Home › Forums › SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION, ENERGY and WATER CONSERVATION › Water Conservation › converting septic to grey water
November 26, 2011 at 9:47 am #256130
My place is on septic which obviously needs to be pumped out periodically.
Does anyone know whether it is possible to convert the existing system some how so that the water can be used in the garden (not veg)?
If it is possible I would hope it would be a cheaper option than having the old tank de-commissioned and a new system installed.November 26, 2011 at 11:41 am #514996
Hi anne, :wave:
Sounds like you need a drain field or if you have a drain field it must need some maintenance.
This might help.November 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm #514997
There are methods to retrofit your septic system to grey/black-water treatment.
It will depend on your council regs (they are buggers) and your soil type. (In Vic, I needed to get a Land Capability assessment) to determine what waste water treatment my soil could handle).
Here are a few I googled: (there are others, depending on your state)
:whistle:November 26, 2011 at 12:37 pm #514998
anne post=330820 wrote: …needs to be pumped out periodically….
From our investigations, all EPA approvals seem to include the default requirement of a periodic pumpout!
anne post=330820 wrote: …Does anyone know whether it is possible to convert the existing system some how so that the water can be used in the garden (not veg)? …
A&A Wormfarms can retrofit a worm-based composting system into your existing septic tank and the output of that is worm castings. As it is still nutrient rich and contains pathogens your local council may require further filtration before it can be discharged on your block.November 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm #514999
Thanks Snoopy. I’ve had a read of their site info and bookmarked it. It looks a possibility. I’ll do a bit more investigation as I’m in rural SA.November 26, 2011 at 1:27 pm #515000
Thanks Andre for those links – I’ll chase them up.
I didn’t realise there were so many options out there – checking the septic is not high on my list of priorities I’m afraid 🙂November 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm #515001
anne post=330846 wrote: Thanks Snoopy. I’ve had a read of their site info and bookmarked it. It looks a possibility. I’ll do a bit more investigation as I’m in rural SA.
They cover most of Oz, so I’m sure they’d head over there. They also do the whole thing including the council paperwork, so you could contact them for an all inclusive price….. At least you’ll know (via them doing the homework for you) what you’re likely to be up for to convert…November 26, 2011 at 2:59 pm #515002
Having toed the council line for years I am beginning to think it has become more a legal & financial requirement than a health one.
An old neighbour of mine had the most magnificent home orchard that we all ate fruit from. He had cracker crops year after year and we ate and enjoyed to our hearts content. As it turned out the most productive trees were close to his sepos soak pit. Similar to my current quince tree that seems to have got into the soak pit and grows like the clappers with large & delicious fruit. I have not watered it in years and my only complaint is the big annual pruning job.
My advice to anyone on a rural property is work out where the sepos soak/drainage pit is and see what grows well in that location. You might just like to try deep rooting annuals like Lucerne & Fenugreek to see how they respond in growing deep with out damaging any infrastructure. Any foliage can be used as mulch around the garden without any health concerns and future plantings could include all sorts of green manure & mulch suitable for garden use. All for the cost of a few packs of seeds.
I think its scandalous that we waste so much household water and a complete con that we are required to spend a small fortune on over regulation.November 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm #515003
Talking of complete con….mandatory pumping out of septic tanks has to be right up there.
Think about it…. if only biodegradeable stuff goes in the bacteria will handle that indefinately.
40 years ago I put in a septic tank which was just a 1,000 gallon water tank and I plastered the inside…. simple… never had a smell problem and is still going to this day… never pumped out.
Problems start when ppl dump bleach and chemicals down the drainNovember 26, 2011 at 7:35 pm #515004
as suggested as long as you dont use harsh chemicals your septic should not need pumping unless you have to many people. If you can replumb your system so that only the toilet goes into the septic, all your grey water goes to the garden you should have a good system,
This is a just do it dont ask thing though, dont run it by your councilFebruary 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm #515005
We live in Central Victoria, A&A assured us 4 years ago they would put in our system, (they did) then do the visits as set out in the EPA requirements, (they didn’t).
If you have problems with this company, go to your council’s environmental health officer.
24th June…..I have removed the rest of my post as I notice that Worm Farm Waste System have joined this forum! They have looked at 4 profiles.. so I suppose I am one of them. My system was repaired after much stress, as it was installed incorrectly. We re-wormed it, and it is working fine for the first time in 4 years, as it should and probably will for eternity!February 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm #515006
You poor devils!! What a right royal rip-off! Definitely keep on with Consumer Affairs and the Plumbing Industry Commission every couple of days in necessary. I’d suggest too that you should be re-imbursed at the very least through either CA or PIC.
Thanks for the warning – and I think a lot of others will give that company a wide berth!February 20, 2012 at 6:12 pm #515007
Thanks Anne. The worst thing I think is that we were quite prepared to wait, at least earlier on, as we do live about 3-4 hours from their head offfice in Hastings. Edward is an engineer,and was offering to do some of the work himself if it didn’t impair the warranty. The neighbour had an excavator on hire, and we could have paid for a hour or so. The problem as he was talking to the owner, and about to ask him those questions, the owner interrupted and said “we shouldn’t be talking about this” and hung up…………
June 24th…..I have removed the rest of my post as I notice that Worm Farm Waste System have joined this forum! They have looked at 4 profiles.. so I suppose I am one of them. My system was repaired by A&A after much stress, as it was installed incorrectly. We re-wormed it, and it is working fine for the first time in 4 years, as it should and probably will for eternity!
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