For a while now, Mark and I have wanted to find a way to reclaim some of the water that runs off to the nowhere lands after it passes through our home. In fact, we made a stab at it over a year ago, but failed due to a missing element (hose) which we simply hadn't considered using as an instant outlet.
A fellow Mama at Lily's school is a greywater and reclamation expert and recently showed up in the local paper when the city decided to stop being asshats about the greywater rules. Before, it could cost you more in permitting than it would cost for you to install a professional system. People either didn't do it, or did it illegally. Now that we're in a "level 2" water crisis, someone had the bright idea of getting the city to allow simple systems without permits, such as redirecting your laundry water to your fruit trees.
All this talk prompted me to take a look at how much water we use as a family. The local average is 180 gallons PER DAY, which for us would work out to about 45 gallons per person, per day (/p/d). My water bills show that we average 26/p/d when we're not watering plants all the time and 42/p/d when we are. This is not terrible, but also not great. I hate how much it goes up in the summer just to keep the trees alive. If we were using our laundry water (with a greywater friendly detergent, like Seventh Generation, which we use already) then we could keep our gallons down to half of what the average resident uses.
Then someone sent a link to their own system and with one email to Mark, we were in business. It's so simple, it's ridiculous. First check out this link to get a good view of what you need. Mark picked up all the items required in one trip to Home Depot.
Here's what we came up with:
Photos are over at Flickr if you want to get a glance at some of the stills.
To be honest, we discovered that we need a bigger trash can upon running our first load of laundry through this set-up. It ended up overflowing. So spend the extra $5 and get a bigger bucket if you go for it!