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Catching water under the sink

 
Ben Bishop
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Hey all. I am just renting so a greywater system in my backyard is out the question. BUT I am interested in capturing the water coming out of my sink and using it in the garden. I use natural soap so I should be fine in that respect. The only thing holding me back is exactly how to do it. I can remove the U-shaped piece of pipe and have the sink drain empty directly into a bucket. What I am concerned about is having a big bucket of standing water in my kitchen. Even in the sink cabinet, I'd imagine it will attract fruit flies or other insects. Does anyone do this? I've added tea tree, lemon, and rosemary oil to the soap, will this repel any insects? Thanks

 
Burra Maluca
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I *have* done that, but there are a few things to bear in mind.

Unless you have a very big bucket under the sink, it's going to fill up quickly unless you get into the habit of making sure you empty it before doing anything in the sink. I'm embarrassed to remember the number of times I've forgotten to check and ended up with a flood oozing over my feet. And if you do have a big bucket, it's going to be very heavy to carry out when you do forget to empty it frequently.

I think you'll find that you'll have to empty it sufficiently often that flies won't be a problem. It will, however, need a good scrub out every few days as any oils in the water will float and then stick to sides of the bucket, and any food residue will sink and make a gloopy mess on the bottom. The ideal would be to empty it each time you use the sink and give it a good scrub out before it gets to be a problem. I've never been organised enough to do that though...
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Done it too. Absolutely concur with what Burra states above. Due to severe pain issues, that system became problematic for me. In my case, I CAN move the water outside so that's what I did.

One thought is to use the greywater to flush your toilet (pour in the bowl, not the tank). Every time you use the toilet, go grab the greywater from under the sink. That might provoke thinking about emptying the buckets more often so that they don't become too heavy, smelly or overflow.

Kudos to you for taking on this project!
 
R Scott
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If you have ANY way at all to plumb it to run outside, DO IT. If you don't, DON'T disconnect the trap (the U-shaped piece). Buy a couple dishpans instead. That way you carry the water out in manageable quantities and if you can't or if someone else uses the sink--it works normally.
 
Judith Browning
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Our kitchen sink is plumbed to the garden and I love it...that water is always the purest in the house...hardly any soap and mostly vegetable washing and rinsing dishes. It was pretty easy to just divert that one drain that had so much clean water running out of it.
We, too have tried the bucket system and for all of the above reasons gave up on it. Filling (and overflowing) a five gallon bucket does make you totally aware of how much water runs down the drain though.
I like R. Scott's thought on just using big tubs in the sinks....I wonder if you could find squarish buckets to fit?
 
leila hamaya
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R Scott wrote:If you have ANY way at all to plumb it to run outside, DO IT. If you don't, DON'T disconnect the trap (the U-shaped piece). Buy a couple dishpans instead. That way you carry the water out in manageable quantities and if you can't or if someone else uses the sink--it works normally.


yeah this is the way.

i had this system (no plumbing) for a long time and quickly came to this idea, after starting off with a five gallon bucket under the sink. it got really funky really quick and had to be emptied all the time.
actually what i quickly discovered was that using several tubs that were progressively bigger was what worked the best for me. the biggest one was the size of the sink, the smallest was where i put the not very dirty dishes and the freshest water.

i also had to carry water inside in gallon and three gallon jugs so water conservation was important. so even the slightly dirty water (in the top large bowl) was valuable for the next load of dishes. then i could empty all of them at once, or empty the bottom with the funkiest dirty water, and keep some around for soaking the next batch.
 
R Scott
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Judith Browning wrote:.I wonder if you could find squarish buckets to fit?


http://www.rubbermaid.com/Category/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?Prod_ID=RP091316

Easy carry handles at least.
 
leila hamaya
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R Scott wrote:
Judith Browning wrote:.I wonder if you could find squarish buckets to fit?


http://www.rubbermaid.com/Category/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?Prod_ID=RP091316

Easy carry handles at least.


thats a nice one. i got all mine at the dollar store, not as fancy but they work.
 
Burra Maluca
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I'd be highly dubious about my ability to carry anything that shape more than one or two steps without the water sploshing out all over me and the floor. But maybe other folks aren't so inept...
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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I used the dish pan method too. Mine were less nice than those in the url - no nice handles. Carrying them could get tricky/sloshy. I didn't take them far - basically about 5-10 feet out the kitchen door. It was awkward for me though. Bonus - no overflowing of stinky water under the sink!
 
Judith Browning
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this site has more what I was thinking when I mentioned square buckets in a post above...plastic unfortunately, but looks like a metal handle at least and smaller than five gallon. I have never bought a new bucket so don't have a clue where to go to buy...SQUARE BUCKETS
I can't think of anything that would come in the right size container to fit a sink
 
Angelika Maier
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Even with the dishpan method the water gets spilled all the time. There is as well the issue with the grease (and no we don't eat fat free for being able to put the water in the garden). Usually it should not be too difficult to access the plumbing outside.
 
Rebecca Norman
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I have had a container under the sink for some 20 years. The other options sound better.

We are not cooking three meals a day in our kitchen because we mostly eat in the school, but we make coffee, tea, snacks and some meals in our own quarters. Since we also carry up our own fresh water there's not a huge volume of water.

The container doesn't often smell outside of the curtain hiding it from view under the sink, and I certainly don't wash it even once a year. It can make a strong greywater smell in the greenhouse when I empty it, but that dissipates or is absorbed by the soil within minutes. Sometimes when I'm watering the plants, if the plants need additional water anyway, I swish some fresh water around in it before dumping it again on the soil. It has oil, grease, butter, coffee dregs, and small amounts of random commercial industrial Indian dish soap. When it's just us we don't use soap to wash the tea cups, or very little soap for other things. The inside of the container is totally yucky but it's a narrow mouthed container so I don't really care. It's a 20-liter cooking oil jug, so almost 5 gallons, with a handle shaped in and a 4-inch dia mouth.

The big risk is really the overflow mentioned above. When it's just the two of us doing the usual things, we have a sense of how often to empty it and it doesn't often overflow. But when there are guests and I want to quickly wash some dishes and serve them something nice -- suddenly there's a stinky greywater spill under the sink, and then I'm trying to carry an overfull container out and spilling the greasy top on my feet and the carpet. Oog! Skanky!

The soil only seems to get richer over the years, though maybe some plants don't like it. Certain plants have been thriving on it. One area is permanently mulched with carbonaceous random junk, and there is now a thick layer of lovely soft black composty stuff under the mulch. It was bare desert sand when I started, with a little apricot tree. Over the years a guild has established itself there, of sedum flowers (I threw a broken stem onto the mulch and forgot about it), alfalfa as a weed, and recurring volunteer dill and mustard greens that happily sprout through the mulch and the skanky greywater and everything.
 
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