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Greywater Animal Oasis  RSS feed

 
Elizabeth Rabeler
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Greetings,
We have 7 "ladies" that we would love to make a greywater pond for. Right now, we are using a kiddie pool and we scoop their water out with a bucket to pour onto our plants/trees.   We would also like to introduce fish, eventually. We are keeping them in a large mobile tractor for now and they are housed in the evening.  The pond would also be used as a water source for our bees so they hopefully leave the neighbors pools alone. Has anyone attempted this and what has worked for you? I'd would love to see any pictures or hear your experience.

Thanks,
Eilis
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Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Laura Allen
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Hi,
I'm not sure I understand your idea. Are you filling the pond with freshwater, and then wondering what to do with the "greywater" you get after they've gotten it dirty?
Or, are you thinking of filling the pond with greywater from the house?
 
Elizabeth Rabeler
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Laura Allen wrote:Hi,
I'm not sure I understand your idea. Are you filling the pond with freshwater, and then wondering what to do with the "greywater" you get after they've gotten it dirty?
Or, are you thinking of filling the pond with greywater from the house?


Hi Laura, we would like to fill the pond with freshwater and then use greywater from our house to keep it full and refreshed. I am thinking of a small pond, nothing too grandiose- just enough for 7 ducks to enjoy.
 
Elizabeth Rabeler
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Dale Hodgins wrote:The ducks would probably appreciate a constructed wetland. I've seen a few large-scale examples of this that become a real refuge for wildlife.


Yes, Dale that is what I was trying to say-a "constructed wetland" using certain plants that would help filter the greywater and create a nice habitat for our ducks. I was curious if anyone here had done that.
 
Peter VanDerWal
Posts: 75
Location: Southern Arizona
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bee bike fish
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A couple suggestions:

1) Definitely recommend the constructed wetland for filtering the grey water.  Besides filter the water, with the right plants it will look nice.
2) Avoid using grey water from laundry or the kitchen.

Laundry water can be high in sodium and phosphorous, neither will be reduced significantly by the wetlands.
Kitchen waste water can be high in suspended solids (food) and grease and tends to have a very high BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand).  The wetlands can significantly reduce the BOD, but the grease and solids will clog it up if you don't filter them out first.  Filtering is fairly easy, but now you have ongoing maintenance requirements to clean the grease traps and filters, probably at least weekly, possibly every few days.  That's a lot of extra effort, for no extra benefit in your case.

Simply diverting shower/bath water to your small pond would provide more than enough water to keep it topped up and would avoid all of the issues mentioned above.

Note:  I haven't done this yet (grey water to pond), but it is part of the system I'm currently working on.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I assume this sodium comes from the laundry soap. Some soaps don't contain salt.

Phosphorus can be a problem, causing algae blooms. I want to keep my pond in a constant state of surface  bloom, so that I can harvest protein rich plants from the surface. This might be possible with ducks, but would probably work better if they have their own smaller pond, and were fenced out of the feed growing pond.

When I was a kid, we had a poorly managed pond that received barnyard runoff. I had a big throw rope, that I used, to haul massive mats of filamentous algae up to the shore. This stuff was used as a garden mulch.
 
Laura Allen
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Elizabeth Rabeler wrote:

Hi Laura, we would like to fill the pond with freshwater and then use greywater from our house to keep it full and refreshed. I am thinking of a small pond, nothing too grandiose- just enough for 7 ducks to enjoy.


Hi Elizabeth,
I would not recommend you fill the pond with greywater. In the past I've had a similar system, but, at the home-scale, I wouldn't make it again.  I'll post a short quote from my book which speaks to this type of system:

From Greywater, Green Landscape: Though technically easy and also beautiful and fun, treating greywater
for a backyard pond is not something I recommend. If your goal is to save water, a greywater pond isn’t the right choice. The quality of greywater is unsuitable to fill a pond; it must be filtered by wetland plants first (unless you want a pool of disgusting, stinky greywater). Thirsty wetland plants not only use water, but they also remove nutrients and organic matter from the water, which your garden could benefit from; less greywater flows out of the wetland than in.

A water-wise choice for anyone with both a pond and a landscape is to irrigate with greywater and fill the pond with freshwater (or rainwater), bypassing the need for the water-loving wetland filter. Separately, greywater ponds epitomize the concerns of the regulatory world. Their list of potential hazards includes: drowning risk for children, potential for direct contact with the water, mosquito breeding grounds, and possible overflow to a neighbor’s yard or storm drain. Ponding greywater is prohibited by even the most lenient codes.


If you're interested in using greywater to benefit the ducks, I'd recommend using it to irrigate plants the ducks love to eat, or growing a shade tree over the pond you create.

Good luck with your system and the cute ducks!
 
Elizabeth Rabeler
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I assume this sodium comes from the laundry soap. Some soaps don't contain salt.

Phosphorus can be a problem, causing algae blooms. I want to keep my pond in a constant state of surface  bloom, so that I can harvest protein rich plants from the surface. This might be possible with ducks, but would probably work better if they have their own smaller pond, and were fenced out of the feed growing pond.

When I was a kid, we had a poorly managed pond that received barnyard runoff. I had a big throw rope, that I used, to haul massive mats of filamentous algae up to the shore. This stuff was used as a garden mulch.


Our ducks would decimate any sort of edible vegetation within a day or two, so I would absolutely have a separate area dedicated to growing any sort of plants they might be interested in. I never thought of using algae from the ponds as a mulch in the garden but that is brilliant!
I thought of using a tiered design with the ponds. Have the central pond area for the ducks and any overflow would be diverted to a smaller area for growing Azolla fern in the more nutrient rich water. Ducks love it, it doubles its area within days, keeps down algae, and the bees are able to walk across the surface to drink the water. We used it in a small water feature we had made for the bees and were very impressed. Im sure it would work very well in a greywater sysem too.
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David Hernick
Posts: 68
Location: Oakland, CA
1
chicken fungi trees
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This thread reminded of something I saw on Penny Livingston, here is a link:
http://westbynorthwest.org/summer02/dedanan.perm.sum02.shtml
The picture says it is a grey water pond for ducks, but the article does not go into much detail on the pond.  I agree with Laura's quote, however also identify it Elizabeth's dire for a grey water pond for Ducks, having had ducks in the past.  Ducks need water to bath in and that water needs to be changed regularly and is very nutrient rich.  The grey water system would need to be pretty complicated, first you would need remove as much solids as possible in something similar to a down spout leaf diverter before being filter by wetland plants in a bath tub or something, them there is the pond, all of this is complicated to maintain.  I would probably be up for it is it was not against the code where I live.  So I can't  justify having ducks
 
Laura Allen
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David Hernick wrote:This thread reminded of something I saw on Penny Livingston, here is a link:
http://westbynorthwest.org/summer02/dedanan.perm.sum02.shtml
The picture says it is a grey water pond for ducks, but the article does not go into much detail on the pond. ...


Just want to offer a little more info on the greywater pond: I visited one of her ponds, at RDI, and it was mostly a rainwater-fed pond with just a small fraction of the water from filtered greywater.
 
David Hernick
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Location: Oakland, CA
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Thanks Laura, that makes sense.
 
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