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Hi, can someone please give me some help

 
Lewis McDonald
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I am doing a science project that involves saving and conserving water. I came across grey water and it looks like a winner the only problem being that I don't really understand it at all. If someone on here (an expert) could find the time to explain it in depth but so that I can understand it that would be absolutely great.

Thanks
 
Burra Maluca
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This link might help - Oasis Design Grey Water
 
Robert Ray
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Quick overview. Grey water is water that is not mixed with waste.
Kitchen sinks, dishwashers and toilets produce black water. Food wastes, urine and poop can carry pathogens, bacteria and other nasties that need further treatment.
One of the ways Oregon Code allows grey water to be used is through sub surface irrigation. Water from washing machines showers and non kitchen sinks can be used to water flower beds, and lawns. Some areas allow grey water to be diverted to toilet tanks for flushing. Water that would go to a sewer or a leach field can now be directed to specific areas of need.
In our area the use of composting toilets and grey water systems can significantly reduce contamination of groundwater and in some cases be the only way to develop some property.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Hey Lewis - welcome to permies!

Can you help us out on some details?

--where are you (location-wise)?
--what do you want to do with your greywater?

For instance - I posted a video on my "Laundry to Landscape" greywater system here.

I also have a blog on my outdoor shower here and here (part 2).
 
Lewis McDonald
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:Hey Lewis - welcome to permies!

Can you help us out on some details?

--where are you (location-wise)?
--what do you want to do with your greywater?

For instance - I posted a video on my "Laundry to Landscape" greywater system here.

I also have a blog on my outdoor shower here and here (part 2).
I'm in the north east of Scotland and the project is for reducing and conserving the amount of water we use so it would be put into place in our school with roughly 750 pupils. Thanks
 
S Bengi
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If they were to do a retrofit and divert all the water from the bathroom sink that normally goes to the sewer system to a mulch basin/flowers garden/fruit trees outside it would be a great way to reuse the water and cut the load on the sewer system.

Another idea would be to use roof catchment water to water the lawn/garden
or use the roof water to flush the toilet(with a sign saying dont drink water from the toilet it is untreated)

But back to your original question
Clean water=no dirt/particulates, no microbes/pathogen (pipe)
grey water=contains dirt/particulates, but low level of microbes (laundry water)
blackwater=toilet water, raw chicken water
 
Robert Ray
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Well I'm not familiar with the weather. Some instance of grey water reuse for irrigations is determined by seasonal factors. What about rainwater collection for reduced consumption as an option? Retaining grey water for toilet flushing might be problematic if it has to be retained for such a large number of users.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Lewis - how close are you to Findhorn Ecovillage?? They'd be excellent folks to help you out with this.

Find them online: http://www.ecovillagefindhorn.com/index.php
Here's a waste water treatment project that they're doing: http://www.ecovillagefindhorn.com/findhornecovillage/biological.php
Here's a link to Biomatrix water - they system they're using: http://www.biomatrixwater.com/
 
Lewis McDonald
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:Lewis - how close are you to Findhorn Ecovillage?? They'd be excellent folks to help you out with this.

Find them online: http://www.ecovillagefindhorn.com/index.php
Here's a waste water treatment project that they're doing: http://www.ecovillagefindhorn.com/findhornecovillage/biological.php
Here's a link to Biomatrix water - they system they're using: http://www.biomatrixwater.com/
Thanks, we're about 1 hour 40 mins away so I'm not sure if it's possible but I'll definitely look into it.
 
Lewis McDonald
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I've seen a grey water system, what exactly is this?
 
Robert Ray
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Lewis,
Grey water is waste water other than water contaminated by food/human waste that has be disposed of. The treatment of grey water is not as critical as black water but it's disposal still has to be addressed.
Maybe you could share what you know about grey water and from where the grey water is coming from your facility and what you are trying to accomlpish.
 
Lewis McDonald
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Robert Ray wrote:Lewis,
Grey water is waste water other than water contaminated by food/human waste that has be disposed of. The treatment of grey water is not as critical as black water but it's disposal still has to be addressed.
Maybe you could share what you know about grey water and from where the grey water is coming from your facility and what you are trying to accomplish.
The main source of grew water is from the sinks in the toilets and dotted around the classrooms. The aim of the project is to find ways in which to reduce how much water that the school uses and try to reuse the water that we do use at the moment. I know that grey water is the water that comes out of taps etc. but thats about it, I only discovered it today. I was looking into some sort of grey water system but don't really understand how that works. Thanks
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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The system they're using looks to be a type of wastewater treatment using biological means to clean the water before putting it back into the landscape. This type of system (popularized by John Todd and his "Living Machines") is used for grey, dark grey (kitchen sink water is sometimes called "dark grey" as is dishwasher water) and even more highly polluted waters. The biological elements clean the water (uptake it into their bodies) before the water is sent back out to the landscape.



There's a huge system like this installed at Oberlin college here in the US.



Greywater projects come in many different flavors and you have to take into account the following for starters:

--your climate (I take it you're pretty cold where you are hence Findhorn being a GREAT place to start as they have experience - you can always call or email them - maybe they can send you info)
--your water source (bathroom sinks, showers, washing machines, etc)
--probably for a school, you wouldn't want to reuse the greywater in toilets although there are systems that are great that do that. I have a feeling there are "regulations" that might prohibit their use in a school. Instead you would want to send it directly into the ground OR use some kind of filtration device on it and THEN send it into the ground. Filtration devices usually have some kind of living element to them - reed beds, living machines - or "once living" elements like woodchips.
--you need to look at the volume of water you want to recycle. Once you know that, look at where you want to direct it to. If 750 kids wash their hands twice a day at school and use 2 litres of water each time, that's 3000 litres of water a day/5 days a week. The spot where you direct that water to will have to be able to absorb that amount. If it can't, there will have to be overflows (there should always be overflows anyway) to another area. Soil type and typical saturation level will play a factor in these calculations. (again - this is where a local example would really benefit you - me telling you what works in a hot desert here in Phoenix Arizona is not going to help you much).
--you'll need to take into account the students' capacity to understand the system - are these younger or older kids? How responsible will they be around these systems? You really don't want them playing in greywater - so if they're younger kids, everything must be underground or if it's daylighted - like a constructed wetland/bog, it needs a fence or some other way to inhibit access.
--having said all that - this is a really exciting thing to do. Training the kids and staff about the project will be critical. Most kids will LOVE it and most staff will bring up all the barriers to doing it. You'll have to be persistent and knowledgeable to make this work. Using local examples of similar systems will give you a strong start. If you can also obtain either an eventual cost savings OR a yield to sell so that the project makes financial sense - EVEN BETTER. In that video link above, John Todd talks about the way the living machines actually do produce income while saving monies at the same time.


 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Lewis McDonald wrote:[The main source of grew water is from the sinks in the toilets and dotted around the classrooms. The aim of the project is to find ways in which to reduce how much water that the school uses and try to reuse the water that we do use at the moment. I know that grey water is the water that comes out of taps etc. but thats about it, I only discovered it today. I was looking into some sort of grey water system but don't really understand how that works. Thanks


Sorry - didn't see this until AFTER posting my other response.

If you're dealing with a bunch of scattered sinks, there may be a cost factor involved. Most greywater systems involve drilling holes through walls. If the sinks are not already located on exterior walls, the cost of rerouting plumbing could get VERY high.

If sinks ARE located on exterior walls - this is a little easier (and much less costly) to deal with.

However, before thinking "greywater reuse" - I would first look at conservation/reduction possibilities. For example - do all the sinks have low flow faucets with aerators? Is all plumbing "tight" (no leaking faucets, etc). Are kids educated about conserving water and the benefits thereof? I know these solutions are not as "sexy" as greywater - but they make a world of difference and raise up the younger generation to be conscious of these things if a good educational program is put into place around the conservation efforts. For younger kids this could be something very simple like a picture of a big water tank "filling" with water saved by being conscious of hand washing time, etc. For older kids - let them be part of the educational component!
 
Lewis McDonald
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:
Lewis McDonald wrote:[The main source of grew water is from the sinks in the toilets and dotted around the classrooms. The aim of the project is to find ways in which to reduce how much water that the school uses and try to reuse the water that we do use at the moment. I know that grey water is the water that comes out of taps etc. but thats about it, I only discovered it today. I was looking into some sort of grey water system but don't really understand how that works. Thanks


Sorry - didn't see this until AFTER posting my other response.

If you're dealing with a bunch of scattered sinks, there may be a cost factor involved. Most greywater systems involve drilling holes through walls. If the sinks are not already located on exterior walls, the cost of rerouting plumbing could get VERY high.

If sinks ARE located on exterior walls - this is a little easier (and much less costly) to deal with.

However, before thinking "greywater reuse" - I would first look at conservation/reduction possibilities. For example - do all the sinks have low flow faucets with aerators? Is all plumbing "tight" (no leaking faucets, etc). Are kids educated about conserving water and the benefits thereof? I know these solutions are not as "sexy" as greywater - but they make a world of difference and raise up the younger generation to be conscious of these things if a good educational program is put into place around the conservation efforts. For younger kids this could be something very simple like a picture of a big water tank "filling" with water saved by being conscious of hand washing time, etc. For older kids - let them be part of the educational component!


We did look at aerators and that is another idea that we're putting forward. With no disrespect to the people at our school I think that a lot of them couldn't care less about how much water that we use. It doesn't have to be as detailed as costs and external walls because we just have to right up a report and make some sort of model (our 3D printer will help with that) we just really need to know the basics like how is it used, where is it used, what is it. Although IF our school decide to go with it and fit it in with the currently ongoing extension then all of this information that you've given me will be a great help.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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That link to Oasis Burra included above has some great general information. Here's a page that shows some schematics. Tons of resources there.

Here's a page where you can download some greywater handouts.
 
Lewis McDonald
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:That link to Oasis Burra included above has some great general information. Here's a page that shows some schematics. Tons of resources there.

Here's a page where you can download some greywater handouts.
Thanks
 
Peter Mckinlay
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Hello Lewis,

Toilet flushing uses twice the water of sinks. Under your sinks there will be a goose neck or straight down pipe. If goose neck then uncouple and cap, if straight get plastic bag's and twist into rope shape so they can be screwed down through the sink grate.

Then get a stick and twiddle with them so they unravel, this will block the pipe for you. Then get a drill two three mil smaller than your plastic/rubber garden hose.

Drill a hole in one side of the pipe just above the cap or blocker. Then put one end of your garden house in really hot water so it softens. When it softens force through the hole you drilled but not so far it hits the other side and blocks.

You now have your grey water system in place.

One of the things you can do with the grey water is gather it in a reedy pond for water purification or contain some other how.

With 750 students you must have more than one crapper. These would each branch off one incoming water line. A small pressure pump in your water reservoir will service their needs.

Regards

Peter

Clan Mckinlay, Fide Et Fortuditine.
 
Richard Vallance
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Hi Lewis,

Chat with these guys in Oz www.nubian.com.au they are industry experts on this and im sure someone there would be able to assist, along with guidance on any local council regulations you may have

Cheers
 
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