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gray water acceptability?

 
                      
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yes i know its 'ok' to use it on lawns and flowers. but is it true organic / perma to use it on food crops? it will be atleast crudely filtered, question later, and held.

so now with the question to make sure it is as usable there will at least be a grease trap and wet sand filter as in i was thinking a larger diameter stand pipe with a back wash valve to hold anything that wont filter through fast enough. a diffuser plate to keep wash out down then sand/peat(perhaps) geotextile to keep the sand from filtering into the stone and a flow material to keep the stone out of the drain. then a pipe externally coming from the bottom to the sand level to act as a trap keeping the sand wet with a back wash valve. after al this if it seems feasible and effective. is it now completely safe to spray onto crop/ graising / fish pond? or should more sediment /UV filter take place? i am considering 2 tank where i could use tank one as holding then filter/UV into final tank for use

i dont want to risk a human / live stock life to save a few hundred dollars then again i dont wish to waste money

the 2 tank was so i dont have to run pumps unnecessarily also i dont want to run  the UV sanitizer if i am only getting 1 gpm through a 6gpm uv unit. the tank 1 can gather water whether rain or gray water system through a sand filter  when there is room in tank 2 and enough water in tank 1 then a in series float in both tanks will trip a appropriate flow pump into secondary filtration if necessary and UV sanitizer into tank 2. if tank one and two are both full the other 2 capacity float switches should pump from tank 2 into a fish pond /  drain area (man made wet land) .. ok i know its probally overkill but is it totally insane to do this on gray or rain water. the rain water mainly because i will include a income apartment to help with bills. along with any crop/ animal income
 
Tyler Ludens
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I don't see a problem with using greywater to grow food plants, but I question the appropriateness of planning to spray it on food plants.  It's better to grow plants around a mulch basin where the greywater can soak into the soil.

It's best not to use any kind of filter because it will clog.  The simpler the system, the more successful it will be, in my experience.

I recommend the advice given here:

http://oasisdesign.net/greywater/index.htm
 
                        
Posts: 122
Location: sub-tropics downunder
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grey water can be used on garden plants of all sorts we commonly water potted plants with it. use it fresh as no grease trap required (why??), all our kitchen water from hand washing goes to vege patch.

and at no time do vege' plants need to be watered over the foliage they only need it around the root zone.

use K.I.S.S at all times.

len
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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The nutrients in greywater will make it anaerobic, stinky and potentially pathogenic if it is stored.
Running a hose directly avoids that problem.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I agree Leila, it can't be stored for even a short period as it become blackwater very quickly.    (as I learned the hard way)
 
Paula Edwards
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Agree with Leila, it stinks horrible!
The best is to use a hose and move it around in the garden, as greywater contains detergents etc. and these will build up in the soil and eventually clog the soil.
Greywater is maybe not the best but it is better than no water and if you don't overdo there's no problem. However I won't use it on leavy greens lettuces etc.
 
                                          
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Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
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ediblecities wrote:
Agree with Leila, it stinks horrible!
The best is to use a hose and move it around in the garden, as greywater contains detergents etc. and these will build up in the soil and eventually clog the soil.
Greywater is maybe not the best but it is better than no water and if you don't overdo there's no problem. However I won't use it on leavy greens lettuces etc.


my wife and i make our own laundry detergent with ivory soap, borax, and washing soda.  would this clog the soil the same as commercial detergents?
 
                      
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i was looking to buffer in dry-er times .. say in a given week no rain forecast put down a inch of gray water? but i read a inch/acre is 27,000+ gallons .. soooo i dont think that thought is gonna work so well
oww muh brain hurts ..  ok math time i over estimate 50gal per person(numbers i have are 46g in older homes 36 in newer)
so in my instance i am planning a 4bd  1 3/4 b over my 2bd main floor i am assuming 5 times 50 times 7 days = 1750g tank a week minus toilets 650 a week  so i have to remove ~1100 gallons a week or 0.1 gpm .. erm odd .. these numbers are hugely flawed but just rough thinking. 
well i have totally confused myself .. but one thing the rough numbers made me think .. the gray water diverted would fill a ~1750 poly septic tank about every week

i have much more thinking to do thanks all
ps i am not talking about FDA/USDA organic .. that allows sludge to be spread on organic crops so gray water wouldnt think to be a issue .. from now on i'll think twice when i see stuff at the grocery labeled 'organic'
 
Pat Black
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Location: Northern New Mexico, USA
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sticky_burr wrote:
ps i am not talking about FDA/USDA organic .. that allows sludge to be spread on organic crops so gray water wouldnt think to be a issue .. from now on i'll think twice when i see stuff at the grocery labeled 'organic'


You are mistaken regarding the use of sludge with respect to USDA organic. It is explicitly prohibited. See 205.105(g) of the NOP standard:

"To be sold or labeled as “100 percent organic,” “organic,” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” the product must be produced and handled without the use of:

...

(g) Sewage sludge."

You can read the entire standard here:
http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=0db69a60f169eb6383c538d488ef9ba4&rgn=div5&view=text&node=7:3.1.1.9.32&idno=7
 
                  
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Location: Zone 9a
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hobbssamuelj wrote:
my wife and i make our own laundry detergent with ivory soap, borax, and washing soda.  would this clog the soil the same as commercial detergents?


Kudos for making your own, certainly cheaper.  As for greywater use, I dunno about the ivory soap, but borax is toxic to plants.  I don't think Borax is necessary in your detergent unless the clothes are really that dirty.  Washing soda is Sodium carbonate and I would expect it to salt the soil in the long term.   Maybe if you use only modest amounts of washing soda the microbes can somehow break it down so it doesn't build up?  I don't know, but it is wise to be wary with these things.  Once soil is salted, good luck unsalting it.

Almost all commercial soaps are wholy unappropriate for greywater use on plants.  So if you're using Tide or Gain or whatever and using the greywater to water your plums, tomatoes, etc., that soil WILL get salted with continual application.  Good intentions no doubt but not good chemistry. 

I think the real solution is to use organic soaps instead of the conventional, inorganic soaps (washing soda).  For instance Dr. Bronners soaps are made entirely from various plant oils.  It cleans very well and can be used for just about everything from degreasing an engine to washing your clothes to shampoo.  I would expect such vegetable-oil-based soaps to be ok for greywater usage indefinitely.  Their bar soaps use sodium hydroxide to saponify the vegetable oils, the liquid soaps use potassium hydroxide.  Given that choice I'd go with the liquid because plants like potassium more than sodium.

I'm certainly no chemist or biochemist, just my $.02

 
Nick Peihl
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Another option for cleaning agents in washing machines is Soap Nuts. Four or five nuts are stuffed into a small cloth bag or sock and a knot is tied to secure them. They contain natural saponin and can be re-used for several washes. We have been using them for our clothing for two years and my clothes have never felt better. Commercial detergents always made me itchy.

Last weekend, we installed a greywater system for the washer that drains into a mulch basin.
 
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