing machine by bucket, and then empty the water onto your gardens or lawn. No approval is required from Brisbane City Council.

Hose connected to your washing machine 

Connect a greywater hose to your washing machine water outlet. Place the other end of the hose outside to pump water onto your lawn and garden. No Council approval is required.

Set up the hose so it runs downhill. This will ensure the washing machine can pump the water. Check the washing machine manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure you don’t void the warranty by placing a greywater hose on the water outlet.

Greywater diversion device

Divert greywater from your laundry or bathroom waste pipes to a diversion device. The greywater flows through a filter in the device to block solids and is then used to irrigate your garden. Manual and automatic diversion devices are available.

Not all devices available for sale meet Australian standards. Only approved diversion devices, carrying a Watermark Licence Product Certification can be installed in Queensland.

Council recommends subsurface irrigation systems for using greywater to water your garden.

A licensed plumber will need to install your diversion system. You are required to obtain plumbing approval from Council prior to installation of a diversion system.

Homeowners who install a greywater treatment plant must participate in Council’s Greywater Audit Program. Fees may apply.

Using treated greywater

Treated greywater is the end product of using a greywater treatment plant and can be used for: 

  • lawn and garden irrigation
  • toilet flushing
  • washing of paths, walls and vehicles 
  • laundry and washing machine use (cold water source only)

Greywater treatment plants collect, clean, store and disinfect greywater. They treat organic waste but are not designed to remove chemicals such as sodium, nitrate or phosphorus. Disinfection methods can include chlorination, ultra-violet radiation or ozonation. Treated greywater must be treated to the standards specified in the Queensland Plumbing and Wastewater Code.

The quality of the treated greywater will determine what it can be used for. 

Residential and commercial buildings that generate 3,000 litres or more of greywater per day must choose a greywater treatment plant. Plants that treat between 3000 – 50,000 litres of greywater per day must have state government approval. Plants capable of treating 50,000 litres or more per day must be assessed by the Department of Housing and Public Works.

Licensed plumbers need to install greywater treatment plants. You must obtain plumbing approval from Council prior to installation of a diversion system.

Homeowners and businesses who install a greywater treatment plant must participate in Council’s Greywater Audit Program. Fees may apply. 

More information

22 September 2014