Due to Australia’s hot and dry climate, it has become every homeowner’s responsibility to be mindful of water restrictions and employ measures that can help them save as much water as possible.
Most homes make use of potable or drinkable water in its systems, which means that perfectly good water is being used and thrown down toilets and drains. This wasteful practice can be avoided if you opt to have a blackwater system installed in your property.
What is blackwater?
Within a typical household, there are two types of wastewater being produced. Greywater pertains to wastewater that comes from plumbing fixtures that don’t involve the toilet, such as taps, basins and showers. Blackwater, on the other hand, is water that combines with waste from the toilet, dishwashers, and the kitchen.
These two types can be treated for reuse in different ways. Products with phosphorus and sodium (in small amounts) can be added to greywater to make it suitable for watering the garden, washing clothes or flushing toilets (as long as the necessary precautions are met).
Blackwater from single dwellings should be treated via chemical or biological means, along with proper disinfection, before it can be reused. Even then, the treated blackwater can only be used for subsurface irrigation, and outdoors.
How it works
Basically, blackwater is treated by being directed to an initial tank with the help of gravity. The wastewater settles for a specific period of time, after which a colony of bacteria works on the solid forms in the water for about 24 hours. The settled blackwater is then transferred to a secondary tank where it goes through aeration, sludge settling and irrigation stages; more bacteria and chemicals are used to further treat the water. After these processes, the treated blackwater is then pumped over the outdoor irrigation system.
Properly obtaining the system
Before getting black water systems, Melbourne homeowners must first refer to the laws governing their use in their location. The following steps can be observed:
- Contact your trusted local plumber and ask for advice regarding the creation of the appropriate blackwater system for your property.
- Talk to the local sewerage removal authority about redirecting your household’s used water. In urban residential areas, houses are conventionally connected to a centralised sewage system.
- Find out from your local council if you are eligible for green rebates by putting up this wastewater reuse system.
- Provide your water supply authority all the pertinent information on the blackwater system and any changes that will be made to your plumbing.
Blackwater treatment systems can be purchased from companies that take care of supplying, installing and servicing them. However, before you go ahead and purchase one for your home, it’s best to approach the environment or health department in your state first so that its accreditation can be ascert