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pookiesmom_gw

Greywater

Pookiesmom
May 19, 2002

So glad to see this forum. I have been devoring the series Creating an Oasis from Greywater (How to be build, Everything your contractor needs to know about graywater, etc. ) I wish I knew more about plumbing, had more slope to my lot and that my leach field and tank were not so close to my house! Any one out there using grey water? I am interested in mulch basins.

Thanks, Claire

Comments (38)

  • gardenlen

    g'day,

    we use our greywater, but it gets fed straight to the fruit trees, so does our urine, where it is needed most.

    mail len

    lens garden page

  • Susanne_Q

    I am very interested in greywater options. I feel we waste an incredible amount of water (gravity dug well). We are planning to build on our property in a year, and I want to do it responsibly.
    My partner claims that the greywater is still feeding the rhododendron via the leech field (sp), and feels that this is good re-use. I know that this is wrong, and that he can be brought over to the other side if only I could gain a bit of knowledge.
    Claire- would you please give me a reference for this oasis? I'm not sure what kind of "series" you're talking about. Thanks.
    Len- Flushing for every pee is something that makes me nuts. Especially when the compost pile could use it. I'd like to know how you make use of it.
    Any info or links re ways to use greywater would be appreciated.

    susanne

  • gardenlen

    g'day susanne q,

    we are going to have a composting toilet, so we are and will be running a seperate urine bucket this gets tipped into the grey water from the kitchen at present twice a day.

    we generate around 1/2 a bucket of urine twice in 24 hours, this mix then goes to the citrus and stone fruit trees. when our grey water system is up and running any urine from the drop toilet which is accidental type stuff will be drained into the grey water drip lines to those same fruit trees.

    http://www.aushomepage.com.au/Article/800/

    http://surf.to/NaturalTechnology

    there's a couple of links hope they still work?

  • Pookiesmom

    Hi Susie,

    The book series is by Art Ludwig and I ordered them from the Rodale Istitute Bookstore online. See the Permaculture section. Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway is a very nice overview of permaculture that is very readable and applicable to North america. As for toilet flushing there is no rule you have to flush everytime. If its yellow, let it mellow, if brown flush it down works at our house.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Rodale Institute

  • Cady

    There is a great exhibit at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, AZ. They got a grant to build a sustainable home that uses passive solar, is built of insulating blocks that keep the home cool when it's hot outside, and warm when it's cool outside.

    And, it has an extensive graywater recycling setup that re-uses the water to irrigate the home's vegetable gardens and ornamental plants (many of which are xerophytic in the first place). If you ever get to the Phoenix area, it's worth a visit. The whole desert botanic garden is great, but it's an extra "perk" to see the sustainable house and its graywater system.

  • Pookiesmom

    Hi Bob,

    I tried to email but it came back undeliverable. Hope you see this.

    Here is the order form link from Rodale. I bought three books by Art Ludwig.
    Creating a greywater system, Branched Drain Greywater, And The builders
    guide to greywater. I found all three useful.

    Claire

    https://www.rodalequickpay.com/rodaleinstitute/bookstore/

    >
    > Clair,
    > > I ran into your message on GardenWeb about recycle of waste water. I
    would like to do same at my cabin in the mountains. You mentioned a book
    that obtained from rodel institute. I looked on their website and didn't
    find anything on that topic. What book did you get? What section is it
    under? Did you find it usefull?
    > > Thanks Much,
    > > Bob

    Here is a link that might be useful: Rodale Bookstore

  • seraphima

    Keep a watering can near the door and outside tap. Collect urine in (marked)Nalgene containers, which have screw-on tops that really do not leak, even if dropped. mix 1 jar with a watering can of water, and water selected plants. Comfrey and rhubarb, which are both nitrogen loving plants can take a very strong solution. Most other plants require a much more dilute preparation, as the acid will burn them. I do not use urine on food plants where the urine will contact the part eaten withing 2-4 weeks of picking.

    It's best uses are for bushes, shrubs, and trees, the comfrey patches, ornamentals, for compost, and for off-season fertilization when sheet mulching, etc.

  • eaglesc_technowhacko

    I'm about to do some plumbing.
    let me see if I have this right.
    Grey water:Shower/bath,kitchen rinse water
    Can be used on lawns ,trees, grass
    Should NOT be used on edibles.(vegetable garden)
    Can greywater be used to keep a compost pile watered?

  • gardenlen

    i've used grey water to water vegetables, yes grey water could be used on compost heaps, most of our bath water at present goes to a pumpkin patch.

  • forest_gardener

    Here is the link to Art's website. Lots of info for free and you can order the books directly. 'Building an Oasis with Greywater' is the best Book I have come across on he subject. I am concerned about the salt build up from applying urine directly to my clay soil. So we have been applying it to the compost pile. I am wondering if the salt build up with be a problem when applying the compost to the soil?

    Here is a link that might be useful: greywater info

  • dirtgal

    This whole business of using human urine to fertilize/water ornamentals, shrubs, trees, etc. is new to me. I would most certainly expect the county health authorities to come down on one but hard. Aren't there regulations against this?Am I just being naive? We only get 5-7" annually here (if we are lucky!) tho the last 3 years have been worse. I routinely use dripwater collected in barrels here, and intend to install a huge underground cistern, or one above ground with a gazebo and dance floor above it (hope I live to get it done!) What is your scientific/health based research on the use of human urine? Dirtgal in Wyo.

  • gardenlen

    almost sounds like you want regulation on the use of human urine in gardens dirtgal?

    with your low rainfall i'm afraid i would be using liquid for watering where ever i could get it from, i've never heard of urine carrying and bad transmittable bugs as there are no pathogens in it and at worst if someone had a urinary tract infection you would have something in it then but how viable those bugs would be once out in the open in the garden might be the question to seek.

    what sort of toilet do you have? in your situation you would want to be using a dry type toilet so as not to have to provide valuable water for waste disposal.

    len

    mail len

    lens garden page

  • oleyans

    Claire,
    The Solar Living Institute in Hopland (north of Sonoma County, I think) may have infomation about greywater systems. You can visit their awesome demonstration site which shows mostly solar devices, but they also have information on sustainable living in general.
    And just who is Pookie???

    Here is a link that might be useful: Solar Living Institute

  • antic_zone9

    Dirtgal and others-

    Not sure if you are still checking this post, but here goes.
    Urine is an excellent source of minerals including potassium, magnesium, and especially nitrogen, albeit not in the correct form right away. Diluting urine and watering plants is good.
    The salts that are in urine will be broken down by the "microherd" residing in your gardens and compost heaps. :)
    Urine is safe to drink in emergencies (desert,etc) and urine has been used for millenia as a disinfectant in the wild when there was nothing else (can we say AMMONIA?).

    Local ordinances technically only concern themselves with SOLID waste. I would feel that urine "slips" (hehe) out of that catagory as a liquid (and valuable) waste.

    HTH

    -Mike

    ialbtc

  • backflows

    I would be careful using urine on anything edible as urine can carry germs and viruses, ask any uralogist. Most of the credit for eradicating common deseases of the past is due to the fact that we now have modern sanitation. There are some wackos even drinking a glass a day for health purposes. The body uses urine to eliminate wastes. Recycling the waste in your own body is akin to having kidney desease. I have no problem watering non-edible trees or bushes with the stuff but not food. Also if anyone is taking antibiotics, this will breakdown the natural biological action of septic systems or compost piles.

  • madspinner

    Hey! And here I thought "I" was pookie's mom! Here's from one pookie mom to another! My pookie send's greetings, she's almost 2!

    I'd have to sneak urine into my garden... my husband is kind of fussy! It's good for dying with indigo or woad also, and has been used to scour wool before it is dyed. Useful stuff. Kind of surprised we don't make more use of it. Great for compost piles for folks with no manure to add... adds all those microrganisms.

    How could it be worse for you than putting manure tea on your garden? Especially if it is your urine and you have already been exposed to whatever is in it? You should be washing your food anyway... I mean come on, a dog could have peed on it when you wern't looking! Nature is not sterile, not even a little bit.

  • poppymiller

    Well....Hmmmmm, I'm also Pookies Mom, only my Pookie is 36 this coming August. Never realized there were so many Pookies around. 8-)

    I'm hoping this isn't off topic, but the thread reminded me of a thread on another gardening list I'm on. It was about fire ants. A friend who is a Master Gardener tells me he has erradicated most of his fire ant problems by watering his ant hills with undiluted urine. Having never heard this, and also being a Master Gardener, I suppose I'm looking to verify this unusual method of ridding the yard of these nasty pests.

    To keep this on topic though I will have to 2nd what someone else said about using urine on your veggies, diluted or otherwise it can have some very negative effects.
    It is probably the single most important thing we have done in the modern world to eliminate a lot of diseases and early death. While the last hundred years has seen a lot of agricultural blunders, this wasn't one of them. Poppy

  • BelgianPupWA

    This is late for this forum, but I've got to say it:

    URINE IS NOT OKAY TO DRINK IN ANY TYPE OF SURVIVAL SITUATION! That is a fallacy, and has always been a fallacy. Just like it's a no-no to drink seawater if you are adrift without water, you absolutely do NOT drink urine. It has at least as much salt in it as seawater (just like our blood), and if you're dehydrated, probably even more.

    And as long as I'm putting in my 2 cents, healthy urine is sterile.

    And, as Ann Landers said years ago: It's okay if your husband is putting his urine in the garden to keep the rabbits out, but he might get into trouble with the neighbors if he's using his own sprinkler.

    Okay, NOW I'm finished.

    'Pup

  • Beemer

    What type of soap and/or shampoo do you use when you use bath greywater for your plants? Specifically we wish to have an outdoor shower in the citrus tree well area.

    Any soaps recomended?

  • Eric_in_Japan

    Beemer, there was a tread on this a while back, it got pushed back to the third page now. But I think pretty much any soap that doesn't have boron in it will do fine.
    Eric in Japan

    Here is a link that might be useful: greywater and soaps

  • madspinner

    Most commercial soaps are really detergents. You would want to use REAL soap, I would imagine, the kind made with fat and lye. Some bars of Ivory soap are real soap. I know when I occassionally wash in our river, I make sure to SPARINGLY use real soap and not a detergent bar or shampoo. Soap breaks down more easily. All the same, soap is not perfect either... as shown by using soap to kill insects.

    Also, I want to point out that septic systems don't waste water, they put it right back into the underground water system in your area. What wastes water is what you are doing to it first (ie flushing with too much water, long showers...) The only way it is wasteful is if you are paying for your water, your well is prone to go dry, or you really NEED to use that water for something else like watering your garden.

    That said, I really am interested in graywater systems... my mother has been wanting one for her planned home.

    Oh, and the only time I have ever heard it recomended to drink urine is in EXTREEM emergencies when you would DIE if you did not... I'm told it would give you a few extra days of life, right before your kidneys would start to shut down. Certainly nothing I would recomend casually.

  • Jarguy

    As a former US Marine who took desert survival training "Never drink urine!" If you are dehydrated in the first place your urine will be dark (concentrated toxins your body is getting rid of) Im not sure if a post twelve pack crystal clear water letting would be too bad to drink but I wuoldnt. Urine is pretty styrle, solid waste will make you sick or dead

  • Pookiesmom

    Here it is over two years since my original post and it is still on the first page of the permaculture forum. That makes me sad, since on the LAndscape Design fourm it would have spent maybe a couple of days on the first page then rapidly fade into archivedom.

    I wish more people were interested in Permaculture!

    So here is an update on our greywater plans. We are redoing our bathroom hopefully this winter, early spring. 40 years old and dry rot city. An excellent opportunity to enginner the plumbing to allow for release of shower, sink, and laundry water into greywater system or septic depending on the weather and rain. Given the siting of our home on the property and slope it is not practical to use mulch basins so we are going to create a greywater pond using plants (CAttails, tule reeds) and a gravel bed/waterfall to purify and oxygenate.

    We are lucky enough to live near the Permaculture Institute and visited there in Marin to see what a lovely oasis Penny Livingston and James Stark have created. They have two such ponds.

    Now I need to figure out what to do with the dirt we excavate. A raised mound labyrinth?

    Anyway it is fun to ponder.

    Claire

  • gardenlen

    g'day claire,

    yes permaculture seems to be in some sort of decline, i am in a number of other groups/forums and it is just the same there as well eg.,. 1 forum has over 300 members, a single post can generate over 400 hits yet get as little as 6 to 30 responses, this same forum is lucky to generate around 3 or 4 post per week.

    the reason that i see is that when new people come searching for basic grass roots help with permaculture their searches are met with a wall of PC design courses driven by those who want nothing more than to sell permaculture.

    i have had these discussions on other groups and get agreement from newbies and berated by the pc sellers. i also get negative feedback from the general public when i mention that we run our property along permaculture practises, it is like permaculture is getting a bad name from the above sellers. we are selling our property and a lady who came to look the other day believed that she had to do a pc design course & get a diploma before she could even begin using permaculture practises.

    have fun setting up your system you will find a use for the dirt, your description of your slope of land does that mean you don't have much of a slope? when we had our greywater plumbing done i should have set it up so we could bypass teh grease trap and holding tank (draconian local government requirements), as i find the fresher you can get greywater to the plants the better it is, sitting in a grease trap and the bit that never drains from the tank all degrade the water and make it very smelly.

    lets get permaculture back to grass roots, there are too many lurkers and not enough active chatters, this won't encourage newbies.

    len

    mail len

    lens garden page

  • Charl_CT

    As a newbie myself I must concur with Len. There is a paucity of info on the web - there are a few okay sites but they are generalist and list permaculture as a subset generally and on the whole are lacking in in-depth detailed information. The trend seems to be for subsets of permaculture to have their own forums (vermicomposting, composting, organic gardening etc). I assume these are subsets!? Most of the pure permaculture sites seem to be vehicles for selling courses and books.

    I suppose that authors and trainers need to earn a living also but I am surprised that the US government does not play an active part in driving the process. I have noticed that certain of the regional governments in the US seem to be flirting with sustainability. Oregon, especially, seems to be a 'trying to be a 'green' State'? Perhaps this is because I have been told that this is where most of the flower children from the 60's have retreated to ;). State governments seem to prioritise recycling and composting but appear to over-regulate on issues such as grey water and dog waste composting.

    Although the State efforts must surely be minimal in terms of annual budgets at least they have structures in place. What is surely needed is the buy-in and support of the National government. Perhaps we should work on getting you guys to sign the Kyoto Protocol first!? ; ).

    I live in Cape Town which is one of the 'greener' cities in South Africa (my own view) but their official 'green' presence is ludicrous and mostly involved with alien eradication. The national government here does not visibly support green living but then again we have extreme social issues that demand precedence (70% of worldÂs Aids sufferers, massive unemployment, poverty etc.) I think that sustainable living will only become the norm if governments create the structures and incentives to make it part of our daily lives.

    I wonder could the lack of interest from the US (I say this because GW is a US based site with the majority of its users being American, it appears) be due to living in a land of plenty? I believe that no politician in the US will dare raise the price of petrol (gasoline) otherwise the public backlash will see him/her bundled out of office. I read an article I Time magazine on the Big 5 auto manufacturers in the US (GM, Chrysler, Ford et al) and how they cannot develop vehicles with smaller engines because the public refuse to buy them. In SA 1.1, 1.3 and 1.6 litre motors are more the norm than the exception although we are seeing more and more SUV's (read status and wealth symbols) on the road. I recall meeting some girls in Ft Lauderdale who drove a 7.1 Lincoln Continental  we bought a 4.5 litre Jeep.

    I suppose the National govt will only act when there is sufficient public pressure to force them to act or lose votes. (I am continually amazed that the future of this planet is in the hands of one of the most venal, amoral and selfish group of individuals (politicians) on the planet. How did we let this happen?

    At the end of the day I suppose we are fighting a lack of education, public apathy and a lack of government support. That is why forums such as these give me comfort  I am not alone and there are other folks who are unhappy with the status quo and are doing their little bit.

    I have started vermicomposting and in the last year I have gained three disciples and supplied them with the necessary worms and info to start their own bins. Two primary schools have subsequently adopted worm bins through one of the converts and maybe the children will become wormies when older. It would just be so much easier if government assisted!

  • Belgianpup

    "How did we let this happen?"

    Because we are lazy and stupid and aren't going to change anything until the results of our current methods whack us in the face, that's why! Americans have only one basic priority: making money. And if it can be done at the expense of the people or the land, etc, so much the better. You actually can't expect much from a country that, educationally, is 19th out of 19 of the industrialized nations.

    I don't think the politicians are the ones who raise the price of gas -- I think the oil companies do that, and they OWN the politicians. Both are greedy and self-serving, so let's not anticipate any help from that corner.

    Apathy is the bottom line. Trying to get a committee to do anything is usually a waste of time. One person with determination can usually acomplish more than any group.

    But change is the big bugaboo all over the world. There is a poster here, an American transplanted to Japan. I asked if Masanobu Fukoka's (One-Straw Revolution) farming ideas had been put into practice there much in the past 30 years. He said no, it had been basically ignored.

    I think we can safely assume that, until things become dire, nothing is going to change, esp in government.

    Care of the land in all countries is mostly a do-it-yourself program.

    'Pup

  • mid_tn_mama

    Charl_CT: As an American, I'd have to agree with your observations. But as an American who believes that we must conserve, recycle and reuse because it is the right thing to do;the best thing for our environment: I realize I'm in a minority.

    There are many Americans who are trying to use solar energy or recycle wastewater--but it is an uphill battle. Sure in California, it is relatively easy to find support from the local utility company to hook up your system --but in some areas like mine you just don't can't find that support. There is no national electric or water utility like in many other countries.

    I find it very interesting that 80 years ago most homes in America used cisterns and in some places like California and Florida most homes also used solar hot water (passive). Why would people want to pay for something that they had for free? Even if it doesn't cost very much (relatively). I think it has to do with advertising and that people do not want the slightest inconvenience.

    As for SUV's and gas guzzlers I see two phenomenon: When gas prices went up (not all that much by your standards) people were trying to sell those SUVS. At the same time, the new hybrid cars were selling like hotcakes with huge long waiting lists. The auto makers are wrong-- I think people would buy fuel efficient cars if they were affordable. The current ones aren't affordable to the average American and they are still very much in demand.

    In any case, as with all countries, you must be very careful to assume that all Americans feel one way or the other. I think election results in the past two elections showed that.

  • locust

    I think it's very interesting there are so many opposing views on urine. Some folks seem to think it's horrible and nasty and others think it's the cure-all. I've met extremely healthy people that drink a little bit of their urine everyday. I wonder how much of it is cultural or specific to the person (as in how nasty or clean someone's urine is.) I wonder how much consciousness plays into it.

    As far as watering plants . . . I pee outside my trailer and the spots where I pee are waaaay lusher in grasses than the places I don't. I experienced the same thing in my old garden. I think of lot of it depends on what you consume. No answers here, just reporting my experience on this fascinating topic.

  • Pookiesmom

    Hi its me pookismom, almost 2 years after this intital post....so sad to see this forum is not more active...on landscape design no post last two years before archiving! Anyway, we are still moving towards graywater completion. Muclch basins have morphed in a full fledged bog that leads to a pond with aerating waterfall and pump to recirculate water thru a gravel filled stock tank. We are doing a passive solar retrofit of our bathroom which is on the south side of our house and during the shower replumbing will plumb two lines (one fo rthe inspector who needs to see it go to the septic tank for code enforcement and another for the graywater pond. Our contractor says after everythign is signed off we can divert water but not before.

    ALso this gives us the option of diverting water to the septic field when the rains have totally topped off the pond in winter. Of course, we don't have the money to do the bathroom and the pond simultaneously...but hope to have the plumbing done now and hopefuly next year will do the pond and bog. It has been lots of fun researching and I am experimenting with a miniture tule reed...or a at least one that the nursery advertises as only getting 4-5 feet tall rather than 8-10 )as part of my biofiltration plant. anyway the water should not be to disgusitng providing we use the right shampoo and don't cook in our shower or get fish.

    I will keep you all posted as it develops...looks like this post could last two more years.

    Pookiesmom

  • Pookiesmom

    Hello,

    This is the best web based article I have found to date about purifying gray water before it enters a pond. Hope it is helpsu to someone out there. The downsdie....th echap lives in Australia and the plants he used would not be appropriate, but still great info.

  • QsilvQ

    A vote of thanks, Pookiesmom, for starting this and for keeping it alive and reasonably on track. I've found it absorbing reading... in fact that latest link on top of the rest has definitely got me re-thinking my pond plans! I'm grateful.

    Any chance you could post pix of your projects as they develop? (Yes, over two more years would be fun!)

  • EdenWest

    Hey, I really loved reading this thread! So many things to comment on....

    I think I am siding with the urine-users. I see no reason why diluted urine wouldn't be great to water the garden. Using it on non-food plants will eventually not be an option here, as almost everything will be edible somehow. If you are careful to pour it on the ground and not get any on the leaves or edible parts, why should it be a problem? We do all we can to reduce our water consumption here, and saving our pee for fertilizer would really help. Our house is 56 years old, and I think it still has the original toilet (don't tell!), which means it uses a lot of water per flush (we don't flush every time), but it also has NOT clogged since we moved in. AMAZING! If we start using cloth TP, we could have quite the system going here.

    I would love to install a greywater system here. For now, we plan to put some buckets in the shower to catch the extra, and I might try using some kind of barrel to catch the water from the washing machine (easy to divert). It won't be filtered through any type of bog or pond before it goes on the plants, though. I really should do some more reading on this subject.

    As for this 2-year-old thread still being on the first page. Well, chalk it up to this being a fscinating topic as well as little activity on the board. I also have noticed that other PC forums seem to be more about listing your workshops than about sharing info and helping each other. Blah. I JUST read my 1st two PC books about 2 months ago (Chicken Tractor and Gaia's Garden), and I really think I need to learn by doing rather than spend time and $$ I don't have going to workshops and school. Heck, I am already in school, I am trying to work enough to pay for this property we bought, raise my 3 yo daughter, take care of my darling husband, and get this PC garden started. I REALLY don't have time for workshops. I'll do my learnin' by book, and hopefully y'all will help me out if I get stumped.

    The fact is, I am really INSPIRED by all this. I want to be a real "permaculture activist" and spread this stuff like the GOSPEL that it is. If anyone is still reading, and I know a lot of people have posted on this thread, so I hope you all see it, let's re-invigorate this forum a little. Let's talk about lots of stuff, not just nuts and bolts of gardening, but philosophy and dreams and music and all kinds of stuff. I'm going to post a new thread now. Check it out. Let's talk.

    Jeanne

  • romur1

    Hey Pookiesmom;
    i think most areas on the planet aren't too far from a bog. Native wetland plants from close by should work for just about anyone.
    As far as the urine question ... walk through a barnyard after a good rain.
    great thread Ron

  • markapp

    the term greywater was originally coined to mean shower and sink water not water containing human waste. Some propose filtering this greywater to reuse to flush the stool. This seems a bit like too much hardware and energy use for too littel saving as well as a good way to keep the toilets looking nasty. most modern soaps and even detergents pose little threat and often actually benefit plants. One caveat is if you wash toxins off such as petrochemicals etc that is also in the water. provided you never wash any toxins down the sink it should be no problem. Urine is a decent souce or plant nutrients and in nature it is how animal urines as well as feces are typicly recycled. the health concerns with recycling waste are mostly with feces as a method of spreading parasites like tapeworms. Urine can be applied to plants and compost but it can also be toxic if undiluted. An intresting system that allows for typical modern healthy plumbing as well as recyling the nutrients otherwise wasted in waste water was one i saw on a new house show out of dallas mikeal holligans new house i think was the show. It consisted of an extra septic ahead of the standard septic and leech field in which the liquid was aerated for improved odor and sanitation control then irrigated. Most of the solids continued to the standard digestion system. a problem with composting toilets and saving solid or liquid human waste is the dificulty in maintaining sanitation and odor control. An outhouse may be ok in the yard provided you have ample supplies of sawdust wood ash etc to add in to keep odor and insect problems at bay. Need to let it age a year or two before adding to compost heaps. Another water and mineral conservation tactic you should all try is a harvest sink out in the yard draining to a compost heap or garden to wash your fresh produce off in. It can be a simple stand and old recycled kithen sink fed by a cold only garden hose. Unhook and drain for cold weather no trap required just dump to a bucket compost heap or somewhere you don't stand. under a shade tree would be a nice touch where hot.

  • Pookiesmom

    The continuing saga of the grey water continues with a happy ending! WE lived thru the retrofit of our bathroom and although the contractor got cold feet about pursuing the grey water option out in the open and gettign a permit for it, we did work with our plumber to plumb in so afdter final inspection we could easily divert all our tub, shower and sink water to a greywater line and only toilet water would go to the septic tank. We followed all of Art Ludwig's advice in above mentioned books and we have a system that is permitable in my estimation: using all the correct pipes, fittings, etc. We ended up with no open water at all.....since in theory that is not legal, but have a created a subsurface discharge into a branched drain mulch basin. The basin is 2 feet deep and roughly 6 by 8 feet...that was the hard part, digging the hole! The dirt got spread all around our yard. The greywater line from the house (which although the plumber tried to conserve as much fall as possible.)..exited lower than we had hoped...a few inches below the soil level so we had to dig a sloping trench away from the house since the mulch basin was a good 8 feet from the foundation.

    The pipe made a 90 degree turn and split into two pipes with backflwo valves which lead into two 25 gallon barrels with holes drilled in the sides and bottom cut out. These are the surge tanks to accomodate a large flow from emptying the tub (45 gallon capacity). Then it was time to plant. I wanted something archtectural that could evapotranspirate and look good. I settled on chondopetalum tectorium which I bought in one gallon containers, 3 of them. I was concerned about the roots eventually growing into the surge tanks so I took landscape cloth and sewed large bags...probably two feet in diameter and 3 feet tall...dropped them into the basin, backfilled with soil and planted each restio into one of 3 bags, with a loose drawstring top. Then we back filled the whole basin which a coarse goround mulch of bark, twigs, etc. and top dressed that with some cedar chip mulch already in the garden.

    Now you would never now that planting bed is actually a grey water bog! It has been 6 months and I wanted to wait until I had some winter weather and lots of rain to see how things would perform. So far, so good. I have not actually removed any mulch to remove the cover of the surge tanks to see what is going on in there...but definitely no standing water anywhere and we have had alot of rain this past week.

    One very good thing when we were digging the mulch basin was that we uncovered the drain pipe installed by a previous owner to drain the patio. We tied the nearby downspout into that solid pipe. We also damaged the water line going to the lawn sprinklers and that is how we found out about telescoping fittings! ITs amazing what you can find underground with a pickaxe! I am about to transplant some one year old native cornus shrubs (which are pond peripherals in native habitat and look crappy in my yard because they have to survive on little water in the summer)to the edges of the basin. I am hoping they will tap in to the moisture there and look better come summer.

    SO look fowrd to another report next fall when we have had a full summer of heat to see how things go.

    Claire
    PS: Pookie is well too...he will be 7 this February and so is my DH who did alot of the digging and plumbing!

    I am disappointed I did not get a pond out of the deal, but I am growing plants that I would normally grow since they requiremore water than I am willing to give them.

  • rfonte649

    What about all waste water. The discharge of our sewer systems, (treatment plants)) has to go somewhere, and it is probably going into our rivers and lakes. Oh sure its treated. But with what, chemicals. Why not recylce it, to our gardens and lawns?

  • gardenlen

    i think they use ultra violet to kill the pathogens in treated sewage water, and not sure what they do to make it look crystal clear but could be some sort of chemical used. but they can't take out all the chemical residues from light industrial waste, or low grade uranium & hospital waste + all those other residues lots of eostrogen and from different medications including chemo' therapies.

    the best thing we can do is to allow for composting toilets in our homes, that way we don't use any water that needs to be recycled.

    over here it is so dry with this prolonged drought that a number of administrators are wanting to pump treated sewage water for home use, forget the garden. can you imagine the problems for long term health and how corrupted the mains could become??

    they also want to pump this class '2'!!?? water to the farmers (the farmers are pumping the aquafa dry and are running out of water all to grow crops out of season and on broad acre farms) who provide our fresh produce so they can irrigate the crops with it, again all the above residues come into play. and what happens when there is a break down in the system what gets pumped out then or who is realy going to monitor all this generally governments leave all monitoring up the 'self' process.

    and water from your sewerage toilet is called "black-water".

    len

  • kirnex

    Forgive me if any point I offer has been raised, but I am a bit too ADD to read the entire thread. I, too, just purchased a Ludwig book (the one on making greywater systems utilizing ferrocement, etc.) and am currently awaiting its delivery. I just wanted to make a point of the use of household-run-off greywater verses rain. If you live in a municipality (rather than a cistern- or well-based water supply system), you may want to think twice about the use of household run-off. Although we have EXCELLENT drinking water in our city, it makes for a terrible watering option, as it is apparently too high in salts and refinement chemicals. Also, the presence of phosphates in so many of our cleansing materials also beckons consideration.

    I DO, however, intend to set up my own rain greywater system this early spring, as I've noticed a significant period of thriving after even the most insubstantial of rains in my plants; there can be no doubt of its benefits over municipal water. Will post pics once I get it set up. Thus far, I plan to use large barrels for receptacles; once I read Ludwig's book, I suspect the method will change (as I am already a fan of ferrocement structures and just need some inspiration).

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