How to Build Your Own Grey Water Tank

Having your own gray water tank system is essential if you want to use gray water for irrigation purposes. Gray water distribution systems are beneficial to the average homeowner as it gives two distinct advantages:

  • having a gray water system installed in your home will prevent soap, cleaning liquids and other chemicals from entering your septic tank and sewage system; and
  • it provides your home with free water to use as an irrigation system to nourish your lawn and other plants in the backyard.

Gray water utilizes water from the sink, dishwasher and washing machine as an alternative way to recycle used water and use for other purposes. Treated gray water may be used to flush the toilet that this procedure requires a more complex installation of different gray water disposal and recycling units. Take note that water from the toilet is not regarded as gray water unless treated first.

Installing a gray water system in your home is not much of a chore, though for more complex installations it would be best to consult a specialist regarding proper design, installation and use. But the do-it-yourself advocate could build a gray water tank system from scratch and would not need expensive construction materials to do so. Your local junk yard or scrap yard is a good place to start.

How to Build a Gray water Tank

1. Check with your local authorities regarding the use of gray water systems in your area. Some states do not permit the use and disposal of gray water in the soil. Make sure that you conform to all state and environmental laws in your area before undertaking this procedure.  

2. As previously mentioned above, your local junk yard is a good source of used storage materials that is appropriate to use as a gray water tank for your home. Look for used bath tubs as these are ideal for storing gray water. Similar storage tanks may be used such as a large sink or any other holding container. The idea is to look for a tank that holds no larger than 55 gallons of water. You may also consult a used appliance store, city dump or plumbing contractor when looking for an ideal tank to use.

3. Install your choice of storage tank outside the house, behind the outside wall of the kitchen or wash room. This would reduce costs as shorter pipes could be utilized for the connection. It is imperative that the tank be set slightly tilting towards the drain opening. If this is not possible then you would have to raise the ground with the use of wooden blocks or cement blocks for the tank to sit in.

4. Connect the necessary piping to the tank. The drain should be connected to a 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe or larger to accommodate better flow of water. Run the PVC pipe to the trees and plants in your backyard that would benefit from this installation.

5. After the drain pipe issue is resolved, reroute the drain systems of the dishwasher, kitchen sink and washing machine to the gray water tank. Consult your local plumber for proper procedures regarding this matter.

6. Remember to cover the tank with a piece of wooden plank or any similar contraption to prevent accumulation of insects and critters. Place a filter screen on the drain pipe to filter any solid debris.

You need not spend thousands of dollars on a gray water tank as creativity and resourcefulness will provide you with a tank that is fit for your home.