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Grey water confusion!

 
Cd Anderson
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I'm seeing many differing opinions on the usage of grey water.
I've read the it's important to be mindful of your soaps, avoiding anything with sodium, enzymes and several other things that seem like it would be nearly impossible to have an effective cleaner. On the other hand I've read many personal experiences that say they don't worry about it, they filter the water through the soil, mulch, straw or something similar....

I've read that it shouldn't be stored because of microbes that might grow goo.... but then I've also read of people filtering it and storing it. Though I haven't read a lot of detail on filtration set ups. I'm wondering if I could do a sand filter so it could be stored and used as needed.

I've also read that grey water should never be used for root vegetables or lettuce, and many people seem to caution against using it in the garden at all... We don't plan to have much in the way of "lawn" and the fruit trees will be spread out all over the property, but I don't want to waste this water on just the general landscape.

We live in drought conditions, currently D3-D4. We are a large family with a high water usage so I want to utilize the grey water in the best way possible. We intend to have it redirected in so it can be used to flush toilets but I also want to be able to safely use it to water the garden and even possibly the animals. However, I know if we have a system that takes a lot of maintenance and upkeep it's just not going to happen. I also want something that will look nice or can easily be hidden.

AND what's the problem with enzyme cleaners? It seems they would be beneficial....
 
John Elliott
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If you make sure to soaps that were made with wood ashes, then they will have potassium, which helps the plants, instead of sodium which is detrimental to them.

I would recommend running the greywater through a fungal filter. Lots of mushroom mycelium will clean up the water on its way to the garden. This could be as simple as a large pile of woodchips under the greywater drain.

One thing I would not do is to try to store it. I can see holding up the water cycle to save up some rain water, but after you've scrubbed your bum and your dishes, just direct it off to some thirsty trees.
 
John Polk
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The way I look at it is; if your toilet uses 3 gallons per flush, use the soapiest water first for that purpose.
Save the rinse water and other cleaner waters for irrigation purposes.


 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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You should not hold up your water. The water that your family uses everyday, should be sent to the plants everyday.
You may be able to "holdup" the water for 12 or so hours but not for days or weeks.

(I hope you where not getting ideas of storing the winter water for use in the summer in a tank. just kidding)

Send the grey water thru pipes to the fruit trees. The water should stay underground/sub surface at all times.

Technically you could filter out solid matter down to 10 or 5 micron, use UV light or heat to remove microbes, then remove mineral (distillation) and then drink the water.
So you will find stories of people doing that and drinking the water, but on our scale,
Just send the water thru a mulch filter. Make a waterway to each of your fruit trees and you should be ok.
 
Cd Anderson
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S Bengi wrote:You should not hold up your water. The water that your family uses everyday, should be sent to the plants everyday.
You may be able to "holdup" the water for 12 or so hours but not for days or weeks.

(I hope you where not getting ideas of storing the winter water for use in the summer in a tank. just kidding)

Send the grey water thru pipes to the fruit trees. The water should stay underground/sub surface at all times.

Technically you could filter out solid matter down to 10 or 5 micron, use UV light or heat to remove microbes, then remove mineral (distillation) and then drink the water.
So you will find stories of people doing that and drinking the water, but on our scale,
Just send the water thru a mulch filter. Make a waterway to each of your fruit trees and you should be ok.

No, not storing all winter (we don't have much of a winter here) but I just think we will probably us more water on a daily basis than the trees need. Especially since most fruit trees do better with a good soaking once a week than they do with a daily watering. I'm estimating that we'll have about 1000 gallons of grey water a day, probably more in summer than winter because the kids shower more and we do more laundry.

Pipes underground to all the fruit trees is going to be a problem. We will have fruit trees spread through out the property to provide shade for the pastured animals and our soil is heavy clay. We only have an 18" frost line but digging that 18" often requires a jack hammer.

If we were able to filter the grey water so that it could be tanked and then once a week (on a rotation I would imagine) it got hauled to the trees it would be easier I think than trying to lay several acres of underground pipes. A sand filter system is supposed to remove all major contaminants and make water safe for drinking, it seems that we could do that with the grey water to make it safe for storing and watering food crops. I'm just not sure how to set something like that up so it can handle 1000gl of water a day and not be obtrusive.

Also, why are enzyme cleaners a problem for grey water? I would think those enzymes would be beneficial for the soil.
 
Adam Klaus
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how does a family use 1000 gallons of water a day?
is this typical of your region?
does this have a causal relationship to the severe drought in oklahoma?

truly curious how you would store 7000 gallons of greywater for future distribution. heck of a tank. I would just have a hose on the discharge line for the greywater. 1/2" poly is pretty cheap. run it where you need it and move it as you go.

also stongly reccomend consolidating your fruit tree plantings in a more concentrated area. if they are spread out over acres of pasture, they will be neglected and mauled by livestock. consider the permaculture concept of 'zones' around your property and place fruit trees relatively close to your home, in an area that will get ample attention and be protected from livestock and wildlife. easier to water too.
 
Logan Simmering
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Apperently, the average american uses 80 to 100 gallons of water per day so a largeish family at those rates could easily go through 1000.
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Check out these guys, they use a bio-filter and for their greywater in Arizona.
They store the greywater in a pool and eat fish out and water their lettuce/veggies, so it must be "safe".
They also have goats, which probably drink the filtered water.

So readup on them, call/email and see what they are doing thats right.
I think they have been doing it for 5 or so years no one has gotten sick.
http://www.gardenpool.org

(side note: ever time I buy a bottle of water and I see filtered water I always think it is filtered grey/black water, lol)
 
Cd Anderson
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Adam Klaus wrote:how does a family use 1000 gallons of water a day?
by having 8 children
 
Cd Anderson
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S Bengi wrote:Check out these guys, they use a bio-filter and for their greywater in Arizona.
They store the greywater in a pool and eat fish out and water their lettuce/veggies, so it must be "safe".
They also have goats, which probably drink the filtered water.

So readup on them, call/email and see what they are doing thats right.
I think they have been doing it for 5 or so years no one has gotten sick.
http://www.gardenpool.org

(side note: ever time I buy a bottle of water and I see filtered water I always think it is filtered grey/black water, lol)


Oh this looks promising! Thanks for the link!
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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I got something extra coming your way
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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