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temporary grey water in zone 4.

 
Travis Halverson
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Laura Allen,

Is there an quick, cheap, grey water solution that will get me through one winter in Wisconsin?

I'm moving to my cabin one year sooner than intended and I have so many other things to complete before this winter.

Next year I will have more time and resources to build a good system.

Thanks for coming out to the forums!
 
Laura Allen
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Hi Travis,
You can most likely construct a small "branched drain" system for the first year, then later improve it so it's irrigating the plants you want to grow.

To avoid water freezing in the pipes make sure you carefully slope the pipe downwards (at least 2%) the whole way. Use large mulched basins to
absorb the water. You probably only need to split up the flow one time if it's just you in the cabin. You can keep the pipe and outlet below ground so it's insulated,
and depending on the severity of your winter you don't need to be deeper than 6-8" or so. The warmth in greywater can keep the outlet area unfrozen.

Here is a little more info on greywater in freezing climates from our website:
http://greywateraction.org/systems-for-cold-climates-including-wetlands/
 
Travis Halverson
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Does this drawing reflect what you said? What size should the drain pipe be?

Thanks!
0407150919.jpg
[Thumbnail for 0407150919.jpg]
 
Laura Allen
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Yes, basically. Is it just one sink? If so 1.5" pipe is fine. If it's sink/showers/washer you'll want to bump up to 2".

You'll need an outlet shield to prevent roots from intruding into the pipe. This image shows a system under construction, you can see the pipe coming into the irrigation valve box (which you can adapt to make a shield for the pipe). The basin will be filled with woodchips when complete, with woodchips up to the top of the valve box. The end of the pipe is protected by the valve box- the whole inside is empty and this air space prevents roots from coming up into the pipe. Make sure there is woodchips under and around the valve box so greywater flows through the mulch before entering the soil. (The mulch filters the water and helps prevent clogging of the soil.)
pg30-BDirrigation.JPG
[Thumbnail for pg30-BDirrigation.JPG]
 
Travis Halverson
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Actually it will be one sink and one bathtub/shower. 2" pipe then.

The volume of woodchipped space in your picture is much less than I imagined. I'm imagining a big, woodchipped hole. Is that unnecessary?

Thank you so much for your time! This is very helpful for me.
 
Laura Allen
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The image I sent was an outlet receiving 1/8th of the total flow of a shower, in sandy clay soil (soil type and quantity of water affect size of basin). The system is called a "branched drain" system, the pipe branches and the flow is diverted to several locations.

With a temporary system like yours you'll probably not want to spend the time to divide the flow to many locations, which is why you can temporarily have a big basin to ecologically dispose of the water.
I would split it once though, so you don't have all the flow going into one spot. We have several resources on-line for the branched drain system here, and in my book The Water-Wise Home I have step-by-step design/build instructions- but I don't think you need that level of detail for the temporary system.

In terms of pipe size, if you use low flow fixtures I think 1.5" would be fine for the whole system (though not up to plumbing code- most states require 2" for shower pipes).

Glad this info is helpful for you!
 
Travis Halverson
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Got it.

Thanks again.
 
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