Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by onalove, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. onalove

    onalove Junior Member

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    I'm looking for an easy way to purify grey water using 2 baths, gravel and plants. I have a couple of square baths, access to bluestone gravel from a forgotton road working site, and I only use grey water safe products. I thought to run the water to one bath, then the next, the baths being filled with gravel, mint, naturally occurring algae, and other plants. Perhaps someone can suggest other suitable plants - I live near Cowra so good frost in winter and hot dry summers. Then the water would empty into a ditch dug across the slope of my orchard, again with gravel, mint and moisture-loving plants growning in the ditch. Any thoughts or suggestions?
     
  2. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    just asking why it needs to be purified? if it is only going to water plants use it as fresh as you get it and direct to the plants/gardens. if you have restricted fresh water then use the grey water to flush solids only in the toilet, don't flush urine it could be collected and added to some grey water for garden watering. so the fresh water you save by using grey water to flush could then be used for another purpose like watering.

    len
     
  3. onalove

    onalove Junior Member

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    Yes I thought it was safe to use as is, but then I've read that kitchen water can breed bacteria. I hadn't worried about it, as the water all flows into the orchard where the chooks forage, so I thought any scraps would get cleaned up.

    I'm also a bit worried about chemical residues building up in the soil from the grey water safe cleaning products i use, over time.
     
  4. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    yep all grey water kitchen or not will build up bacteria if left standing and with some heat, but using it fresh once it is out there the abcteria in the agrden is dealing with it. might be you look at waht soaps you do use, we sue that eco' detergent for dishes and as we use tankwater we need very little detergent. then for the laundry we either make our own, see recipe on our remedies page, or we may use some of those products in the bio-zet catagory, there is a number of them. so far no noticable problems in the potted plants some of which pretty much only get laundry water, or in the garden as we share it around.

    anotehr way is using buckets in the shower or bailing the bath tub, use that water for flushing solids in the toilet that then leaves you some extra fresh water to use on the garden. use the bath tubs if you already have them for making frog ponds or large warm farms.

    len
     
  5. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    Watch some "grey water safe' 'eco' -"green"-type products
    I managed to kill a great deal of lawn with an "Eco-safe, GREEN blah Blah" product from a very well known soap company. i was diverting my washing machine water out onto the lawn.
    i would have been better off with a "no-name brand' as it would have probably fertilised the lawn.
    When I wrote to them and asked what was in it i found it contained stacks of salt. (NaCl2 ?)(!)
    It dissolved some of my clothes too.
     
  6. scottjunner

    scottjunner Junior Member

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    I used to use grey water on my vegie gardens. Straight from the grey water tank to a sprinkla using the sump pump to do the work. I think the sun kills a great deal of any bacteria living in the water, and then using a little fresh water (which goes back into the grey water tank :) to wash it after harvest seems like a good idea.

    My family ate like this for about a year with no noticable digestive illness. The garden was off the chain. Middle of the driest time the are had seen in white living history and I had many friends coming over to marvel at and reap from my garden.

    Scott
     
  7. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    I found that letter i mentioned
     
  8. Phil Hansen

    Phil Hansen Junior Member

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    Kitchen water is not grey-water!!!! It is considered by the EPA as black water to be treated the same as septic. Think about the fatty oils and food scraps that work its way into the sink, not too good for the garden, particularly the oils which can make soils hydrophobic. I think the only reason you would want to consider filtering greywater is to remove suspended solids, but if you are putting it straight onto tree crops, why bother?
    As for greywater on veggies, it depends on what shit you put down the sink in the first place. Personally, if I were to irrigate veggies with greywater, I would put it through a biological filter first. I use a simple filtration pond. It is 600mm deep, 1.5 across with course then finer pebbles. It is planted with Iris psuedocharis, Iris ensata, bog sage, vietnamese mint, carex aspera and nutweed that has found its' way in. It works perfectly, never smells and the water out the other end is clean, I just run it across the slope to a small soak hole under fruit trees.
    :mrgreen:
     
  9. Ichsani

    Ichsani Junior Member

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    Hi Onalove,

    I'll second the system that Phil has. Cleaning greywater is pretty easy (including kitchen sink water and even the scary 'black' water).... the key is the biology (isn't it always? :)

    What you mentioned about running the water through 1 bath then the other - good idea... they'd have to be stepped to get the water to drain though?

    Blue metal is a perfectly fine medium - lots of angular bits for the microbes to live in. might want to consider putting a standpipe on each drainhole (upright pvc tube so you can see the plughole and holes in the side to let the water in) and also putting coconut coir (say 1/2 brick per tub) mixed in in the top layer of blue metal to support the plants when young..... remember to leave 10 to 15 cm free at the top to help take a washing machine cycle worth of water at once....

    Plant out the first bath with fibrous rooted plants (important! more roots = more microbes = more biological filtering action) species like carax, reeds, lemongrass or vetiver grass would work (grass is good for mulch tho wash any lemongrass used for tea :wink: )

    What you put in the second tub is more flexible (the first tub will take the brunt of the load in the greywater) although probably not so good to harvest for (regular) consumption from either bath

    How long is the ditch? Might want to consider that if you soil is sandy (no wuks if its clay) ....not that much water may reach the fruit trees? Could possibly run a pipe out to the orchard if its of distance. Planting the ditch would add benefit to the water treatment - I'd happily harvest stuff (like mint etc) from this section... have heard of strawbales (inoculated with fungi) being used to treat water like this ...

    Its a good idea to take the brunt of the dissolved and suspended greywater stuff in the tubs .... I'm thinking more of the long term effect of salts directly on the soil rather than of oils etc .....

    Anyway

    happy water cleaning

    post us some photos?

    Cheers
    Ich
     
  10. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    Phil,

    Unless you piss in the sink or wash nappies. Kitchen sink water is grey water and can and should be used accordingly.

    The big issue with black water is fecal matter.

    Cheers,
     
  11. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    yep that is the scare factor, but if that water is watered in around the root zone then what issued could it cause? as it is quickly dealt with by the bacteria/microbes and worms in the soil, and if a garden is well mulched that water would be under the mulch anyway. there may be some issue with root crops but that would be if they weren't washed properly or cooked properly i would imagine.

    we have used dish water for a very long time now and have never noticed any adverse reactions in our garden bed, hydrophobic or whatever it was or otherwise, again any oil and grease would be minimal in say 10 or 15 litres of water used at washing time, and no doubt the microbes and worms deal with that as well.

    colgate palmolive are being cautious as they may leave themselves open to litigation should someone manage to get it so terribly wrong and blame provable, so they issue fool proof instructions, and just maybe some products aren't as eco' friendly as they should be?? dunno? our kitchen water goes to the gardens that is up to 15 litres of water each second day that is available, and it gets spread around app' 16sq/mt's of garden. we use that supposed green friendly product.

    is there anywhere we can go to see what the epa's rule as indicated in a post is? pee is actually sterile so one would have to poop in the dish water to make it black water. and as we use our used water fresh as it has no opportunity to spoil by fermenting.

    len
     
  12. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    I have used kitchen sink water on my non-vegie for 20 years. There are a few 'but' in here. I dont pour fat and food down the sink. The dishes are scrapped and any messy pots are carried outside and tipped under a tree or shrub so the stuff that does go down the sink is sudsy and lacks lumps.

    Something worthy of concern though is salmonella in and around poultry pens so keep hands and feet clean. Ducks are quite the culprit when it comes to salmonella.

    Most people run their washing machines liquids out onto gardens these days and there is a chance of e-coli transmission doing this but the risk is negligible rather than substantial. Same with shower and bathroom sink water.

    Black water is a different matter entirely but there are a lot of understood and uncomplicated technologies these days if you wish to retain this on the property and not 'send it off to the coast'.

    I think the real issue here is personal hygiene. It is not uncommon for me to wash my hands half a dozen times during a single meal preparation. I have had cleaning contracts for 15 years and I am a bit of a stickler with my staff for this. At one time Centrelink contacted me because they believed I had reduced their 'sickies' by 10 or 15%. The only thing I could think of was cleaned all doorknobs on a daily basis. I often believe that 2 huge areas of interpersonal transmission occurs with doorknobs and cash money - both have to be handled and are rarely cleaned.

    cheers,
     
  13. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    I saw in my favourite shop (told not to metion their name as they sell the wrong wood)
    a little simple rubber gaget on sale(!) to divert your bathwater or laundry sink water to the garden
    Seemed simplicty itself very cheap well under $10 ? + another $10 for a pipe, trickle or plastic pipe into the garden. (Put in your own holes with a hot needleel or you can buy a special tool for $2) In the serious plumbers section not in the gardening section.

    Australian natives don't like high phosphate detergents.
    Everything else seems to love it; after all "soil wetting agents" are just soap by another name.
     
  14. Anissa

    Anissa Junior Member

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    When using bath tubs where would you want the water to drain from? From the plug hole? Does it matter if all the water drains out? Would you use some sort of mulchie stuff like coconut fibres so some mositure is held between water flow times? We are going to use 3 bath tubs and then into a pond. We then will have to pump the water back up to our orchard. The slope isn't right to drain it straight to the trees unfortunately
     
  15. gbell

    gbell Junior Member

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    Not true. Most soaps are sodium based (esp. bar soaps). Wetting agents are potassium based.

    Dumping sodium on your soil is definitely something you want to be careful with.
     
  16. gbell

    gbell Junior Member

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    Yes. Many greywater specs in Australia list a maximum holding time (eg. 24 hours) because disease (and smelly) organisms breed up in those conditions.
     
  17. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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  18. butchasteve

    butchasteve Junior Member

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    As above, grey water filtration is only really necessary when storing it..

    my mates system (could be a little better, i'll include my improvements)

    3x 1/2 wine barrels tiered, each with a hose at the bottom flowing into the next, ending in a reed filled bathtub for storage until use.

    each barrel is multi-layered with river sand and charcoal. (perhaps there is room for your blue stone but suspect it will be pollute the water itself, i suspect heavy metals may be present)

    at the top of each barrel is a thick planting of (endemic to brisbane) sedges, 'woolly frog mouth', native violet and krinums (sp...) and isolepsis.

    water flows through the grasses, bacteria will be removed by the rootball of the grasses, solids are filtered by the river sand and heavy metals etc are removed by the charcoal..

    funnily enough the 3x through a half barrels and the water was still smelly, so he put a small pump (for a fish tank) and pumped the water through a second time.

    seems to work pretty well..
     
  19. Noz

    Noz Junior Member

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    I agree with everyone who thought that greywater could be used fresh and that it wouldn't hurt to run it through your filter if you preferred. What was interesting was the level of confusion over the kitchen water - the bacterial counts for kitchen sinks are generally very high. Think about washing raw chicken blood or residues down the sink (enough said!).

    Conversely, someone mentioned that urine down the kitchen sink would be unhygienic - ick factor is high :twisted: ... however, urine is generally sterile when fresh. So in fact, urine down the kitchen sink would not make the water 'dirty' ... but having' said that... it IS contaminated and classified as 'black water'.
     
  20. Anissa

    Anissa Junior Member

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    Re: Simple way to purify grey water with baths?

    Thank you, I get it now. I thought if we had plants growing in the tubs they would need water held in the tubs. But looking at the amount of water that would go through the systems drying out the tubs would be unlikely.
     

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