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November 26, 2010 at 4:04 pm #468298
Why on earth would you spend 2.5K let alone 6K on a grey water system. I dont mean to offend anybody in the following rant but what is wrong with grey water?
If you use natural soaps, detergents, shampoos, hair conditioners, for example, then the worst your immediate grey water will be is alkaline. Cant people see the glaring hypocrisy of spending large amounts of money on a grey water treatment system that used a large amount of water in its manufacture, transport, storage etc (add the embedded energy cost & pollution) and continues to use large amounts of (hidden) water & energy in its use and servicing.
Buy a couple of buckets, a role of 32 mm or bigger blue line pipe, some connectors, a 4 mm drill bit, add a pinch of time and there is your system. You can add a (short time) collection tank and pump if need be.
If grey water doesn’t kill your grass in wont hurt you, your pets, your neighbors and certainly not your local council bureaucrat.
Society has become so over regulated & distracted by things like grey water fear. Here we are walking around in city air full of all sorts of toxins (heavy metals, asbestos, SO2, pc vapors……), eating chemically treated & possibly GE food, spraying our houses with neuro toxic insect sprays, “cleaning” our furniture with an assortment of chemicals, filling our teeth with mercury amalgum, drinking a mountain of grog, smoking, using CCA treated timbers in our garden & house timbers, coating our skin in cosmetic chemical cocktails etc, etc, etc but we pick on grey water to sooth our bureaucratic neurosis. Bugger me.
The fear of grey water still hangs over us from 18th century England.
Collect some of your potable shower water in a $2 bucket to flush your dunny and use the rest of your grey water on the garden. It just seems silly to me to use more to save less.November 26, 2010 at 5:39 pm #468299
porgey I think the problem with all of us is we hate to jump through hoops which is something you have to do if you want a “council approved” dwelling and it needs to be in place if you ever want to sell a property.
We have pipes diverting greywater and we use buckets to move water around the property we even bucket flush the loo….
We need to do something with our septic system here and I’m interested in reading this topic.November 26, 2010 at 6:15 pm #468300
Judi B, I just think things get off quilter a bit and over regulated. Sending grey water to a far off sewerage treatment plant, or sepo, or spending buckets full of money on an in situ grey water treatment system just doesn’t make sense to me. It defeats the purpose. Grey water does no one any harm.
I am all for proper and necessary regulation but sensible and wise use of our resources should not be over regulated by the authorities. I dont want this thread to be highjacked by my objections but there is just no need to get over technical with grey water.November 27, 2010 at 11:46 pm #468301
I agree totally Porgey, things are over-regulated. I know well enough what to do with grey water, that’s not the problem. It’s the regulations for new houses that are sending me around in circles. I have no choice in the matter, unless I go out bush and I don’t want to do that.
I cannot afford to buy an existing house, but I can afford to buy a 1/4 acre town block in a small country town and put a small domestic shed on it. All houses which go for council approval these days are required to have some approved method of handling waste water.
As I said in my post above, I don’t want to buy a block of land and find I am forced to install something like Aquagen. What I’m hoping is that the systems at the above links are easy enough to maintain on my own, without too many problems. If I can maintain myself, then I won’t have some representative of authority checking up on me every few months (as well as the expense) and who would know whether I disconnected it or not.
As I compose this and refer back to my original post, I realise I didn’t ask the question: what are other people’s experiences with bought grey water systems. The most important thing I need to know is how big do the trenches need to be? Then, what types and brands, how have they performed, and is there anything I need to think of that doesn’t get mentioned in the advertising.
Most people I know already have houses, and have just diverted the water straight into the garden, which of course I would prefer to do, but regulations on new buildings won’t allow me to. I could put in a septic system, then divert the grey water. However a septic system would cost at least $15,000, maybe more. A composting toilet plus grey water system would be around 2/3 that cost.
The few blocks of vacant land for sale here are dead flat, above bedrock, and the water pools in our extreme tropical downpours. I don’t get to find out what kind of system I can put onto it until I’ve spent over $1,000 on a soil test. I don’t want to pay for a soil test on land I have not yet bought, because if I can’t put in the system I want, then I don’t want the land. See the circle. I can see I’m going to have to use my intuition on this one.
Another bugbear with me are flow inhibitors on showers and taps. For many things you still need the same amount of water. A house I built a couple years ago I was wasting over 2.5 buckets of water to balance the hot and cold water in the shower. The water was so slow the gas hot water heater kept thinking the water had been turned off. The pressure also wasn’t heavy enough to get thru my hair and I reckon I ended up in the shower triple or quadruple the time.
Thankfully with the amalgamations of the councils the 60square metre livable lockable space minimum requirement for house size has been ditched, and I can build something as small as 35square metres if I want to. Up here in the tropics you want more verandah than you need space behind walls. This at least will be a saving if I have to go the expensive route with waste water.
This has been a bit of a rant, but I am soooo frustrated by The System.May 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm #468302
Just Water SaversMember
Try talking to your local council about whether they will accept an irrigation area based on evapotranspiration rates, this are is generally 10 times larger than the trenched disposal area, even with non permeable soils.
Keep in mind the trenched method is highly wasteful, only about 30% of the water will be re-used beneficially, the rest goes to groundwater.
Good luck, if you need more advice contact me paul at just water savers com auAugust 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm #468303
After speaking to the soil tester, he’s suggested the least expensive way out is to do a “small septic” which has less trenching and is suitable for a one bedroom dwelling which is what I will build.
At least with septic, if I am so inclined, I can always separate the sink, laundry, and shower water for usage later on. Many treatment “systems” require more maintenance than I can manage on my own. Some require compulsory servicing by authorities and at $300 per visit 3 or 4 times a year when added to your rates, makes renting look like a better option than owning your own home.
The trouble with so many environmentally friendly houses and all that goes with them is that you need far more money than I actually have. So I’m just going to make the best of what I can afford.
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