Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Throwing out the bathwater

All winter I've been pondering what to do with the boys' bathwater when summer comes. For the past couple of years I have been schlepping around with the poor man's greywater system:

(Actually, I wish I had a bucket as nice as this one. Ours are rather more plain and plastic)

Our first summer I tried to be diligent and save the excess water from our showers, which was a mess- water slopped on the floor, and half filled buckets sitting around with a toddler on the loose. Or next summer, last year, I rationalised (a new baby does that to you!) and decided to just use Big Bro's bathwater on the lawn. Big Bro was old enough to be able to help, so we made bucketting the bath water a morning ritual.

This summer I will be faced with the challenge of keeping a toddler-to-be and his willing assistant sibling away from leftover bathwater, and have decided that it will be safest to plan to drain the tub immediately after the bath. Yet it seems like a waste to send all that good water down the drain when I have a thirsty garden and limited rainwater supplies.

The fanciest solution would have been a plumbed-in grey water system, perhaps like this. An architect friend even set up her greywater system output 6 inches under the lawn so that there would never be a chance for her children to contact the grey water. The downside of all these systems is that they are pricey, and I am not sure how appropriate they would be for the soaps, bath oils and bubble baths (and other unspeakable things) that find their way down our drain. We could have looked into an option such as this Easy Diverter switch that allows you to switch a drain's outflow between greywater or sewerage, but again it was going to require serious plumbing and dollars.

I really hadn't been thinking laterally enough, and pricked up my ears when a friend mentioned they used a cheap electric pump and a hose to drain their kids' bath. Still a bit messy, but then I had a brainwave:
what about siphoning the bath water?

As far as brainwaves go, it wasn't a particularly original one, as you'd see if you googled "bath water siphon". But I was pleased to have finally found something that balanced low cost with low effort! And something that other people agreed was a good idea!

As far as the technology goes, much of information is UK-based; many Australians would be surprised to know that complete hosepipe bans have been a feature of summer for over a decade in parts of England's "green and pleasant land". And many sites pointed me to the WaterGreen Syphon Pump.

A trip to Bunnings to look for the same thing confirmed that on this subject I have merely reinvented the wheel: Bunnings stocks 3 hand siphons (one with hose attachment) specifically marketed for greywater.

I may not have had the brainwave I thought I needed, but I am excited that this year I will be able to reuse the bathwater without a bucket in sight. Who knows, our lawn may even stay green!

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails