• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Swale or pond  RSS feed

 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hmmm, I had made a swale below my kitchen cabin in order to collect all the sink water, but now the sludge has sealed it apparently, because it is filling with water.
I guess the good news is that if I were to make a pond, I just got the experience that slime does seal the bottom of it.
What should I do? change the landscaping choice? Put gravel in the swale? Maybe I'll just make it bigger so the gray water will always either evaporate or immediately soak in.
 
Bucks Brandon
Posts: 44
Location: Bucks County, Pennsylvania [zone 6]
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
SergioSantoro wrote:
Hmmm, I had made a swale below my kitchen cabin in order to collect all the sink water, but now the sludge has sealed it apparently, because it is filling with water.
I guess the good news is that if I were to make a pond, I just got the experience that slime does seal the bottom of it.
What should I do? change the landscaping choice? Put gravel in the swale? Maybe I'll just make it bigger so the gray water will always either evaporate or immediately soak in.


A little more data might be helpful...
-do you have any good plants planted in the swale that help clean up the water?
-how long has it been staying filled with water? Do you think it'll stay that way in dryer seasons?
-do you live here fulltime or seasonally? if you leave for a while is it okay if the pond/swale dries all the way up?
-can you pair the kitchen sink greywater with a diverted raingutter to dilute the "sludge" and increase the volume?

If you have the space and layout, perhaps you could make a small wetland to filter the water coming into a pond, and have an overflow from the pond divert to a new swale in times of high volume.
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is the extra info
There was pintoi maní growing all around, my hope was that as it grows around and inside the swale it will soak all the moisture, but now I'm starting to think it will just rot and contribute to the slime.
I live here permanently and I actually want the swale to be dry, meaning, I want the heliconias and the maní growing in the swale's berm to benefit from that moisture, but otherwise the swale is mostly there so the gray water from my kitchen doesn't roll down the slope.
The rainy season is just about to start here, so the swale will definitely turn into a small, long pond, and kind of a meaningless one, too, if you saw how small it it. Plus, I don't want mosquitos to lay eggs in it, not to speak of the smell that is already there.
So, summing up, I made the swale not to collect water, but to harness it, so it won't roll down the hill to my other cabin and to the road. I'll post a pic soon.
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
By the way, what aquatic plants are put in ponds to filter the water, considering I live in Costa Rica? Would taro work?
 
                      
Posts: 76
Location: Austin,TX
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A swale should hold water for no more than a few days...they're for soaking not holding.

Sounds like you might have gleyed your swale (from the food wastes) or you've got a lot of clay.
Either way you'll need to get it soaking, maybe dig it a bit deeper then add drainage rocks if needed.

One thing you can try is running your waste water through a simple filter.
Try a 5gal bucket with wood chips. Drain hole at bottem, fill at top. Food bits get cleaned up by the wood chips. Bugs are attracted.
Every week or so dump bucket (chickens will be waiting for the bugs) then refill with fresh wood chips.

 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you.

I don't see a lot of vegetable kitchen stuff. We make cheese daily, well, first because that's what we do, but also because we have low hydro-power in the summer due to the low river, so we can't run the fridge until it starts raining again. Bottom line, a lot of milk solids and whey go down the drain, even just from washing containers.
Also, I don't want to attract bugs. First because I don't have chickens yet, but also because it's our kitchen area and we are already experiencing major flies attracted to the compost bucket in the kitchen.
My hope was to have the swale covered by maní again (looks like clover) in order to have it drink the water and cover everything, reducing smells etc, but now I don't know. Let me go take a picture now.
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There
DSCN3043.jpg
[Thumbnail for DSCN3043.jpg]
DSCN3044.jpg
[Thumbnail for DSCN3044.jpg]
DSCN3045.jpg
[Thumbnail for DSCN3045.jpg]
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9744
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
186
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mulch and water-tolerant plants such as canna or cattails.

http://oasisdesign.net/greywater/index.htm
 
                      
Posts: 76
Location: Austin,TX
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OK,

The whole cheese making info is important info.
I take it back you didn't gley your swale you gouda'ed it.
You my not see lots of food particles but all that whey etc is food...tons of it.

Knowing what little I do of your layout I'd think about doing the following:
1. Break the fly cycle by getting chickens on site. The flies are breeding onsite somewhere and coming into the kitchen. Chickens will not only eat the fly maggots but will eat alot of what the flies would lay eggs on in the first place.
2. Get the compost out of the kitchen. Put in a composite shoot going through the wall and into an outside closed holding bin.
3. Assuming you can, I'd run the waste water farther away from the kitchen (uphill from current swale), into a banana circle with the overflow (now clean) coming back to the current swale/pond.

I'll look for pics soon.
Ape99

BTW
Check out the coolbot room fridge video around here. Also might think about putting a small up strean dam for the dry season to keep the electric on.


 
Michael Radelut
Posts: 204
Location: Germany, 7b-ish
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi,
I'd say: Neither pond nor swale.

you have a rather steep hillside there, erosion-prone I assume, and rather low in nutrients/soil organic matter.
The thing to do in such a case would be to start building soil - and soil cover - as high on that slope as possible.
If you have nutrient rich effluent, the let it infiltrate at the very top,
not far below in a "pond swale" that might further erode your soil slope (nasty cliff you dug there...):

How about a french drain next to the house, nice and deep so infiltration is ensured, and some light terracing on contour below ?
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for all the advice. For now I think I'll make the the swale a little larger and fill it with some carbon-rich mulch. We are thinking of having chickens, but I don't know how soon. I'd have to train the dogs, too. I'll wait for the rains, so all the watering time will be replaced by all other projects. You have to see the people around here. We are 4 on the farm, and every pm, while I cook dinner they water plant by plant, only to re do it the following day. No mulch or anything, but people seem to be receptive to permaculture, so we are slowing changing things around.
Anyway, it also makes sense to extend that ugly green pipe, that was just a provisional thing. It could go down across the road and into the banana grove. It would have kept the plantains lush all summer. Oh well.
Going to look for that fridge idea, but it's raining more and more frequently, so soon we'll have tons of power coming from the turbine in the valley. Fans and fridge again!
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Hügel,

I knew the little cliff was a problem. I kind of followed the shape of the slope. I don't understand the effluent part. Are you saying cut the pipe shorter so the kitchen water will start enriching the soil higher up? But what about the hygiene?
Let me go take another picture of the area.

Thank you everyone!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9744
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
186
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The outlet of the water pipe should be below the surface of mulch or protected by a construction of stone or a bucket - the water should not be exposed to the open like that (vaguely potential health hazard, plus flies, mosquitoes, etc) 

http://oasisdesign.net/greywater/misinfo/index.htm
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
H Ludi Tyler wrote:
The outlet of the water pipe should be below the surface of mulch or protected by a construction of stone or a bucket - the water should not be exposed to the open like that (vaguely potential health hazard, plus flies, mosquitoes, etc) 

http://oasisdesign.net/greywater/misinfo/index.htm


Oi, this is so obvious I didn't even think about it! Thank you so much!
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
View from the banana grove, from the road, and from my cabin.
DSCN3046.jpg
[Thumbnail for DSCN3046.jpg]
DSCN3047.jpg
[Thumbnail for DSCN3047.jpg]
DSCN3048.jpg
[Thumbnail for DSCN3048.jpg]
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
ape99 wrote:
BTW
Check out the coolbot room fridge video around here. Also might think about putting a small up strean dam for the dry season to keep the electric on.


I couldn't find anything under coolbot, and what do you mean by upstream dam?
 
Michael Radelut
Posts: 204
Location: Germany, 7b-ish
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
SergioSantoro wrote:
Oi, this is so obvious I didn't even think about it! Thank you so much!


... and that's just what I meant by linking to the French Drain article
(With so many automatic links in this forum it's difficult to discern the intentional ones, I know.)

It'll be a boon to cut the tube short and then have the "enriched water" slowly percolate through all of the soil,
because the soil you have needs to be repaired from the top down, otherwise that tree at its bottom won't be
the only one to die because its roots are hanging in midair.
You definitely need erosion control measures like terraces, and those paths going straight down the slope are
runways for water carrying soil away. Try some sepp holzer turns in your paths
 
                      
Posts: 76
Location: Austin,TX
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Coolbot

http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=6284.0

and by upstream dam, just a dam (I'd look for a natural choke point) upstream that will give 365/24/7 flow for micro-hydro power.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
if it is usable as a bog planting, put in some water lovers like elderberries, cranberries, blueberries, etc..they will soak up a lot of the water and the roots might make the water more easily penetrate into the surrounding soil
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
look how green the grass is below your swale, thats where you should be planting, not directly on the berm.
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hügel wrote:
You definitely need erosion control measures like terraces, and those paths going straight down the slope are
runways for water carrying soil away. Try some Sepp Holzer turns in your paths


Now I'm freaking out about the soil erosion. What if the whole hill gets covered in maní? They make a pretty thick web or roots. I can already tell you that no matter how we shape the paths, people will always walk the shortest distance and create new ones, but if the hill is thoroughly covered by vegetation, it shouldn't be too much of a prob to have some dirt run down the paths?
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hubert cumberdale wrote:
look how green the grass is below your swale, thats where you should be planting, not directly on the berm.


Actually that grass was like that even before, when the pipe was pouring all over the hill, but I get the drift. Still, the berm itself shouldn't be bare, right?
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brenda Groth wrote:
if it is usable as a bog planting, put in some water lovers like elderberries, cranberries, blueberries, etc..they will soak up a lot of the water and the roots might make the water more easily penetrate into the surrounding soil


I'm afraid the only berry that grows around here is bananas, although I do see (horrible) blackberries in the stores. They may come from San José, which is much higher and cooler.
God I'd love to have more berries. In fact I'm thinking of starting another thread about how the heck do some permaculturists do to create temperate spots in their tropical estates? I understand how sepp holzer augments the little heat he gets with stones and reflective pond surfaces, but the opposite escapes me at the moment.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9744
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
186
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Can you try growing some other kinds of tropical fruits besides only bananas?  There are so many!

http://tradewindsfruit.com/

 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
ape99 wrote:
Coolbot

http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=6284.0

and by upstream dam, just a dam (I'd look for a natural choke point) upstream that will give 365/24/7 flow for micro-hydro power.


Oh, that's what you were assuming. Unfortunately all the streams dry out. We get the power from the river in the valley, courtesy of our neighbor. Not only that, the source up top barely gives any water come this time of the year, so every day we have to use 2000 kw/h (for as long as the solar panels last) to pump water from a well that's below anything we have, up 700m into two tanks and get the water by gravity from the tanks. It's lame, but we can't afford to drill for a well higher up at present.
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Can you try growing some other kinds of tropical fruits besides only bananas?  There are so many!
http://tradewindsfruit.com/


Oh no, we have mangos, avocados, starfruit, guanabana, guava, citrus, watermelons, pineapples, lichis, cashew apples, and some new ones I don't even know, but we were talking of berries, and I heard once that bananas are the biggest berries around.
I do miss blackberries, blueberries, strawberries. I am pretty sure I can grow blackberries and strawberries, after some struggling maybe. The ministry of agriculture told me the soil is too alkaline with too much Al, and someone else told me blackberries need to go through some chill to produce nicely. Still I think I should try.
Anyway, my reference to growing temperate zone trees in the tropics was based on this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-3aijagbKw

How the heck does she do?
 
Michael Radelut
Posts: 204
Location: Germany, 7b-ish
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
SergioSantoro wrote:
Now I'm freaking out about the soil erosion. What if the whole hill gets covered in maní? They make a pretty thick web or roots. I can already tell you that no matter how we shape the paths, people will always walk the shortest distance and create new ones, but if the hill is thoroughly covered by vegetation, it shouldn't be too much of a prob to have some dirt run down the paths?


Maní are peanuts, right ? They seem to grow well in lower pH soil, cover the ground, and are nitrogen-fixing; three good things.
The perfect remedy for laterite soil with a pH that's very low, and which consequently has a level of dissolved aluminium and other metals in it, seems to be biochar.
I wouldn't plan on growing specific things, but rather start by building a biochar vessel for your (rocket) stove, and then mixing it into the terraced soil.
After that there's plenty of time to find out what wants to grow and what doesn't.

 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ah what a sore spot...

I had got a diesel barrel for free. I was going to run a stove pipe along it's axis and make a retort the way I saw it on youtube, but it's really hard to convince people unless and until you show them some results (I'm not quite the owner here. It's a hindu monastery/yoga retreat type place), so they saw that barrel in the middle of the way and chucked it, because it wasn't time to embark in biochar production....
I'm so mad, but whatever. To buy a barrel like that would be $20 now. I'm thinking of making it the old way with the mound covered in clay, but that pollutes much more, and it's getting reainier and rainier.
Any ideas? I can't wait to get some nice biochar out our rice hulls and coir.
 
Kathleen Corum
Posts: 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
On this topic... the sewage treatment plant uses several 'recharge' ponds to return water to the ground. They fill them sequentially, moving the drainage from one to another. Evidently this prevents the ponds from sealing up by drying out between recharge cycles. I can't tell you with authority how or why, but my guess is that the sludge drys and cracks instead of filming and sealing.?
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1699
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
54
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kathleen - the original posters in this thread have likely resolved their issues. The last post was back in 2011.

Mike
 
Your mother was a hamster and your father was a tiny ad:
The Earth Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book by Mike Oehler - digital download
https://permies.com/wiki/23444/digital-market/digital-market/Earth-Sheltered-Solar-Greenhouse-Book
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!