Hope you are feeling welcome at Permies. They are a great bunch. Here is my situation. Bottom line, the local authority says you can have a gray water system, but it has to have a tank...just like a septic system. Since I saw no need for two tanks and even more drain field I did not fight them. What I wanted to do was have a gray water system that piped to a garden/ bog system to allow nature to process the water naturally. Have you had much luck helping the powers that be learn more about gray water and that it does not just have to go into a tank underground? I did watch a program a while back about a gentleman teaching the local authority about it in California and even helping them update the code. Thanks for your time. With regards from Georgia.
Hi Steve, thanks for the welcome. Yes, I've had some success over the years in getting changes made in the Irish codes. I run courses and workshops on natural methods of wastewater treatment, so many of the local county council environment and planning people have come along to add to their knowledge, which has been great. Many are very open to innovative approaches, but are somewhat constrained by their own guidance documents. What I've tried to do is to demonstrate how there is often more latitude than may initially meet the eye. There is actually quite a bit of scope for eco-friendly technologies within the current framework, even though this may not be spelled out explicitly.
So what is your current system at your own house? Did you build something satisfactory?
Feidhlim Harty, OK, did not realize you were in Ireland. Guess I need to be a little more specific about my location, North Georgia USA. I have one inspector in my county and do know he uses the 2012 IBC. I have been told it is a Georgia law that if you have any plumbing in your home, you must have a septic system or hook up to the sewer system. You are allowed the grey water system, but you are basically looking at two septic systems, which I could not afford. I had hoped to divert the grey water to a natural bog, plant filter system and use for plants, but that was not allowed. Thanks for your input and writing the book. As far as my property, I am working on the below ground items, plumbing and foundation at the moment. Hope to have that inspected and approved soon, then building up. I installed a septic system and am about to hook into it with the plumbing.
Feidhlim Harty, the powers that be wanted me to install two tanks, one for grey water and one for black. I only installed one for the primary septic. I decided too many tanks underground and expense. I will catch rain water above ground for plants. Did not want two tanks, wanted to use the grey water flowing into a natural bog for nature to digest and use the water for gardening, but the health debt does not allow that.
Generally best to follow the guidelines - but sometimes it's possible to find ways to adhere fully and yet to still do the things you want to do…
Your plan to use a septic tank for black and a surface wetland filter for the grey makes environmental sense, as long as the grey water wetland filter will do enough before the water gets into a natural habitat (such as a bog, stream or groundwater). I'd usually recommend a biggish area for that job: about 50m2 for grey water only, prior to discharge to a percolation area. There are much smaller filters, or buried systems such as Oasis Designs work, so have a look around. have a look on my website if you want to get some background on the differences between constructed wetlands and gravel reed beds. The gravel reed bed would only be about 15m2 for the grey water, but needs the gravel so it's not necessarily cheaper - depends on site conditions.