I'm interested in re-routing my bathroom sinks/showers and washing machine to a grey water tank that will also serve as rainwater collection. My kitchen sink/dishwasher (unless someone can tell me how to treat that well...) and toilets will still go to the on-premises sub-soil septic system. We'll use grey water friendly soaps. The collected water will be used for irrigation and if I can treat it correctly, water for the animals. We have a well with great water we use for us humans.
What is the best resource you've found that discusses this? Mostly interested in how to treat the water for use with animals. I've searched here a while and don't see anything matching my situation as most topics tend to deal will septic/compostable systems as it relates to grey water.
The cost of gray/rainwater combined vs 2 separate systems would be so irrelevant($$) that i would build 2 separate systems. The main reason being how to make graywater suitable for animals. I cant think of any, and a dedicated rain tank should do it without treatment if you use a tank that doesnt let light in.
I don't hold any gray water, although i have a tank to meet local codes. It standing in a tank will probably increase the ickyness. I have rainwater going to cows and sheep. Gray water goes through an ibc tote before going underground through perforated pipes. Puddling is not allowed in texas. Discharging is not allowed while raining. This is why the ibc tote is incorporated in the system.
I guess theres systems out there where graywater travels through reed beds, etc to clean it. Because its not allowed for me, i dont have any info related to that.
The two separate systems work well and is headache free.
From the book and the many informative things on the website, I understood two things in reference to your questions.
1) Filtering greywater or trying to clean it for a second use is very difficult, and very likely to clog up and require many nasty sessions of clearing work again and again.
2) Storing greywater makes it so stinky that it may actually be considered blackwater. In my experience, greywater stored for a day does indeed stink. I only use it for irrigation at ground level so I don't care, but yeah, it stinks if stored.
The simplest way to use greywater is to direct it as quickly as possible to the topsoil, and a very effective way to do that is mulch basins or mulch filled channels.
Here in Ladakh, people used to wash dishes with warm water but no soap, and give the used dishwater and food scraps to the animals.
Works at a residential alternative high school in the Himalayas SECMOL.org . "Back home" is Cape Cod, E Coast USA.
Wayne & Rebecca, Thank you! Seems certainly more difficult to accomplish than I thought it might be.
How about this... I am building 1-2 degree off contour swales on a big section of the property with tiny ponds at ends. What if I were to take the grey water to the “top” of the swale system and let it gradually filter threw the swales. That seems like that work work, right? Worst case I would need a heavy mulch basin at the first collection “pond” to filter the water quickly to remove odors.
Save the rain water for the animals and send the grey water to the plants.
You might look into "Constructed Wetlands", specifically subsurface horizontal flow wetlands.
These are used in numerous communities to process greywater and even, in some cases, black water. By itself it won't eliminate pathogenic bacteria, so I don't think it will make the water clean enough for animals.
But it might be able to help clean it up enough for short term storage
A well designed wetlands can reduce the BOD and COD by 90%, perhaps more. Reducing BOD will remove the 'food' used by the bacteria that cause the stink.
My opinions are barely worth the paper they are written on here, but hopefully they can spark some new ideas, or at least a different train of thought
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