Greywater is household wastewater that comes from:

  • baths 
  • showers 
  • bathroom sinks  
  • laundries
  • kitchens.

It doesn’t include water from toilets, as this is blackwater which may contain pathogens that spread disease. Greywater containing kitchen wastewater requires a greywater treatment system that is certified to handle kitchen wastewater.

How to reuse greywater

Greywater can be a useful water resource, particularly during drought and water restrictions. It can be useful for:  

  • garden watering, with precautions. For example, make sure it is low in salt because salt can kill plants. This means you should use low salt shampoo, laundry detergent and soap. Apply greywater below soil surface 
  • toilet flushing and clothes washing if properly treated.  

You must treat and disinfect greywater before storage and reuse because: 

  • it can contain large numbers of pathogens that spread disease 
  • it begins to turn septic and smell if stored for longer than 24 hours untreated.

Do not use greywater as drinking water.  

The Australian Government’s YourHome website has advice for reusing greywater, including how to:

  • reduce use of cleaning chemicals. Use natural cleaning products if possible 
  • use low or no sodium laundry detergents, soaps and shampoos 
  • use a lint filter. Clean and replace as necessary to make sure water can flow through easily.

Don’t dispose of household chemicals down the sink. Contact your local council or water authority for information about chemical collection services.

Permanent systems for treating and recycling greywater require council permits. To find an approved onsite wastewater system, see current certificate holders.  

Our Code of practice – Onsite wastewater management (publication 891) has more information about managing domestic wastewater.

What the Environment Protection Act 2017 means for duty holders

The general environmental duty (GED) is at the centre of the Act. It applies to all Victorians. The GED requires you to reduce the risk of your activities harming the environment or human health.

There are many ways you can comply with the GED. For example:

  • Keep your on-site wastewater or septic system in good working order.
  • Manage the risk when disposing or reusing the treated greywater to the land.

Read more about wastewater

About wastewater

How to manage your own septic system

Onsite wastewater treatment systems with valid certificates

Regulatory framework and approval process for onsite wastewater treatment systems

Wastewater guidance for industry

Reviewed 8 December 2021