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Grey water swales or reedbed?  RSS feed

Posts: 1362
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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We have connected our wastewater diverters yet. My plan is to dig a trench on alongside the vegetable garden on the uphill side and funnel the greywater into it.
I have attached a plan but I have no idea how to turn it, sorry it's upside down.
I have read a bit about greywater systems. There are constructed wetlands/reed beds. The thing is they are lined and what I want is that the water filters through the reed and then into the vegetable garden, the overflow to fruit trees. If at all I would line the bottom an bit with bentonite. But would the plants grow? Would that system work or would the water seep too deeply, there is only a slight slope between the reed bed and the vegetable garden. The systems I found on the net try to reduce the phosphate and nitrate, but both are fertilizers, so I am not after removing them. I would like to remove grease from the kitchen though - are there any easy methods? Salt is as well a concern and bath salt is then a big no no. (Epsom salts are benificial here but must be useds with caution I nearly killed a citrus by applying too much).
The second possibility is to let the water into a swale.
What would be better?
Which plants would you use either for the swale or for the wetland?
I found a tank at the council cleanup which could be used for cooling down the washing machine water. Does the hot water from the sink affect the plants?
I might simply put a very small outlet to this tank and hope that the water is cool enough when passed through this small outlet, maybe 1 or even half of it.
Sorry, that was long!

Edited: another possibility would be a non leaking pond were we would plant floating plants which could be scooped off as fertilizer. Maybe some other aquatics as decoration.

I think the main concern is to remove the grease and soap that would change the ph of the soil. The plants should be able to neutralize the alkalinity of the soap.
Filename: greywater.pdf
Description: greywater
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Posts: 2128
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
forest garden solar
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My idea is to have two separate mulch pit/swale/pond the 1st one catches alot of the grease and such.
Dont worry the microbes will get rid of it no problem water would them flow form this to another mulch pit/swale.
This is in my opinion the best way to do it. It has a filter system, it has a overflow.

You should not under any circumstances let greywater sit for more than 24 hours, why?
It has ecoli form the chicken sink, and shitty hand/spit in bathroom, bodily excrement/fluid from the bathroom, etc.
The grey water is also high in toxins and salt so I would not use it to water my vegetable, only fruits a few feet off the ground.
Leaves are usually high in toxins/salt(mineral) they are close to the ground (ecoli and others).

You could also plant vines and then chop and drop using it as green manure.
You also want the salts (laundry soaps, etc) to soak deep into the ground and to be evenly distributed so dont worry if the vegetables dont get the alot of grey water.

Find tree that use up alot of nitro and phosphate (tomatoes) vs adding more salt to your soil.

In theory you could send the water to a pond, have t bloom with algae using up the nutrients, and other microbes in the pond will ou compete the bad bugs.
You would have to put tilapia in the pond to eat the algae. then a aquaponic system to clear the water of nitrates and then feed the vegetables to chickens.
And the chicken/duck poop could also fall back into the pond thus fertilizing it.
Angelika Maier
Posts: 1362
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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Meanwhile I read a bit in the oasis book. He basically recommends mulch basins with fruit trees. Either as swales or as round basins or whatever form.
I think I will use this. He says that reed beds are a disposal system more than a reusing system.
The surge tanks would not be for letting the water sit only cooling down - our washing machine is connected to the solar hot water system, too hot for mopst plants.
There some ingredients in the waste water I which might be bas:
1. Grease from the kitchen sink - might clog up the soil and I search a SIMPLE grease trap
2. Salt from washing the dishes that is not very much but salt accumulates, and maybe the occasional bath salt
3. bicarb of soda which is great for cleaning the grease out of tiles together with vineagar and clove oil - does bicarb count as salt?
4. soaps, because they are alkaline
5. dishwashing detergent what"s in there?
6. and these are the ingredients of our laundry detergent:
Sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Cocamide DEA
TEA-lauryl sulfate 1
Posts: 9
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Saw a thing somewhere about using pantyhose attached to the pipe to catch food bits & grease. Have to watch it and change it as it gets gunked up but seemed like that would work. I've also seen gray water systems that run through a constructed wetlands/reed bed and then the filtered water drains into beds. That one was on youtube. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBMpaWq4EKE. They were doing a permitted system so they had to follow certain guidelines but seemed like a pretty good system.
Posts: 288
Location: Deepwater northern New South wales Australia
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why cant you stack your functions and have a reedbed that filters water for swale
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