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grey water near well?

 
Melissa Keyser
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I was hoping to put a greywater system in off my laundry and have it water a butterfly garden near a patio. I've been doing lots of research and have read that they shouldn't be put near wells.

I have a well, which currently needs to be relined and a new pump, so really right now it is a hole in the ground, but I do hope to get it working and use it one day, but only for irrigation. The well hole is about 15-20 feet from the area I was hoping to water with the greywater.

Is this a no-no? Does it matter if the well will only be used for irrigation? My soil has very high clay content, and drains slowly. I planned to have the greywater go into a mulched basin/spiral, and plant alongside the basin. I'll switch back to city sewer when it rains, as the soil gets very saturated very quickly.

Based on the current water level of the well in the middle of summer, I would assume that the 15 gallons or so of water coming out of the washer would ever reach the well water, and it would get absorbed by plants before reaching the water table, but I have no idea.

If this isn't a good practice and my proposed greywater garden is to close to the well, how far away should my watering area be? I'd love any input. I'm new to these concepts. Thanks!!! (if it matters, I'm in Northern California on a suburban half-acre lot)
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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You need a 150ft between black water and a well. Now for grey water and a well I would do 75ft.

Even if you don't drink the well water, do you want the soap/grey water to make it down into the well and someone down stream of you drinking that water.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Hello Melissa, Is there a chance that the grey water will run into the well via surface runoff? Does any of your rain water flow into the well? How deep is it, and is it capped and sealed?

I don't know the answers but here are more questions that might help?

Seems to me that any water that is on the surface, including rain, is a possible contaminant, correct?

Isn't water that percolates through the soil "filtered" ?

Wouldn't grey water be filtered if it is allowed to percolate through soil ?

Does Melissa need to set up a system that includes filtering wetland plants?
 
Melissa Keyser
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Hello Melissa, Is there a chance that the grey water will run into the well via surface runoff? Does any of your rain water flow into the well? How deep is it, and is it capped and sealed?

I don't know the answers but here are more questions that might help?

Seems to me that any water that is on the surface, including rain, is a possible contaminant, correct?

Isn't water that percolates through the soil "filtered" ?

Wouldn't grey water be filtered if it is allowed to percolate through soil ?

Does Melissa need to set up a system that includes filtering wetland plants?


Right now, the well isn't sealed (its covered with a bucket to prevent the cats from falling in....). Whenever we get it fixed, it will be sealed. Right now, I know the water is contaminated with e Coli. Rainwater and surface run off gets into it currently.

The greywater, however, has no way of flowing into the well opening. It will be discharged into basins, and will be lower in elevation than the well. From what I've read, it seems like contamination is an issue with it percolating through the ground? But because the low quantity of grey water, it seems like the surrounding plants and mulch would suck it all up before it goes too deep into the soil, but I really have no idea. I don't know exactly where my water table is, but the standing level of the well is about 20 feet down, so it doesn't seem like the water discharged from the laundry would be enough to get into the water table, and by the time it does it would be well filtered. But once again, I have no idea.
 
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