One of my favorite topics is water, it’s uses and the ways we can all work to conserve this precious resource. Consider, if you will, how many places on the planet inhabitants spend most of their day walking to the daily ration of water and bringing it home again for use. Here we turn on the tap or hose and think nothing of it. We should.
How many of you are currently using a grey water system?
Is there anyone who does know what grey water is?
I have done a grey water at my home and you can too. You can reuse water in ways you might not have thought possible in the past.
I have total turf reduction and have for many years. If you have been to my garden you would have seen how much mulch I do have almost everywhere. In most places, it is at least 6 to 12″ deep. I do not fancy ‘normal’ types of gardens, as they are too water thirsty.
The price of water is going up. We all know this fact. If you have extensive landscaping, grey water will save you money. Due to my grey water usage, I utilize only 768 gallons or one unit of city water per month. We can all hope for more rain in our Mediterranean climate, which is unlikely given our rainfall history, in Souther California. Another incentive to have a grey water system is the knowledge you are contributing to the preservation or wise use of our dwindling Earth’s resources.
Grey water. What is it? According to the Health and Safety Code, “grey-water” means untreated wastewater that has not been contaminated by any toilet discharge, has not been affected by infectious, contaminated, or unhealthy bodily wastes, and does not present a threat from contamination by unhealthful processing, manufacturing, or operating wastes.’ “Grey-water” includes, but is not limited to, wastewater from bathtubs, showers, bathroom washbasins, clothes washing machines, and laundry tubs, but does not include wastewater from kitchen sinks or dishwashers. Let me repeat this: “Grey-water” includes, but is not limited to, wastewater from bathtubs, showers, bathroom washbasins, clothes washing machines, and laundry tubs, but does not include wastewater from kitchen sinks or dishwashers
Greywater System is one which is designed to collect greywater and transport it out of the structure for distribution in an Irrigation Field. A grey-water system may be as simple as the one in the power point presentation or as sophisticated as you want it to be.
An Irrigation Field can be any size to fit your landscape needs. It can be a small area of trees and shrubs or a small patch of lawn, or an entire garden, whether you grow flowers or vegetables.
Interestingly 90% of the beneficial bacteria, root hairs, and soil macro-fauna are in the top foot of the soil. Percolation in virtually all soils is much higher in this top zone than even two feet down, which is the typical minimum application depth for your grey water system. This extra percolation provides a generous extra margin of error.
I use mulch instead of gravel, because gravel basins do not to form a biomat. In fact, the tilling action of worms and all the other creatures in our soils is enhanced with the use of mulch. The worms here at Vermicoast have never had water other than grey-water used in their bins. The shredded and soaked paper is all soaked in it. This is for at least 24 to 48 hours, wrung out and placed into their bins.
Our state encourages our use of grey water, because it will percolate into the soils and be taken up by the root hairs of plants.
Mulch is organic waste material including but not limited to leaves, pruning’s, straw, pulled weeds and wood chips. Mulch needs be permeable enough to allow rapid infiltration of grey-water.
The Mulch Basin This is a type of irrigation or disposal field filled with mulch or other approved permeable material of sufficient depth, length and width to prevent ponding or standing water or runoff. A mulch basin may include a basin around a tree, a trough along a row of plants or any configuration necessary for irrigation or disposal. However, ideal conditions do not always prevail. Overall, I believe that a reasonable, highly conservative standard for shallow (6?9″) grey-water?fed dispersal would be an acceptance rate twice that for deep mulch leach-fields. These are what I have and use in my gardens.
What I use and have since 1994 is Clothing Washer System.
It is a grey-water system utilizing a single domestic clothes washing machine in a single-family dwelling. It was just in this past year; I started using the shower grey- water.
The grey-water usage for a single family is based on your water bills showing your water use for a month. You will certainly see that you are reaping the benefits of your use of grey water reflected in the reduction of your water bills, as I have.
For a single family household the estimated water use for two people :
Showers, bathtubs and washbasins 25 Gallons per Day
Laundry 15 GPD /person. If required in your city notification should be provided to the Enforcing Agency regarding the proposed location and installation of a grey-water irrigation or disposal system. In Carlsbad, my city, this agency is Code Enforcement. They have never contacted me. If you want to start your own grey-water system, contacting your city to find out what their regulations are for you is a very good thing to do.
The grey-water should be contained on the site where it is generated.
The most enlightening aspect I have learned is that not one person in our state has ever contracted any form of disease from grey water.
Greywater has approximately 1/2700th of the fecal matter that combined sewage has.
Hoses emerge from underground
Hoses from the washer going to grey-water for the worms.
Now is your chance to ask any questions you might have for me about this topic! ~Shel