Greywater systems (INFO 019)

Greywater is domestic waste water generated from showers, baths, spas, wash basins and laundries which can be diverted for use on lawns and gardens. Toilet waste and kitchen sink greywater is excluded from being used in sewered areas as it is not suitable.

Council approval is NOT required for:

Council approval is required for:

*Before you purchase a greywater device ask the manufacturer of the device for a copy of the product certification certificate. Council can only approve greywater diversion devices with this certification.

Definitions of a greywater diversion device or treatment plant

Definition of a greywater diversion device

The definition of a greywater diversion device under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 is:

For paragraph 1, the characteristics are that the device:


Definition of a greywater treatment plant

The definitions under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 is:

Note: all Greywater treatment plants must have an approval from the Queensland Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning.

Risks of domestic greywater reuse

External risks

Internal risks

Environmental risks

Reducing health and environmental risks


Greywater versus wastewater

Greywater is different from wastewater. Household wastewater, also known as sewage, is composed of two distinct sources:

Greywater use

Greywater may be permitted for use in non-sewered areas, and since the amendments to the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 in August 2006, the use of greywater is now permitted (other than kitchen greywater) within sewered areas, under certain conditions to water domestic gardens and lawns.  Keeping in mind that greywater is a source of salts and other chemicals as well as disease-causing micro-organisms such as bacteria, protozoa, viruses and parasites.

Please note:


How to use greywater safely and effectively

Greywater use can be a sustainable and adequate source of water for lawns and gardens during dry spells.  When using greywater, it is recommended that the home owner is vigilant and considers the following suggestions:


Using greywater for gardening from homes in sewered areas

*Greywater contains micro-organisms such as bacteria, protozoa, viruses and parasites and also contains nutrients and salts from detergents and soaps.  If not carefully managed, it has the potential to cause health risks and environmental problems.  It is illegal to recycle greywater if it causes an odour for neighbouring properties, ponds or causes run-off, or if it presents a danger or risk to health.

PDA: Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018

QPWC: Queensland Plumbing & Wastewater Code

SReg: Standard Plumbing & Drainage Regulation 2003


How greywater will affect my garden soil and plants

Contaminants in greywater can have damaging effects on soils, plants and animals, groundwater and local waterways. Trial greywater use on a small section of the garden to see what effect it has on the soil and the plants before using all over garden. To avoid causing long-term damage to your soil and plants, move the hose around regularly rather than leaving it to discharge to the same place.

Clay soil absorbs water at a slower rate than sandy soil; therefore it is recommended that greywater is applied slowly to prevent ponding or run-off from the garden surface.

Some plants may be affected by the change in soil conditions caused by using greywater, so an occasional use of tank water as an alternative is a good way to avoid such problems. Identify the sensitivity of plant species (especially native plants) to contaminants found in greywater before using it. Ask your local nursery for more information.

Consider testing your soil regularly for pH, salinity, conductivity and chemical levels. This will tell you the suitability of the soil to absorb greywater, as well as allowing you to monitor the ongoing effects of the greywater on the soil environment and plants. See your local nursery or hardware store for more information.


Property safety when neighbours are using greywater

As long as your neighbour is following the guidelines in this brochure, appropriate reuse of greywater is not considered to be a health threat to neighbouring properties. Any unhealthy use of water becomes subject to health department and plumbing regulations and can attract contravention orders and associated fines.


Greywater installation and approval requirements

How to apply for approval

Home owners wishing to apply for installation of a greywater diversion valve or treatment plant, which may collect greywater from a laundry, basin, bath and shower waste should refer to the 'Submit a plumbing and drainage application' for further information and assistance with the plumbing approval requirements. 

Steps to undertake before installation

Check with Council to ensure any device you put in place is approved for use. There are some products advertised and on sale that have not been approved for use in Queensland. Always have your devices and systems fitted by a licensed plumber.

Illegal / misuse of greywater

Under the legislation there are offences and potential fines for illegal plumbing installations and misuse of greywater. Offences under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 include the following:

The home owner must ensure:


Information for plumbers

The greywater guidelines for plumbers can be found on the Department of Housing and Public Works website. It has information which can help plumbers assess whether the home owner has suitable and sufficient land to distribute greywater. Plumbers should use the guidelines to give advice on the purchase and installation costs of greywater systems, prior to the home owner making an application to council.

Further information can be found in Council's INFO 019 What is Greywater Information Sheet.


Greywater rebate

There are no rebates available any longer. The Queensland State Government scheme ended on the 31 December 2008.

Last Updated: Friday, 06 September 2019 15:04