topdad
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grey water recycling

Hello all,
can someone help with my last assignment for my landscape design course. I have to design, describe and submit a maintanance program for a water saving garden, one element is to recycle grey water from a domestic house for future use. I have reserched this and found many pros and cons, I have decided a reed bed with an automated fill and empty system would best suit. Has anyone had experience with building or maintaining one of these systems, if so hints and pitfalls would be much appreiciated.

Thanks topdad

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: grey water recycling

I tried recycling water from the wash. You can only recycle the final rinse. The soap will build up on the soil and eventually form a waterproof scum coating that the plants cannot really live in. It is best to recyle water from your lavatory to flush your toilet and catch the water from the shower in buckets that while you wait for that to come up to temperature. That can be used on the landscape.

People here for years would through the rice washing water on their orchids, and they loved it. You can build an outdoor sink for rinsing only no soap or you would need to put a diverter on it to divert that water to the sewer. Rinse your vegetables in that sink and you could wash your rice there too. That water can be piped through a hose back into the yard. It is not recommended to use gray water in a vegetable garden but ornamentals and grass is fine.

The other thing you could do is build and African key hole garden. It was designed to reuse household water, to water the garden. It even has a built in compost bin. The villages it was intended for had no internal plumbing and the residents have to go down to the river everyday and carry back water for their daily use. the circle is about 6 feet in diameter. Someone figured out that diameter made the best use of the water. If the circle is too large, not enough water gets to to outer part of the circle from the central basket. Wire cages can be used instead of the staves and vines and it will last longer. The original design intended for the garden to be built with materials that were readily available.
https://www.sendacow.org.uk/lessonsfroma ... le-gardens
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykCXfjzfaco

To make your landscape less thirsty
1. Select less thirsty plants
2. Mulch, mulch, mulch. Keeps weeds down and holds water, but it does suck up a lot of water so install a drip irrigation system under the mulch so you water the soil and not the mulch. Mulch will also help build the soil as it decomposes it will feed the soil organisms that enrich the soil in the long run.

3, Then there are the rain barrels. This works best if you live in an area that gets fairly regular rain throughout the year. Otherwise your rainbarrels will be overflowing when you don't need the water and lay empty when you do. One barrel does not go very far so plan to have a few.
https://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/pdfs/rainbarrels.pdf

4. You can put a rain garden in your landscape to collect runnoff from rain and hold it in the rain garden and give it a little more time to be absorbed back into the soil rather than run down the street into the storm drain.
https://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/ ... 96,00.html
https://www.bae.ncsu.edu/topic/raingarden/Building.htm
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: grey water recycling

I've been wanting to do a grey water system for a long time and haven't yet (maybe this is the year?).

My thought about how to do that would be a simple diverter valve in the pipe under the kitchen sink.

Image

so in one position water would flow into the sewer system as normal. In the other position, it would flow into pipes going to the garden. You could have solid pipe until you get to where you want the water and then pipe with holes through the garden or hook the sink line pipe to an irrigation system.

So when you want the water in the garden, turn the diverter valve to garden and let your kitchen sink rinse water go to the garden. This gives you an easy way to dump things like the rice water also, without having to take it outside. In my climate, you don't want to do that in winter.

But since I haven't done it yet, I can't give you anything from experience. It would work well for me, since my kitchen is elevated well above the garden. In flat land, you would have to arrange for some slope.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

topdad
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Re: grey water recycling

Thanks for that, I have done some more research and have found a small and simple unit which has a diverter valve, filter and automatic pump which can be fitted to an irrigation system. This must be the most hassle free way of using grey water for garden irrigation.

topdad
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Re: grey water recycling

Oh by the way this unit is called Aqua 2 use just in case anyone likes the sound of this

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rainbowgardener
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Re: grey water recycling

Terrific! So what would you hook it up to -- sink, shower, etc?
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: grey water recycling

Make sure if you run your grey water out through an irrigation system that it has filters or it can clog the system. Just running a hose out does not do that.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

topdad
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Re: grey water recycling

I would like to irrigate large timber built containers with the Aqua2use system do you think it will cause long term effects with reguards to the detergants and cleaning products building up in the growing media?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: grey water recycling

Note from imafan's response above: You can only recycle the final rinse. The soap will build up on the soil and eventually form a waterproof scum coating that the plants cannot really live in.

You cannot be putting detergent in your soil, certainly not in any significant quantity. Detergent can seriously burn plants, even kill them if there is much of it. That's why I was talking about diverter valve and kitchen sink. The other possibility would be from somewhere in the pipe the shower drains into. For me that's less workable just because the shower is on the second floor and the pipes are less accessibe. You don't need to be using detergent on your skin and most of what goes down the shower drain is just water, so it would be a good source.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

imafan26
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Posts: 11344
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: grey water recycling

That is why I use the water that has some soap in it from the lavatory sink to fill the toilet tank. Toilets do not need potable water.

Recycled water can be used on the landscape, but because of potential pathogens it is not recommended for use in the vegetable garden.

Even rain barrel water collected from the roof was recommended for grass and landscape plants and not so much for the vegetable garden because the asphalt, lead , bird poop, or whatever contaminants from the roofing material or what lands on the roof may not be something you want to put on anything you will eat.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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