THIRSTY FOR WATER

Unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to be an abnormally dry year, no thanks to the developingLa Nina — resulting in ocean temperature drop of the water in the Pacific Ocean. The cold water band in the ocean shunts to the North storms reaching So Cal. So far this rainy season (starting in July) we’ve had only about 5″ of rain, compared to the same period last year of 22″.  I know last year’s deluge was quite extraordinary; but, to realize how much rain fell last year compared to this year is simply amazing.   Normally, our rainfall is about 20″ a year, so we still have a long way to go to make up the difference and the end of the rainy season is slowly approaching.

Speaking of water, if this happens to be a dry year, now more than ever we are going to have to try and recycle and save water.

Greywater

A few weeks ago is when we finally received ourgrey water recycling system from Australia.  Australia seems to be more conscious about conserving and recycling water. TheGreywater Saver system operates purely by gravity which is great since we don’t want to be adding too many sustainable products that require more electricity. That, we believe, would defeat the purpose of being sustainable if these products cause us to use more electricity that we are using now.

This product has yet to be installed and tested here on the homestead. As always, we don’t endorse any of the products that we mention on the site. Instead, as a benefit to you, we are informing you what our choices have been. We simply ask that if you do purchase something from any company that we refer to on this site, please let them know where you heard about it.

How Does It Work?

The recycled greywater is channeled to your garden via irrigation trenches located beneath the surface of your garden beds. It is designed to provide many years of totally cost-free operation and is constructed of quality long-life components which do not require the ongoing purchase of replacement parts.
The system has a serviceable push-pull valve so users may selectively choose if greywater is diverted for garden irrigation or to the sewer or onsite wastewater system when garden irrigation is not required. Even distribution of filtered greywater throughout the piped trench irrigation system is achieved by the use of the Greywater Saver “flow splitter” junction, which splits the filtered greywater into two equal volume streams that in-turn may each be further split.

The system is fitted with a removable hi-grade stainless steel mesh basket filter to remove larger particles such as lint and hair from the greywater before it enters the irrigation system. Regular cleaning of the mesh basket filter by users is required to ensure greywater will continue to flow through the unit and irrigate the garden.

Failure to regularly clean the filter will result in greywater being wasted to the sewer via the Greywater Saver built-in failsafe overflow. The required cleaning frequency will vary from less than weekly to greater than monthly depending on the particular development’s characteristics (that is, number of householders; whether the laundry and/or bathroom are connected; and the type and amount of laundering being done). New users are recommended to initially inspect the unit’s filter twice weekly until a suitable cleaning frequency is established.

The Greywater Saver system is not intended to operate as or to replace a development’s primary wastewater disposal system (that is, the sewer connection or the onsite wastewater system) but is intended only as an ancillary plumbing fitting that provides a means for users to selectively divert their laundry and/or bathroom greywater for garden irrigation when required for irrigation or disposal to the primary wastewater disposal system when irrigation is not required (that is, during the winter or wet season).

The Greywater Saver is also not intended for reuse of kitchen/ dishwasher greywater because those streams generally have very high fat/oil concentrations which will quickly clog soils and the detergents used are generally very strong and not well suited for plants. Likewise, it is not for reuse of toilet water.

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  1. Wildside says:

    Thanks for the link. I’m still puzzling out how we could automate greywater use here, but do want to have the option to nave a switch to send it down the sewer occassionally/seasonally like the diagrams show as we are often TOO wet here in winter.

    Curious, would Jordanne be willing to share what she learned from Carla Emery about feeding the chickens without commercial ration sometime in a journal entry? I know you mentioned that’s how you do it there awhile back… (And thanks, Jordanne for the tip about Azure Standard!)

  2. gerry medland says:

    Hi folks,
    thanx so much for a brilliant post regarding the grey water recycle program.On this side of the pond we too have experienced lower rainfall than average this winter,tending to have very hard frosts,mild days and mist like rainfall.PTF continues to keep us well educated as to the responsibilities of sustainable living,please accept my personal thanx for all your hard work in bringing us so much inspiration!

  3. Joanne Poyourow says:

    I would love to hear more about your discoveries as you use your greywater system. What soap/shampoo/laundry soap do you use to avoid salt buildup issues in your garden soils? If you use homemade, would you share the greywater soap recipes? I have seen very little information about what soaps *are* compatible with water re-use (brands, ingredients, etc), have only seen warnings about how detergents are not compatible. Even those of us who do not yet have greywater systems could help, by supporting with our purchases the companies who make the greywater-compatible brands.