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simple grey water systems

 
Xep Arkonatitlan
Posts: 14
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The problem with the banana circle is that its ONE big hole. The (mulch filled) pond is in my opinion anaerobic for two long. The pond is too deep and the soil metabolizes less efficiently down there. Infiltration is that much closer to the aquifer. Then, eventually, the bananas fill in the hole. Bananas can only be on one side or at the bottom end of a system. We used a grey water system for the kitchen of a restaurant for ten years and it worked like this.
Make sure you have the strainer in the sink. make sure the are no dips and adequate slope in the plumbing. The pipe has to branch three times to three ditches. We use un-glued teeĀ“s and adjust them so that gravity sorts for only one pipe at a time. The top of each ditch needs a solids trap with is a box with a hole in the top where the pipe goes in, and open bottom for drainage, and an outlet on the downhill side six inches below the soil level. Below that there is a ditch maybe 14" by 14" running down hill. This is filled with compost heap quality carbon compost, dry grass , corn cane etc. Use each ditch for three days then switch. The solids box is cleaned out intermittently with a hoe, grade for composting. The ditch is cleaned out once or twice a year, grate compost.
The slope is important, best if over thirty percent. The soil will decide how much it wants to metabolize in a given area and send the rest on. This is a system for what Art would call dark grey water. A laundry machine can function on something as simple as a mulch filled hole or ditch, but we have good drainage. ps. Hungry fruit trees love grey water but might not like having recently cut or damaged roots drowned in grey water.
 
Mary Ann Asbill
Posts: 123
Location: Western North Carolina
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We have a system we call simple too. It works similar to your's .....at least I think it does. Ours is like this:
- Washing machine, mud room sink, kitchen sink, two showers and two bathroom sinks all go into the gray water line out of the house.
- The lines merge into one big line.....it is a 6 inch pipe we buried going out the back of the house.
- The slope is good and the water runs fast. We did put two vent stacks in the line by just inserting a 2 inch short pipe just coming up out of the larger pipe.
- Then, we have three splits where we can send water in 3 different directions. They are far enough apart so that each section works independently.
- We change the dump area once a week or less if there has not been any rain.
- The dumping area for the water is in deep woods and in a water shed area that goes down towards a spring head.
- The spring head had dried up almost.
- When we started putting the gray water down in the earth (it is far above the spring head) the water sinks down, is cleaned in the earth and then re-hydrates the spring.
- We have had the water tested three times and it is clean.

 
Xep Arkonatitlan
Posts: 14
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This system was for a restaurant that generated a huge amount of shlock. Unfortunately, at my house, all the grey water is plumbed together, but at the restaurant the shower, hand wash, washing machine, and wash sink all had there own system. As none of these had much particles, a simple ditch filled with mulch was quite sufficient. These ditches rarely needed to be cleaned and re-mulched. The kitchen sink however, even in a steep trench the ditch can block quickly. When this happens the water stagnates and makes its way to the surface where it is foul and attracts bugs. Hence the box. the box was made with un-preserved wood. Not too big but you have to size the box to the volume of shlock. the out let of the box is an elbow with a short piece of pipe so as to form a grease trap as well. The box is sealed with a board that is lifted for simple cleaning with a hoe. The water has to go elsewhere for a while before the box can be hoed out. The wood can be buried in the garden when it rots. We had some coffee that I wanted to benefit more from the grey water. I couldn't dig a ditch there or it could damage the coffee trees. I ran the grey water under the thick mulch, no ditching. Soon, I built a berm on the down hill side of the coffees an added more mulch. eventually it puddled too much and I moved that stream back to its ditch.
I like the streamhead recycling picture but would caution an earthwork (maybe mostly logs too avoid digging in your lovely forest) to avoid contamination of the head in floods. Nice site, we agree on the cottage industry.
 
Mary Ann Asbill
Posts: 123
Location: Western North Carolina
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Hello! We have watched for flooding that might over flow the gray water areas but so far, the water-shed flows go past it and in another gully. Another back up is that if there was any gray water "flooding" (which I don't think there could be since it all goes into the earth - but just in case) it would flow into a flat bog area full of ferns which I think would absorb it before it went towards the spring-head area. I will try to take pictures this week and post them.

The web site and Facebook for Meanwhile, Back in Saluda is my sons's project. They are ages 24, 21 and 14 and stay quite busy. Today they made sausage and had to learn to install an electric outlet for a freezer! Busy day.

Thanks for commenting. Have a good week.
 
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