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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Difference between Blackwater and Greywater

1/21/2021 (Permalink)

Image of black water with letters stating "Water clasifications (Black vs. Gray) Lear about the difference between black and greywater.

Every single day we use water, it is the most important thing for man and all living things to survive. Most water is collected as wastewater. Our daily activities and chores that involve using water, produce wastewater which is collected in tanks. Wastewater has two categories, blackwater and greywater. These two different kinds of wastewater must be kept in separate tanks because they each have different levels of contamination and are treated differently.

2 Different Categories of Wastewater


Blackwater is wastewater from toilets and bathrooms that include fecal matter and urine. Also known as sewage or brown water, it can carry disease causing bacteria that are harmful to anyone who encounters it. Blackwater can also be referred to as floodwater that generally comes from overflowing bodies of water as a result of heavy rain, hurricanes, tsunamis or typhoons that combine with sewage water that can be overloaded with bacteria. Recycled blackwater is only used as fertilizer, it must be processed and decomposed accurately to destroy the bacteria.


Greywater is wastewater that comes from sinks, washing machines, and bathtubs. It doesn’t have as many contaminants as blackwater and is easier to treat. Recycled greywater can ne used for irrigation and in constructed wetlands. If the greywater is from the sink, food particles from it can help nourish plants. Recycled greywater is very useful when it comes to times of drought when water is scarce.

Never drink grey water or blackwater, if you have an issue with either one, you need to address it and fix it, right away. If greywater goes untreated, it can turn to black water within 48 to 72 hours.

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