• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Mycelial Greywater Filter

 
                                  
Posts: 15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mycelial filtration uses the mycelium from mushrooms to filter water. The mycelium, which is sort of like the roots of the mushroom, are naturally excellent at filtering nutrients and some heavy metals from water. Not many people, if any, actually use this technology in there homes yet and I hope to be among the first. I will be recording my progress and all my thoughts on my blog. I dont have my camera right now so I cant show pictures but I have actually built the concrete "mushroom box" already its about 4'x3'x8', as soon as my camera arrives I will update with pictures of the box and hopefully my oyster mushroom cultures by then. Anyway this is a great potential greywater filtration method and hopefully soon some other permies can adopt it if it works out for me. I suspect that mushrooms will be able to filter greywater in a much smaller area and with much less hassle than most other systems, and it seems they may do a much better job of filtering also. I cant wait to get this thing going!

My blog post for slightly more information:
http://www.greenhornmining.com/permaculture/mycelial-greywater-filters/

If it works out I will dedicate a new section of my blog to this topic.
 
Erica Wisner
gardener
Pie
Posts: 1107
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
172
books cat dog food preservation hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We're gearing up to do this also, one of the simpler techniques is 'bunker spawn' in a bag of wood chips that you can lay across a runoff area, like they do to protect storm drains when doing construction projects.  We haven't got the quantity yet, and we haven't had any fruitings from the one bag we installed last fall, but it does seem to make a visible difference in the water quality. Our 'greywater' is not our household waste, but mystery matter being drained from uphill properties through our fence.  So we're assuming there are some general detergenty stuff (phosphates and organic chains) and some petroleum distillates (motor oil etc) that oysters are supposed to be really great at breaking down. What to do about fungicides, broadleaf herbicides, etc. I don't know yet.

Man, I wish chemical engineers wouldn't market toxic gick to stupid people. Can't wait until the petroleum 'rush' dies down; I hope we survive the tantrum. 

Good luck and keep us posted!
 
                                  
Posts: 15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How these mushrooms react to pesticides etc will be interesting also. There is an overwhelming amount of research to be done in this area.

That is a perfect application of bunker spawn. You should do the whole property line and then test the soil on either side in a year or two. Is it neighbors greywater or just runoff water from their garden?
 
John Polk
master steward
Pie
Posts: 8018
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
269
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Quote (Erica)
***
Man, I wish chemical engineers wouldn't market toxic gick to stupid people.
***
They have to...smart people won't buy it!
 
                                  
Posts: 15
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was planning on doing an agar culture off a spore print for the oyster mushrooms but I found some "Monterey" brand ones at my local Albertsons so those are the ones I am going to try first. My culture technique is very simple. I want enough spawn to inoculate a couple straw bales, so I minced up a big cluster of stem buts really fine and threw them in with some wet cardboard. This morning they where already attached to the cardboard by there mycellium. This gave me a great idea. I know you can chop them up as fine as you want, even using a blender, and every piece will make a separate colony on your growth medium, so I blended up another cluster of mushrooms with enough water to hydrate a 1/2 lb of grain and then mixed the broth with the grain. We will see in the next couple days if that grain will be heavily contaminated or not, I suspect it will be but I may be pleasantly surprised.

Anyway, in the next couple days I am going to cut up my myceliated cardboard into strips and use that to colonize several large boxes worth of cardboard. Once those sheets are colonized, I can put them between the straw bales in my filter to inoculate them. I am really excited to get the filter going and I want to get it done while I am still on that wave of energy, so I am setting the somewhat ambitious goal of the end of next week for having the filter assembled, inoculated, and in action, but it might end up taking twice that long if I have contamination issues or something.

I am very excited about the possibilities of oyster mushrooms for processing humanure. They attack and eat e-coli and nematodes on contact, they posses powerfull antibiotic agents to kill any nasty bacteria, and they could break down human waste very quickly. Maybe if we call it a "Myco Reactor" they wont notice that it is a good, free, organic solution to there problems instead of an 10,000 septic tank that will need a new leach field in 5 years.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 520
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Does it remove/sequester/bind-in-inert-form fluoride? chloramine?
 
Art Ludwig
Posts: 21
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have always been a big believer in the purification powers of mulch, soil, and all the stuff growing in it...especially mycelium. If anything can treat pharmaceuticals, petroleum, etc...that's it.

I quickly became a skeptic of treatment before irrigation., at least for low volume systems. I think having the mycelium as part of the receiving landscape is a fabulous idea.
 
Roberto pokachinni
Pie
Posts: 909
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
64
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Unfortunately the links to the Original Poster's blog are no longer available. It would be great to see an update. It's been over 4 years!
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1532
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
77
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I know that when my daughter was in the Peace Corps in West Africa, she learned of mycelial filtering. I think it was presented in her official training. She called it a "bio filter", and (I think) she said it was considered to make otherwise questionable water into safe drinking water. I think the water went through a sand filter of some kind to get the large/particulate matter out, and then through the bio filter. It filtered through the mycelial mat slowly, and the mycelial mat had to stay moist, and you had to wait for the mycelial mat to develop before you could consider the water safe to drink. The systems were usually set up on a continuous slow feed of water, and storage of some kind devised.

The bio filter did not rely on specialized mycelium, just grew out of endemic fungi ...
"It has to be water to start with, maybe contaminated water, but water." she told me. "It won't turn ammonia or vinegar or urine into water. You would not do it with pure sewage"

 
Tim Skufca
Posts: 45
17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Art Ludwig wrote:I have always been a big believer in the purification powers of mulch, soil, and all the stuff growing in it...especially mycelium. If anything can treat pharmaceuticals, petroleum, etc...that's it.

I quickly became a skeptic of treatment before irrigation., at least for low volume systems. I think having the mycelium as part of the receiving landscape is a fabulous idea.


I agree that during the growing season when the soil is not frozen the greywater should definitely be directed to plants, but in cold climates it is better to treat greywater prior to dumping into a sump that then penetrates the ground water.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1532
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
77
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tim Skufca wrote:

I agree that during the growing season when the soil is not frozen the greywater should definitely be directed to plants, but in cold climates it is better to treat greywater prior to dumping into a sump that then penetrates the ground water.
\

I'm curious, Tim, what's the thinking behind this? Is it that no microbes will act on it before it mixes with ground water? I guess to understand you I also ned to understand what you mean by a sump, and how one would treat the grey water before putting it into a sump.

Elaine Ingham's and many subsequent researchers found the highest rate of decomposition (on earth, and far surpassing the rate of decomposition in tropical rain forests) was under the snow during the winter. I believe she did this research originally in the Fort Collins Colorado area, and I think we can assume that the ground was frozen.

I've been promoting the development of a robust soil community on my 2 acres of very fine sand with a small amount of clay and beginning with no humus, less than 1% organic carbon, for several years now.

No one person knows everything, and so I am always interested in the rationals behind the differing theories and opinions, especially when it comes to soil community. I love to learn something new.
Thanks
 
Tim Skufca
Posts: 45
17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A sump, in the way I used it here, is a void below frost that can accept a flow that then percolates the ground all winter long. The reason to "treat" the greywater prior to dumping into the sump is to use up the nutrients in the greywater (of course this would require the wet-land plants that "treat" the greywater to be in a heated space, ideally a passively-heated greenhouse space). Also, by "treating" the greywater prior to dumping into the sump means the effluent is cleaner and thus more appropriate to mix into the groundwaters.

I'm curious about the greywater system below the snow. This sounds interesting. However, what about the times in the winter when the ground is frozen and the snow has melted, or it hasn't snowed yet? A proper greywater system keeps the fluid away from direct contact.

 
Gary Grata
Posts: 30
Location: Western Pennsylvania Zone 6A
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm relatively new to this whole idea.... my question is: if the Mycelia uptake all these nasty contaminants, what do you do with the mushrooms?
On another note, what does it mean when the author of a post's name is greyed out?
 
Roberto pokachinni
Pie
Posts: 909
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
64
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Gary,

what does it mean when the author of a post's name is greyed out?


I'm not sure, but I assume that the greyed out name is because the person has chosen to leave the permies community for one reason or another, but their post is kept for our benefit. It always seems to be the case that this comes up when a post is a few years old, and people are posting on the thread created by the post, but the original poster is no longer making any comments. I don't know this for sure, so it may be best to send a message to a forum moderator, a steward, or a volunteer.

if the Mycelia uptake all these nasty contaminants, what do you do with the mushrooms?


I think that the 'toxins' that are absorbed by the fungi, are not like super crazy toxic (like lead or mercury, or petrochemicals... although I've heard of paul stamets of Fungi Perfecti doing some wonderful work at cleaning up some seriously toxic stuff with fungi). Instead the fungi in this system is expected to clean water from your dishes, and your washing machine, and your bathtub and sink, which are just not healthy things to dump directly into your groundwater, your pond, or your creek in concentrated amounts. Almost any amount directly dumped into a creek, or pond, for instance could jeopardize a lot of it's riparian micro ecology, as well as fish in the creek, and humans taking water downstream for their needs. What the fungi do is trap the concentrated nutrients within their bodies, and assimilate into a more usable or biologically neutral form. I would not eat the oyster mushrooms from this system, but would probably add them to the compost, or dump them under some trees so the trees would benefit by joining in the fun of transmuting the "toxins" to ecological gain.

what about the times in the winter when the ground is frozen and the snow has melted, or it hasn't snowed yet?


Hey Tim, I'm with you on this, and all you said. We can get frost a meter (yard) deep or more where I live. I was thinking of a very insulated solarium full of cattail and bullrush ponds for treating greywater, but then I heard of earthworm filters. I'm pretty sure that these could be done in a box in a pit, below ground frost level; this could be done as well with the cultivation of certain fungi below frost line. The combination of worms and fungi in the filter box might work well also.


 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1532
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
77
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tim Skufca wrote:A sump, in the way I used it here, is a void below frost that can accept a flow that then percolates the ground all winter long. The reason to "treat" the greywater prior to dumping into the sump is to use up the nutrients in the greywater (of course this would require the wet-land plants that "treat" the greywater to be in a heated space, ideally a passively-heated greenhouse space). Also, by "treating" the greywater prior to dumping into the sump means the effluent is cleaner and thus more appropriate to mix into the groundwaters.

I'm curious about the greywater system below the snow. This sounds interesting. However, what about the times in the winter when the ground is frozen and the snow has melted, or it hasn't snowed yet? A proper greywater system keeps the fluid away from direct contact.



OK, thanks Tim. Now I understand the concerns of greywater percolating deeply into the ground all winter. Is there any chance that the sump situation would provide habitat for appropriate organisms to develop a community to utilize a rich resource? Would a mycelial mat not develop if the conditions were consistent?

So, about the greywater system under the snow. I think what I said must be misleading, considering the context. The research I spoke of was not related to grey water treatment. It was simply the rate at which endemic fungi decomposed the plant refuse that was there on the ground when winter began.

I just wonder about the sump with its resources/ potential contaminants. Considering the "bio filter" about which the peace corps taught my daughter, and the mycoremediation Paul Stamet's work has pioneered, and Art's comment re low volume systems "having the mycelium as part of the receiving landscape is a fabulous idea.", I just keep thinking that if the rate of flow did not over run the surface area of the sump, and if the sump was in soil, not a plastic tank with a drain at the bottom, that mycelium would create their membrane over the whole surface of the soil sump, and in that way the mycelium would be part of the receiving landscape.

I want to be very clear I have no experience in any of this. I am just putting ideas from reliable sources together in a way that seems logical to me, and drawing conclusions about how I think it would work, or maybe "should" work. It seems worth a bit of scientific exploration, even if just to survey several sites in various climates with sumps used for greywater through the winter months, and do some sampling and analyses.
 
Roberto pokachinni
Pie
Posts: 909
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
64
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Thekla
...under the snow during the winter. I believe she did this research originally in the Fort Collins Colorado area, and I think we can assume that the ground was frozen.


If the snow falls deeply enough at the beginning of winter, the snow becomes an insulating barrier to the progressively colder winter air to come. In this way, it is frequently the case that the soil is damp (above freezing) below the snow. Snow melts into this damp soil and continues to keep it above freezing (at least for a while). The frost will penetrate shallow snowfalls, but not deep snowfalls. As Tim said, having a deep early snowfall to insulate the soil is not always the case, and the ground can freeze very deep before an insulative layer of snow has accumulated to protect it from penetrating frost.

I have high regards for Elaine Ingham's work, and would like to see this study, if you know how to access it.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1532
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
77
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes Roberto, when that snowfall arrives is important. In a place like the Western Colorado high desert, we never know what to expect. It is very changeable. Normally the ground freezes about the middle of December. If we get snow and it stays, we have a much colder winter because of the inversion that develops.

This year we had a very milk and moist fall, and then all of a sudden the over night temperatures plummeted and we had 6 F over night temperatures and the ground froze early.

As to the Ingham work, I will have to search for it. I took a class online from her last winter and when she mentioned the paper, she gave us the wrong year. One of the other students found it. At this point I remember it as having been published in either 85 or 86. If you are good at tracking that kind of thing down, go for it. If you wait for me, it might be a long wait. It's a busy time of year, and then I forget things. Sorry.
 
Jason Vath
Posts: 146
Location: Hardiness Zone 6
12
chicken forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Erica, Thanks so much for mentioning Oyster mushrooms as a means for dealing with chemical contamination.
That may be the solution to my problem. I have land that has been treated like a junk yard by previous generations. cleanup is keeping me extremely busy.


Man, I wish chemical engineers wouldn't market toxic gick to stupid people.


I wish the creation of such filth was illegal and that if they dared to continue, victims were allowed to defend themselves how they see fit. But that wouldn't be allowed. Everyone must suffer from the bad habits of others.
I can't seem to get through one single day without being bombarded with some sort of chemical attack, mainly air pollution via laundry detergents & air-unfresheners. These chemicals are freaking Evil. If I were king, there would be war over this.
Oops was I thinking out loud? Sorry, I must be insane to think of living in a world with fresh air, water & food.

I'm looking forward to learning from this thread!


 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1532
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
77
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jason Vath wrote:
I wish the creation of such filth was illegal and that if they dared to continue, victims were allowed to defend themselves how they see fit. But that wouldn't be allowed.
I can't seem to get through one single day without being bombarded with some sort of chemical attack, mainly air pollution via laundry detergents & air-unfresheners. These chemicals are freaking Evil. If I were king, there would be war over this.
Oops was I thinking out loud? Sorry, I must be insane to think of living in a world with fresh air, water & food.

I'm looking forward to learning from this thread!




Me too, Jason. If you were King, I'd be your Queen!. War atrocities are not the only crimes against humanity! I want my birthright - clean air, clean water, healthy ecosystem my species was born to! And it si coming to a matter of life and death! But instead of war against polluters, I am doing my soil thing, trying to teach others, and participating here at Permies, putting my soul into the ideological war for a viable ecosystem, aka world domination!

 
Jason Vath
Posts: 146
Location: Hardiness Zone 6
12
chicken forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Amen, I agree with you. The best thing we can do is take action by fixing what we can with the knowledge we attain - building better things instead of burning our energy being angry at the enemies.
It's hard not to get angry though, chemicals can have an immediate affect on the brain thus changing behavior. I'm forced to deal with it everyday as I'm chemically sensitive. Being attacked by nice, well meaning people who have no idea they are active participants in destroying all life just drives me near insane. Don't people have a functional sense of smell?
Everyone, unceasingly build soil! Mycelium, grey water systems, hugelkultur, mulch,covercrops, no-till, proper graizing techniques, etc... Permaculture can save the world if implemented enough! Let's do it!

Ok, sorry for the rant, I'm done now lol.

 
Kali Maya
Posts: 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for posting this! I thought you might like to know Comodo security claims your site greenhornmining.com doesn't exist. You might want to contact them, because they are blocking access to your site.
 
Kali Maya
Posts: 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Actually my internet provider is also saying you don't exist, I cannot access your page at all! Sorry to post again regarding this matter, but I am seriously disappointed!
 
Attractive, successful people love this tiny ad:
The stocking stuffer game for all your Permaculture companions
http://www.FoodForestCardGame.com
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic