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Hi All.

I live in a Tiny House that was set up to produce only grey water, but I am in a situation where I need to store it, then pump it into the sewer system (make landlord happy).

So I will need to pump it into a 55 ga drum or similar.... pull it 200 feet (by my truck I expect), and then send it into the sewer system.

The questions I have surround ONLY the practical aspects of getting this done right.  to get it into the barrel, I will need to pump it... and the store it for probably as long as a week...  then empty it weekly by way of a valve low on the barrel side.

It would work best by going into a small(ish) container with pump and level switch... pumping only occasionally when filled to a certain level.  Quiet is good.

I understand there are pumps now that can easily handle the particulates... though I would prefer a small pump.  (small house) . I suppose a "pond pump" would work well.  They are used to being in particle heavy environments.

One other option is to use a squat/wide tank that would fit under the house... I believe there is 1' of room or so... and then I could simply fill that, using no pump.

I understand that smell can be a problem for storage... but if it is "air tight" then it shouldn't be a problem, yes?  Also, one could "spike" it with chlorine bleach or similar on occasion to keep bacteria down.

Oh, and I should mention... the grey water will contain urine... not that I think that matters much (but might legally... as if cats and dogs aren't pissing all over every neighborhood in the world)

Please weigh in on this plan!  You experience could really help me get this right.

Thanks for your kind help,

Ryder
 
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There are pumps for greywater but after a week it will smell tremendously. Can't you simply pump it off every day?
 
Ryder Spearmann
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Angelika Maier wrote:There are pumps for greywater but after a week it will smell tremendously. Can't you simply pump it off every day?



I'm wondering, why would it smell in an air tight container?

Also, can't something be added to prevent the bacteria and prevent smell?

You can make toxic water drinkable with the right treatment and literally save lives (the exact opposite of toxic).  Everyone should study how to prevent deadly bacteria from spreading ...  and be prepared especially in emergencies when clean water infrastructure is damaged (fires, earthquakes, etc)
 
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Ryder, welcome to permies.

My concern with a pump is the bits of food scraps that might be in the grey water.

This may be something that might solve your problem:

This ingenious tank is in a class by itself. Completely self-contained so there are no required accessories to buy or parts to store. Each model has up to 20% more capacity than competitive models for fewer fill-ups - saving time and effort.

Features:      No heavy lifting - use the convenient, included tow handle (on LX models) to easily pull your SmartTote from RV to evacuation.

smarttote-portable-waste-holding-tank-12-gallon-2-wheel

Sorry, I picked the cheapest one and it does not have the "tow handle" so look at their other options as you may want a handle.

Depending on your water usage, you would need to make a few more trips than with a 55 gallon barrel.

Maybe you could use some of the grey water like from hand washing to water plants so that you do not generate as much grey water.
 
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Ryder Spearmann wrote:
I'm wondering, why would it smell in an air tight container?

Also, can't something be added to prevent the bacteria and prevent smell?
(fires, earthquakes, etc)



The bacteria are in the water already, as is other biological material that the bacteria will feed on, and oxygen dissolved in the water.  However, the really stinky bacteria don't need oxygen (anarobic bacteria).

Can you prevent the bacteria from growing?  Sure, you can keep the water heated above 130 deg F, or near freezing, or add poisons/chemicals, or use a UV light, etc.

Is there any particular reason the LL won't let you use it to water trees, bushes, etc.?

You might also look into something called a "Constructed Wetland", this can clean the grey water to the point where it's a clean, or cleaner, than a creek or stream.  Not quite clean enough to drink, but much cleaner than grey water.
 
Ryder Spearmann
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Peter VanDerWal wrote:

Ryder Spearmann wrote:
I'm wondering, why would it smell in an air tight container?

Also, can't something be added to prevent the bacteria and prevent smell?
(fires, earthquakes, etc)



The bacteria are in the water already, as is other biological material that the bacteria will feed on, and oxygen dissolved in the water.  However, the really stinky bacteria don't need oxygen (anarobic bacteria).

Can you prevent the bacteria from growing?  Sure, you can keep the water heated above 130 deg F, or near freezing, or add poisons/chemicals, or use a UV light, etc.

Is there any particular reason the LL won't let you use it to water trees, bushes, etc.?



Yes.  It is illegal where I am.  They consider anything coming from a sink as "sewage".

The point about "air tight" storage of stinky water... is that the smell exists, but is contained.  Shouldn't that work?  I don't care if water is stinky, in a sealed container.

 
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Is there a way that you can reuse the grey water to flush your toilet?
 
Ryder Spearmann
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Heather-Gaia Thorpe wrote:Is there a way that you can reuse the grey water to flush your toilet?



My toilet is a composting type.  No flushing.  This is specifically about grey water.
 
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What, specifically, are the rules in your area?  Would a dry well work?  What jurisdiction is this?  Because depending on where it is, I'd wager that it's not true that grey water is regarded as sewage anymore.  Some old, local inspectors might not be up on details; but I'd be willing to bet that this isn't quite true.  There might very well be a ban on using grey water to water plants above ground, because there are some real health risks to animals & children doing that way; but a buried drain tile style pipe or a dry well is likely to be acceptable legally, at least in the United States.
 
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Can you not just have it go into a small grey water plant filtration system first? You can use a couple of large plant containers for it, one set higher than the other. After the water passes through the first two, it would go into the third, which you could then throw in the sewage, as required by law. The plants will clean the water, instead of the water stagnating.

I'm sorry that I do not know where exactly to find the information in English. I can figure out the English names of the plants you would use, if you chose to do this as a solution. Plant filtration really is an incredible solution.
 
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Its hard to beat the honey carts that were posted higher on the thread for moving the waste water.  They have been a staple of the RV world or decades and are fairly bulletproof.  I will mention that if you are looking for a good wet pump with a low power draw you may consider rigging a bilge pump from a boat distributor.  The pumps are fairly inexpensive, rugged with solid impellers and often come coupled with a float switch that will auto activate the pump when you have standing water.  The pumps are rigged for 12V batteries which readily accept solar trickle charges.  I bet you could get the whole rig into a 2 foot square footprint in your tiny house, or under it depending on your set up.   Good luck, post some pics of your remedy. 
 
Anne Miller
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You might be able to add hydrogen peroxide to the tank to control the smell, It is used as a way to disinfect and clean things, the oxygen in the HP is actually good for plants and can be used to as a water purifier. I use it in my laundry instead of bleach.

I like Tiffaney Dex's picture.

This link might help as it has info on Pumped Systems and on Constructed Wetlands.  On the Constructed Wetlands greywater is also a good source of irrigation for beautiful, water loving wetland plants. 

https://greywateraction.org/greywater-reuse/

 
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After being in the plumbing trade I may be able to add something. If you decide to go the pump route, ejector pumps have come a long way since I first started. Yes they used to be smelly and nasty. You are only pumping grey water, so you would not need the more expensive grinder style pumps. 200' (laterally) is not too far away. A 1" pic pipe is all that is required even on the smaller grinder pumps that you would use to install a full bathroom in a basemen where the sewer exits up high. I would think a couple hundred feet of decent quality 3/4 garden hose would work just fine ( eliminates the 55 gallon drum)  I think my only concern would be grease build up as it cools and congeal over the 200'. If you kept an eye on the discharge and hooked it up to a hot water spigot when you notices a reduction in flow. That should solve this, along with reminding yourself that grease should not be dumped down the drain. Restaurants and such have a grease trap to keep this from happening.   Larry
 
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I was thinking along the same lines as Larry, but maybe using larger irrigation pipe (you can get 2" diameter with some flexibility, reasonably priced), so you can flush your greywater directly away and not store/handle it.
The same laws that condemn urine (which IS almost always considered "black water" and sewage), and what comes out of the sink, tend to be very prohibitive about unlicensed "handling" of sewage.  So if you can plumb the trailer to the sewer line, instead of handling a honey cart, you'll probably be in even better shape for legal concerns.

For handling, I do like the idea of using what the RVers and boat folks have already tested and proved out.  This is not a new problem, just new to you.
...

Leaving aside the question of whether killing everything in your sewage is a good idea (i don't think it is, for so many reasons...),

I don't think chemicals will completely do away with the smell. 
Ammonia from rotting urine is the strongest odor, and it will still be present even after strong chemicals kill the bacteria.  So will fat-bound odors like putrescine and BO, for the most part.
Not all bacteria is bad (far from it), and not all sterilized water smells good. 
It usually smells like the chemicals (chlorine, iodine), plus any "deodorizers"/perfumes, plus a good part of whatever it smelled like before. 
It is still somewhat toxic too, it just won't give you typhoid, cholera, giardia, or other forms of dysentery.

Boiling or UV-sterilization are the least-toxic ways to treat potable water, and there is not much point to boiling sewage... not only would it stink, but the nutrient content would attract airborne bacteria, and things would be back in action within hours.
UV-sterilization is sometimes used as the final stage for very clear water, but would not work reliably on cloudy/chunky/nutrient-dense material (light just breeds algae in those conditions).

With chunky grey water with food particles, possible grease, and very high nutrient content, I suspect you'd have a hard time totally rinsing down the sides to the point where your material would be disease-free, let alone odor-free. 
...

I'd definitely go for more frequent emptying, or an instant-empty drain pipe (maybe equipped with a gluck-tolerant bilge pump or what Larry recommended, if it's an uphill run to the nearest sewer access).

The idea of using grey water to water plants, etc. is still workable.
You don't have to let it go down the drain first. 

I have a greywater sink, but sometimes collect water in a bucket at my feet to take to other parts of the garden on the other side of the house.

There is no law against rinsing your dishes into a dishwater pan instead of down the drain, as far as I know. 
There is no law against brushing your teeth and spitting outside... at least I don't think there is.... nor about how to dispose of "spitoon" contents if you do happen to live where public spitting has been outlawed.
There is no law against rinsing a dish into a potted plant, or peeing on one for that matter, as far as I know.  (I don't recommend peeing directly on indoor plants, however, unless they are getting a LOT of water in fairly short order... most places recommend 10:1 or 20:1 water to urine for plant fertilizer.)
I sometimes make "fertilizer" for my houseplants, up to a few times a year. I won't go into further details, but it seems to work.


If you do end up using the tank-and-tote method as you first outlined, I personally would favor getting a fairly small tank, so you have to empty it more frequently, and its easier to transport/get rid of if you end up moving to a different landlords' place some time.  Then play games with yourself (within the bounds of reason and your agreements) to see how little water you can allow down the drain.  If you are using a lot of water you'd empty it daily/every other day.  If you get creative about minimizing water use, and re-using mostly-clean water in appropriate ways, you might be back down to emptying once a week, but a lot smaller job.

...
Final note: As far as I know, all sewer connections and septic system connections are supposed to have vents / "stand-pipes," because the decomposition of household waste in sewage can cause gas bubbles. 
You don't want the plumbing to build up back pressure into the house. 
For the same reason, I'd recommend against trying to make the tank 100% airtight. 
Vent it above your roof, or at least outside your space, or it will vent itself up your drains (and I imagine that's exactly where you DON'T want the smell).  Make sure that the vent is big enough that liquids "burp" into it, rather than rising up it. 
Sometimes boat and RV toilets have a close-off or check valve, as an added preventer against odors and back-flow.

Lot of water has gone under this bridge already... so to speak.  good luck with finding a solution that makes you, and your landlord, happy and satisfied.
 
Ryder Spearmann
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Erica Wisner wrote:I was thinking along the same lines as Larry, but maybe using larger irrigation pipe (you can get 2" diameter with some flexibility, reasonably priced), so you can flush your greywater directly away and not store/handle it.
The same laws that condemn urine (which IS almost always considered "black water" and sewage), and what comes out of the sink, tend to be very prohibitive about unlicensed "handling" of sewage.  So if you can plumb the trailer to the sewer line, instead of handling a honey cart, you'll probably be in even better shape for legal concerns.

For handling, I do like the idea of using what the RVers and boat folks have already tested and proved out.  This is not a new problem, just new to you.
...

Leaving aside the question of whether killing everything in your sewage is a good idea (i don't think it is, for so many reasons...),

I don't think chemicals will completely do away with the smell. 
Ammonia from rotting urine is the strongest odor, and it will still be present even after strong chemicals kill the bacteria.  So will fat-bound odors like putrescine and BO, for the most part.
Not all bacteria is bad (far from it), and not all sterilized water smells good. 
It usually smells like the chemicals (chlorine, iodine), plus any "deodorizers"/perfumes, plus a good part of whatever it smelled like before. 
It is still somewhat toxic too, it just won't give you typhoid, cholera, giardia, or other forms of dysentery.

Boiling or UV-sterilization are the least-toxic ways to treat potable water, and there is not much point to boiling sewage... not only would it stink, but the nutrient content would attract airborne bacteria, and things would be back in action within hours.
UV-sterilization is sometimes used as the final stage for very clear water, but would not work reliably on cloudy/chunky/nutrient-dense material (light just breeds algae in those conditions).

With chunky grey water with food particles, possible grease, and very high nutrient content, I suspect you'd have a hard time totally rinsing down the sides to the point where your material would be disease-free, let alone odor-free. 
...

I'd definitely go for more frequent emptying, or an instant-empty drain pipe (maybe equipped with a gluck-tolerant bilge pump or what Larry recommended, if it's an uphill run to the nearest sewer access).

The idea of using grey water to water plants, etc. is still workable.
You don't have to let it go down the drain first. 

I have a greywater sink, but sometimes collect water in a bucket at my feet to take to other parts of the garden on the other side of the house.

There is no law against rinsing your dishes into a dishwater pan instead of down the drain, as far as I know. 
There is no law against brushing your teeth and spitting outside... at least I don't think there is.... nor about how to dispose of "spitoon" contents if you do happen to live where public spitting has been outlawed.
There is no law against rinsing a dish into a potted plant, or peeing on one for that matter, as far as I know.  (I don't recommend peeing directly on indoor plants, however, unless they are getting a LOT of water in fairly short order... most places recommend 10:1 or 20:1 water to urine for plant fertilizer.)
I sometimes make "fertilizer" for my houseplants, up to a few times a year. I won't go into further details, but it seems to work.


If you do end up using the tank-and-tote method as you first outlined, I personally would favor getting a fairly small tank, so you have to empty it more frequently, and its easier to transport/get rid of if you end up moving to a different landlords' place some time.  Then play games with yourself (within the bounds of reason and your agreements) to see how little water you can allow down the drain.  If you are using a lot of water you'd empty it daily/every other day.  If you get creative about minimizing water use, and re-using mostly-clean water in appropriate ways, you might be back down to emptying once a week, but a lot smaller job.

...
Final note: As far as I know, all sewer connections and septic system connections are supposed to have vents / "stand-pipes," because the decomposition of household waste in sewage can cause gas bubbles. 
You don't want the plumbing to build up back pressure into the house. 
For the same reason, I'd recommend against trying to make the tank 100% airtight. 
Vent it above your roof, or at least outside your space, or it will vent itself up your drains (and I imagine that's exactly where you DON'T want the smell).  Make sure that the vent is big enough that liquids "burp" into it, rather than rising up it. 
Sometimes boat and RV toilets have a close-off or check valve, as an added preventer against odors and back-flow.

Lot of water has gone under this bridge already... so to speak.  good luck with finding a solution that makes you, and your landlord, happy and satisfied.




It's odd that urine is considered sewage... with our dogs and cats pissing in yards all across the globe...   Heck, so far as I know, it's never illegal to piss on your property.  You just can't piss through 8" of PVC pipe before it hits the ground I guess. Hell, you can drink it (astronauts are trained to).  Piss is the starter for food growing with "pee-ponics".  But yeah.  It's "black water".

So sad we have to deal with such foolishness.

Thanks for your note!



 
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