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Maintaining your graywater system

Maintaining a Laundry-to-Landscape System is considerably easier than other types of graywater system since there are no filters or tanks to clean-out. Most maintenance tasks should be done at least annually or if you notice water in unusual places. It is best to direct graywater to the sewer/septic system during the rainy season to ensure graywater never pools or ponds on the soil surface.

This section describes steps you can take to ensure your graywater system will continue running smoothly for years to come. This video from Greywater Action provides an effective, quick summary of how key maintenance steps look in action.

 

Component

Inspection Schedule

Action

3-Way Valve

Annual

Check for leaks at washer hose, and make sure label is in place.

There should never be moisture at the 3-way valve. If leaking, tighten the hose clamp.

Relabel if needed. Labels should clearly show which direction the graywater is flowing for how the valve's handle is oriented.

Auto Vent

Annual

Check for leaks from the auto vent. If leaking, replace the auto vent.
There should never be moisture at the auto vent. If leaking, replace the auto vent.

Piping and Tubing

Annual, or if you notice water in unusual places

Check for leaks. If piping or tubing is leaking,  cut out the damaged section and reconnect with couplers or barbed couplers. The coupler size will depend on your pipe size (either 1/2-inch, 3/4-inch, or most likely 1-inch).

Relabel if needed. Exposed piping should be labeled, "Caution: Nonpotable graywater. Do not drink.".

Discharge Outlets

Annual, or if you notice water in unusual places

Check for even distribution.

Unclog particles that have built up in the outlets.

Open all ball valves, and if needed flush the system by running rinse cycles. Another option is to temporarily separate the PVC union to access the piping by temporarily disconnecting it from the clothes washer. 

Mulch Basins

Annual

Remove decomposed mulch and add new mulch.

If water is pooling or ponding, dig out the mulch basin so it has a larger surface area and add new mulch.

If the plant has grown past the outlet, dig up the mulch and soil surrounding the outlet and piping up to the plant's current drip line. Cut the piping and place the mulch shield/valve box at the new location under the drip line. Ensure the pipe outlet is 2-inches below the soil surface. If you cut the pipe too far, use a barbed coupler and some hot water to join the two pipe pieces back together (either 1/2-inch, 3/4-inch, or 1-inch depending on the pipe size).

Caption
Graywater Maintenance