My grandmother had the best roses in the village. She used her washing-up liquid (from dishes) and poured them over the roses. The oils from the dishes and the natural soap (not detergent - although she was very frugal with soap too) reduced the bugs and the food stuff from the washing up acted like compost or something.
Since I don't have blackwater, or a flushable toilet in my house, it would be very easy for me to tap into outgoing greywater. Unfortunately I am also on a small town lot and use very little outside plant water so at this point there is no reason to. I do like the concept though and for very little extra piping a future diverter could be allowed for in a new drain system. Oddly enough unlike most people I would consider urine safe for food plants but not greywater.
Life is too short or my list is too long, not sure which.
Someone must know more about this than I but since we are brainstorming I will tell you what I think. Reeds and rushes have the ability to transport oxygen down to their roots and will do this even if dormant or dead because of their structure. In the pdf I previously posted there was a 3 stage blackwater system using a septic tank for settling, a sand and reed bed for secondary processing, and a subsurface irrigation system for depleting water and nitrogen. The first stage is anaerobic, the second aerobic, and the final is closed to prevent parasites from competing their life cycle (which requires sunshine). The Texas paper (that I could not link) had tables of rainfall and so forth. To make the system effective in wet seasons it must be covered with a roof to exclude external water. I have seen systems which created a shaded walkway and used ornamental members of the rush and reed families to make a pleasant outdoor space. At the end of the process the water can be pumped up to make pools for ornamental fish. The example I remember was processing waste water from a candy factory and the pools were set up in cascades between two shaded reed and rush beds. This facility was at Las Vegas NV.
I had some conversations with the engineer from Insinkerator about redirecting just the drain from the garbage disposal waste to the composter. This then eliminates the problem some have with the gray/blackish water.
Having dedicated lines to the sanitary system is what saves water, the problem is how store it til needed without risk of flooding, and a way to deliver it, through pumping, gravity, or osmosis
You asked for brainstorming - hopefully this won't seem like some of this winter's storms. The numbers are just to add a little differentiation.
1. No matter how you slice it, messing with pipes in an already finished house can be difficult depending on the precise circumstances, so to me that has to be a higher PEP level.
2. The dead easiest water saving I do is to put a watering can under the kitchen tap while waiting for hot water. That said, much of the time, I use that water to pre-rinse the muckiest dishes.
3. What I really need is a way to hang a funnel from my shower head with a hose to one of my larger watering cans, to trap that Pre-hot (is that a new word?) water more easily. OK - I'll add this to my spring project's list and report back if people are interested.
4. Technically, 2 & 3 aren't even greywater.
5. Carrying buckets of water down a set of stairs to get to plants is a PITA - in fact, it's enough of a PITA that I'm not inclined to feel desperate enough to risk the mess with actual greywater.
6. Greywater systems tend to focus on "people water", but beginner projects for people managing animals has a place. The geese *adore* the stock-tank for baths in the summer. Before I started using it, I made a platform with wheels so I could move it when empty and so it wouldn't kill the grass when full. It has a ball valve on the output which leads to a "T", which leads to 2 pipes, (~ the same length as the platform) with holes in the bottom. This distributes most of the dirty water gently onto 4 ft of grass. The plugs on these pipes are loosely pushed in, so during molting season, it's easy to pop them out and spray the pipe to clear feathers if needed. As a bonus, if the Muscovy catch me turning the valve, they come over and play in the "shower" - go figure??? I intentionally choose a trajectory where the grass could use extra water and move it every 2-3 days.
7. Unfortunately, our Khaki ducks are Raven/Hawk magnets. They have to be in a fixed run at this time. The area around them is getting too large a water load, and the set-up was one more of desperation than reasoned planning. Figuring out a 'greywater' system for them is high on my list, but it will take thinking, time, ingenuity and suitable plants that will tolerate a *very* shady north slope. That said, just writing this is giving me ideas.....scary.... Main point - having a PEP badge for animal greywater - which might technically be considered blackwater when ducks are involved, seems like a good idea. Messing with outdoor systems might be less scary for people and Dept's of Making you Sad.
8. Soil tends to compact if hit with "buckets" of water. Transferring grey water to watering cans is messy and time-consuming. A beginning badge might involve digging a hole up-slope of a garden bed or around a tree outside the drip line, filling it with woody mulch and using it as the repository for buckets of water has potential.
8. Could buckets of greywater be added to a Lawton version vermicompost bathtub? In his video, he seemed to add a *lot* of water to his vermicompost, but is that because he's working in really dry climates?
The easiest, albeit not the most elegant way to conserve water is to put a bucket under the shower (including your body I guess) and then use it to flush the toilet next time. Done and done. No worries about it 'stagnating'.
Paper jam tastes about as you would expect. Try some on this tiny ad:
Permaculture Design Course in Divinya - a yogic community in Sweden