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Large scale graywater for banana, rice, aquaponics, etc.

 
Posts: 264
Location: Haiti
21
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At the university where I live and work here in Haiti, we have around 350 students currently, most residential. Our nonstop water struggles have me trying to work out a system where we can purify graywater at least enough to irrigate the gardens, and potentially even to the point of using it for washing clothes and stuff (if that's possible). My thought is to create a pool about 4-5 feet deep, similar width and maybe 10 feet long, with a wall about 18 inches from the initial input. The wall would be open at the bottom about 18 inches up. Charcoal would be pushed into the entrance so that once any larger pieces were screened out, smaller impurities would be taken up by the charcoal. The water would then be forced under the wall and would fill up the rest of the pool, which would have trays of vetiver grass with wire bottoms so that that roots can continue to clean the water before it reaches the output of the pool.

Hypothetically, we could repeat this in another pool . . . Up to 4 times or so if necessary. But I am suspecting that just one cycle would be sufficient for most irrigation needs.

However, I'm also thinking of setting up a fish pond for the water to drain into prior to irrigating the gardens. The graywater will primarily consist of regular soap and shampoo products. We will make a separate sink for harsher treatments such as hair color, which will go into the existing septic system. But we'll have to depend on the students and staff being mindful of what they put down the drains, and that might be a problem.

So my question is, do you think it would be sufficient to have 1 or 2 such pools prior to draining into the fish tank? Our objective would be to raise talapia for the cafeteria, so it needs to be clean enough for that. Would 4 cycles do the trick?

The pools would be designed to have capacity for approximately 1 week of gray water usage, so it would take a week for the water to cycle through the first pool, etc.

How can I make this work? Large amounts of charcoal are available locally (it's what is cooked on), and we can also probably get beach sand or river sand from someplace for not too much.

The systems would be cleaned and refreshed at the end of each semester, about 3 times a year.
 
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