Carmelo Labadie

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since Aug 06, 2021
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Recent posts by Carmelo Labadie

My partner and I are in the process of sorting out the details of a house we're going to build in south-east NSW, Australia. The biggest problem we've found so far is greywater systems - the Council hardly batted an eyelid when we described earthbag walls, but are very reluctant to talk greywater, citing concerns about the risk to public health (you'd think the risk of running out of water would also concern them, but apparently not).

After many lengthy conversations we're good to go with mulch pits for bathroom/laundry, but running out of options for the kitchen that meet our conditions of being nature-friendly, cheap, and able to be built/substantially repaired by us. After a lot of searching I found a manufactured system from Ecoflo - NatureClear GWS10. However, at over $1000 I can't help thinking that an old bathtub carefully filled with layers of mulch and worms would be just as effective for a tenth of the cost, and easier to fix/expand/update over time.

I've found quite a few people in Australia (1, 2, 3) who seem to have done DIY versions of this, but I haven't found anyone who actually got Council approval for it. Sidestepping the council on the quiet isn't an option for us as we need development approval for the rest of the house anyway, plus if no one bothers then their opinion on grey water systems will never change. It has also occurred to us that it's worth staying in their good books as we'll likely want approval for various other things over the next 10-20 years.

So my question is - does anyone know of a similar grey water system anywhere in Australia that has been Council approved? Or, does anyone have tips for the approvals process?
1 month ago
I have a number of good size, mature poppies in my yard in about half a dozen colors. Last year I gathered seed from some of the pods, and have started them in my greenhouse. I had good germination rates, but the stems are very spindly. The plants are about 2" high with large green leaves, and they look quite healthy. However, they are all falling over because the first inch of each stem from the ground on up is almost threadlike. Anybody have an idea what is going on here? (I can provide a picture if necessary.)

2 months ago