Greywater recycling systems in Germany - Results, experiences and guidelines
Although Germany is not considered a water-poor country, there exist regional differences in water supply and consumption. During the past 15 years, the greywater aspect has been dealt with in Germany with a greater interest and variable success. In addition to an increased environmental awareness, water costs also play an important role in increasing the demand for advanced greywater treatment plants nstalled in buildings. Under favourable conditions, the amortisation costs usually lie between 5 and 7 years. Systems that have been extensively tried and tested and have been shown to be most reliable are those employing an advanced biological treatment followed by an UV disinfection. Systems based on membrane technology are being developed and researched intensively in Germany for municipal wastewater treatment. However, so far they play no role in greywater recycling. Greywater systems operating under low energy and maintenance requirements without the use of chemicals are mostly favoured. In Germany, greywater recycling systems should be registered at the Health Office in order to guarantee that no cross-connections exist with the drinking water network and that pipes are labelled according to regulations. The hygienic requirements for recycled greywater, which is primarily used for toilet flushing, are oriented towards the EU-Guidelines for Bathing Waters. The use of recycled greywater for irrigation purposes is minor. As to the use of recycled water for laundry, the first promising investigation results are now available.