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To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

Water recycling
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Scott Hansen    Posted 06-10-2002 at 12:21:40       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We are in the midst of a drought here in Northern Utah. Not much water in the reservoirs, and we are asked to conserve as we water our large lawns. Now, we wouldn't have this problem if we would stop building huge houses and letting contractors build tons of houses 8 ft. apart, but that is a different gripe. Ahem. I was thinking of reusing water from all of my house drains except the toilet, for obvious reasons. The water would be drained into a tank, including rain from a rain barrel, and used to water my SMALL lawn.
Aside from using Clorox in the wash, which I avoid anyway, and bathtub cleaners, of which I do not use the harsh ones anyway, how much harm can hand soap, bath soap, dish soap, laundry soap, do to your lawn? Wouldn't it be pretty diluted? I use dish soap to kill Boxelder bugs, and soap to clean the windows, and it doesn't seem to hurt too much.
I was also thinking of a diversion valve of some sort in the drain system, just in case I have to use harsh stuff. Has anyone heard of this kind of thing?

tomatolord    Posted 06-10-2002 at 18:35:22       [Reply]  [Send Email]
you may want to keep real real quiet about this as well. Most if not all county and city zoning does not allow for graywater usage.

I am not saying dont do it, but if neighbors find out they will probably report you and you will have to go back to your old system.

My dad did this up at his cabin, we ran the shower and clothes washer out into a side yard, through a perforated pipe in gravel, sort of like a 1 line drain field.

But the plumber had to come back after the inspector left to hook it up.

Hal/WA    Posted 06-11-2002 at 14:11:23       [Reply]  [No Email]
I agree. You might get in trouble if the health department or whoever does septic tank inspections finds out about your 'unauthorized experiment". On the other hand I doubt that it would really hurt anything if you did it.

I don't know about using graywater on a lawn. Kids play on lawns and there could be a transfer of bacteria, soap scum or other yuck you don't want back in your house. But watering ornamental trees or other plants should be OK, and it would be lots easier to hide what you are doing. In a semi-desert area, I would consider not having much area in lawn anyway.

If you use a holding tank, I would suggest venting it to your plumbing vent system. I have been around RV graywater tanks, and they smell, at least somewhat. If you plan it right, the vent could also be an overflow to your regular waste system.

I have considered a system without a tank or pump using gravity flow. This system would have valves so that I could divert the graywater to my regular drainage system during the times of year that I normally do not water outside. I would use only the bathroom sinks and bathtubs and the kitchen sink on the upper level in the graywater system and send the dishwasher, clothes washer, water softener and toilets, as well as all of the lower level drainage to the septic system. The water that would be used in the graywater system would really be fairly clean water with not too much soap or other chemicals in it. But is it legal? I doubt it.

Ludwig - Just what you need,    Posted 06-10-2002 at 13:27:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
The humanure handbook. I'll hook on a link.
Some of the stuff this guy says is pretty wierd
and just a bit whacky, but most of it makes a
whole lot of sense. It looks like he has some
science to back him up. Our camp has an
outhouse and I'm going to experiment by
converting it over to humanure. Lots easier to
do it there than in the apartment. No worries if
it goes arry either.
He addresses greywater too. Remember
soap is mostly just grease and alkalides. You
might switch to a biodegradable soap if you
get worried. Simplegreen makes some good
stuff. I'd definately put it in a barrel and let the
ah "gunk" settle down. Scoop the gunk out
periodicly. I dunno what you'd do with it, flush I

Scott Hansen    Posted 06-10-2002 at 13:38:42       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Holy Crap, Batman. I'll see if I can find the book in the library. I would like to know how it works in your camp. About gunk. I was thinking of one of those tanks like in the back of pickups, but I guess a series of barrels would work, also. With the connector pipe up a bit, the first one would collect the solids, wouldn't it? I was trying to think what you could put down a drain that would stay solid enough to screw things up. (I don't have kids)

Ludwig - no library    Posted 06-11-2002 at 06:43:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
Look again at the link, its all there....
I spent about 3 good work days reading that at
one point last fall.
Good work days are days you can read and
not get caught.

DeadCarp    Posted 06-10-2002 at 13:07:47       [Reply]  [No Email]
Don't worry too much about a little soap - the lawn needs an occasional rinsing too, to get rid of the dust buildup & breathe better. I forget the old fella's name but some guy on TV stirred up a "recipe" for his green areas (trees, garden, lawn, everything but pavement) and it contained ammonia, soap, beer and whatall else. Anyway, he sprayed it thru a hose mixer twice a year.

Scott Hansen    Posted 06-10-2002 at 13:14:07       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I see that guy on PBS. I guess he uses soap for the phosphates?

WallSal55    Posted 06-10-2002 at 12:56:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
As a science project, the kids were to water plants in flower pots with soda, tea, soapy water, etc. Umm, you may want to try it yourself. Dead or sick looking plants resulted.

Scott Hansen    Posted 06-10-2002 at 13:19:00       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I guess it depends on the concentration. I was thinking that in the end, it would be pretty diluted.

Hogman    Posted 06-10-2002 at 12:51:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi Scott It's a crying shame that Utah like so many places is being ruined by developers.
In answer to Your question,there is no reason why "grey" water cannot be used for lawn watering so long as it contains no solids that might attract flys or other vermin.
I would not recomend it for garden use however as a caution only. There have been a few cases of Heptitus (sp) traced back to garden vegetables watered with grey water.
A diverter valve would work just fine so long as it is remembered. Two plain valves of proper size would be tha cheapest out to My way of thinking.

When I built My house only stool water goes to the Septic system,Shower,BT and wash basins go to a lagoon and Kitchen lines (We have two,don't everybody?) goes to another lagoon. Sounds crazy mabe but makes sense to Me.

Now if You have one of those cursed infernal garbage disposals and use it, Your on Your own.

Scott Hansen    Posted 06-10-2002 at 13:17:50       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Garbage disposals, no. Compost, yes. Besides, I think those things break too much.

Hogman** WELCOME    Posted 06-10-2002 at 13:35:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
To tha world of tha livin Scott glad Your a member.

Scott Hansen    Posted 06-10-2002 at 13:40:09       [Reply]  [Send Email]
It's a goal.


Sammie    Posted 06-10-2002 at 12:40:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
When I worded at the USDA ag lab we watered our plants/flowers with soapy water to kill the aphids and other insects. They seemed to like it just fine although it did tend to leave spots on some of the leaves, made them look alittle strange for a while. I've read somewhere on the net about using gray water to water the lawn and garden as a way of saving water. It was recommended that you let it stand a bit so any heavy stuff would settle to the bottom and then water from the top of the tank. I thought about doing that too but was told that my septic tank needed the water since I have a low water toilet? Don't know about that. Would appreciate any thoughts

Salmoneye...Um...I got long winded here...    Posted 06-10-2002 at 17:17:03       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I was always told that 'Grey Water' is everything BUT sewage. Till 30 years ago here, most houses that had indoor plumbing had two seperate 'systems' of pipes exiting the house.
The first is for sewage...out and into empty tank either steel or concrete with the inlet in the side of tank about 1 foot from the top...outlet was about 6 inches below the top, so it was 6 inches higher than the inlet. This allowed the solids to be brought into the tank and have a chance to settle out while at the same time gravity forced the fermented liquid out the higher exit pipe and through a system of leech lines downhill from the tank. When this system stops working it is time to have the tank pumped out of solids.
Have never heard of anyone using this liquid for watering anything above ground. Does not mean it could not, or has not been done.

The second sytem was for 'grey water' and was known locally as a 'drywell'. This took sink, washing machine and tub water out of the house and into a hole in the ground that was piled with good size rocks and then filled with gravel. All this did was let the grey water leech into the ground at an acceptable rate so as to not run along the ground...which is what lots of people did before drywells.

This is the water that I collect in our old cistern and let 'mellow' for a month before disposing of.

If you let chlorinated water (as from a washer or swimming pool) sit in an open container, the bleech breaks down and becomes neutral. Same as when you put city water in the fridge to get rid of the smell...

Hope any of this helps...or makes sense LOL


Sammie    Posted 06-10-2002 at 22:06:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yes, it does make sense. This house is 50 years old and has the kitchen sink running into a barrel full of rocks under the driveway. Since the barrell never fulls up, I take it there are holes in the bottom. Never did try pulling the lid on it.

I think what was meant by my needing the grey water is because with a 1.6 gallon water tank on the toilet, it might not be enough to get the solid waste to the tank without the bathroom sink water behind it to wash it down. (gross!!) I could run the washer and bathtub into a recycle system though.

collins fosu    Posted 04-28-2004 at 13:07:34       [Reply]  [Send Email]
i want you to help me to know the compapanys who make electrcal pumps.

Scott Hansen    Posted 06-10-2002 at 12:43:35       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We have sewer here, so I have no experience with septic tanks, so I would be interested in the replies, and any maintenence you do would be appreciated, also.

Sammie    Posted 06-10-2002 at 13:08:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
I haven't done anything with the idea yet. Only lived here since Oct. and had to do some serious remodeling - still am. This was an idea for the future but if I find the site again, I'll post the URL. Would be interested in anyone elses experience with this re: septic tanks

Burrhead    Posted 06-10-2002 at 12:32:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
Soaps are good for grass as they can kill fungus that gets into lawns.

In SE Texas we use whatever bleach and detergent is cheapest at the time to clean the algae off the sides of buildings and it seems to help the grass. It could just be that the grass is getting the water but either way the soap and bleach does'nt hurt the grass at all.

Scott Hansen    Posted 06-10-2002 at 12:38:37       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I kind of expected the soap part, but I'm surprised about the bleach. Thanks for the input!

Salmoneye    Posted 06-10-2002 at 12:32:07       [Reply]  [Send Email]
The 'grey water' from our washing machine goes into an old cistern under part of the house.
It sits there maybe a month and I pump it downhill out behind our sheds.

You should see the weeds grow back there from all the phosphates in that water...

Scott Hansen    Posted 06-10-2002 at 12:40:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I was worried about bleach and such. That's where most of it would come from! Sometimes I dump a little down the sink to unclog, but that would be a minumum. Thanks for answering.

Sammie    Posted 06-10-2002 at 13:14:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
I've always steered away from using bleach with a septic tank. At the lab I used bleach to wash pots and disinfect the lab so I figured it would kill off the bacteria in the septic tank that breaks "stuff" down. I can see where mild bleach could be beneficial for the lawn though as long as it wasn't strong enough to burn it.

Hogman    Posted 06-10-2002 at 13:54:03       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sammie bleach is one of those real terrors when it comes to sewage,slaughter them good little 'ole Microbeun critters by tha billions. Along with used oil,household chemicals of any and all sorts. Where I worked the system was replenished daily and was monitered for population. Overly hot water can do a number on em also. I used to keep an eye out for Oil Companys sneakin in waste water lines. A few funny stories there,nobody dared fess up and watchin tha contortions They'd go thru whilist tha line "which is not Ours,Scouts honor" was bein cut'n capped was worth tha bother.

Scott Hansen    Posted 06-10-2002 at 14:11:07       [Reply]  [Send Email]
How do you replenish them?
Biology 101, which I skipped.

Salmoneye    Posted 06-10-2002 at 16:59:44       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Fleischmans Active Dry Yeast once a month...bout two individual packets.

Just make sure you tell the wife to get more when you use the last or you won't have fresh bread Sunday dinner...

tomatolord    Posted 06-10-2002 at 18:31:11       [Reply]  [Send Email]
yeast in the septic how does it work

yeast is aerobic and your septic tank is anaerobic

So sending yeast down the septic wont work...

besides yeast only works on sugars so unless you are flushing bread down on a regular basis it wont work.

Jerry S    Posted 06-11-2002 at 09:56:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
Actually, yeast will grow aerobically as well as anerobically. They will make the CO2 and alcohol as they do. You are right that a septic system doesn't work off of yeast primarily though. Most of it is bacteria and the best way I have found to keep things perking in the spetic tank is to add Doctor drain or other sewer bacteria.
Regarding chlorine, once chlorine ties up with an organic, it is spent. Problem is, if it ties with a bacteria, it will kill it instantly. A little goes a long ways.
The reason you have to have plenty of water go with the solids from the stool is the bacteria have to have plenty of water available to grow. As the bacteria go along, they make waste products just like we do and thus a population cannot survive in it's own waste. So, the water flow is needed to keep the pH from getting too low and their waste from building up. The waste they make becomes then nutrients for the soil.

Salmoneye    Posted 06-11-2002 at 05:46:25       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Here are two links...

One for yeast:

And one against:

My advice is worth what you paid...


Hogman DONO    Posted 06-10-2002 at 15:00:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
They had a tanker loaded with high concentration of bacteria and traveled all over town pumpin into Manholes. But as ta how They grew Em I surely donot know. Strange, just never gave it a thought.
As a point of useless interest, Los Angles City of and L A County used to lay all sewer lines with a designed 10% leakage,saved a few hundred thousand gallons from goin thru thu the treatment plants.

Burrhead    Posted 06-10-2002 at 14:58:28       [Reply]  [No Email]
you flush a gallon of butter milk down the toilet to get the microbes right.

Hogman*** Jersey or Holsteen?    Posted 06-10-2002 at 15:21:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
Whoee I'd hate ta think of tha "AROMA" a ways down stream. From a purly Sinetifik standpint I ain't sure if'n They'd be tha right kind'a Mikerobe tho.

Burrhead    Posted 06-10-2002 at 18:29:03       [Reply]  [No Email]
naw that's serious Bro Hogman. I use Jersey and Holstein cause that's what kinda cows we got.

If I have to buy some at the sto I gets Land O Pines brand. I think they make it from pygmy goats.

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