Draining the washing machine elsewhere? Not into the septic...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by johncotexas, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. johncotexas

    johncotexas Well-Known Member

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    About to take ownership of my first piece of property and it comes with a septic system (among other things). I have a six month old in re-usable diapers with another on the way. Lots of washing going on! I am wanting to re-direct the drain from the washing machine and maybe other gray water drains somewhere other than the septic system. This was actually recommended to me by the septic inspector. We do have very sandy soil so drainage shouldn't be an issue, but it seems that I should come up with a better idea than having it just flow into the yard. Any ideas?? A water garden? Also looking for suggestions for biodegradable soaps. Thanks
     
  2. Joshie

    Joshie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Why? Seems to me, especially with the cloth diapers, it should be drained into the septic system. Why did the inspector make that suggestion? Is there a problem with it? We've had several inspections on wells/septic systems and nobody's made that suggestion.

    Why not use roof run off for watering plants? Do you have a cistern?

    We have a front loading washer and use laundry soap from Sears. We don't use a full scoop. A tub lasts 6 months or more for a family of 3. There are plenty of people on this forum who make their laundry soap.
     

  3. Belfrybat

    Belfrybat Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No, not a water garden without treatment of some kind as grey water turns black when it sits. You might consider a branched drainage system like outlined on this site:

    http://www.oasisdesign.net/greywater/brancheddrain/index.htm
    Here's another good page with more info:
    http://www.oasisdesign.net/greywater/createanoasis/index.htm

    What you want is for the water to go under mulch and not just stand on top of the ground -- otherwise it will go "rancid" and begin to smell. Another option is to pump it through a filter to take out the sediment, then the water can be used for other purposes (flushing toilets, etc.).
     
  4. edcopp

    edcopp Well-Known Member

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    Now everybody knows that a ping of formerly poopy water can contaminate most of the state of Texas. Bad, Bad. Of course the answer would be to spend $15,000 to $30,000 for an elaborate system. This would help the economy a lot, not yours but the economy of others who are depending on your cash.:cowboy:

    Somebody that I know and who will remain nameless once got a metal trash can given to them. The bottom was rusted away. This individual dug a hole and piped the drain water into the old garbage can that was set upright in the hole. The can was 30 inches high and the hole was about the same depth. Water drained into the can in the hole and in a short time just went away. Magic or something. The lid fit on the can just like it always did. Looked like a lid laying there in the flower bed. The flowers around the can did/do very well. Cheap too.:cool:
     
  5. ronbre

    ronbre Brenda Groth Supporter

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    Gaia's garden has some good info on doing just that
     
  6. beaglebiz

    beaglebiz Wasza polska matka

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  7. ronron

    ronron Well-Known Member

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    We have a seprate drainfield for the laundry room and kitchen works great and the grass is always green there..
     
  8. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We also run the laundry and the kitchen, separately, out to the field. Funny, the grass is very green there, but the goats won't touch it.:p
    I wouldn't try to garden on run-off, but I don't see why you couldn't water a tree or flowers with it. I liked it better when I had a flexible drain hose I could move around to different areas.
     
  9. Kmac15

    Kmac15 This is my life

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    I really want this for my house. I would run it to an area that has fruit trees.
     
  10. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Not legal here in MS either, which drives me NUTS. I want my washing machine and kitchen sink to drain elsewhere, not fill up my septic tank!
     
  11. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    Doesn't the liquid portion just run into the leach field anyway?
     
  12. Tilly

    Tilly Well-Known Member

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    Having done this very thing with two in cloth at the same time, I would wait until they were out of diapers. Even with dumping the #2 into the toilet, you are going to have poopy water flowing out of the pipe. Not everything will dump out of those diapers. And it's not just poop, but that first rinse is going to have a lot of ammonia in it. Wait till they are out of diapers, then redirect the washer. The kitchen sink go ahead and redirect, but be very careful not to let leftovers go down the drain. We ran the bath tub water into a trough an watered the flower beds by bucket with that.

    Obviously, we didn't do this in Colorado, where it is not allowed......

    Tilly
     
  13. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Just get a 55 gal or smaller plastic drum for a surge tank. Put a hose bib on the lower wall. Connect a garden hose and move the end around occasionally so you don't get a puddle. Not a real big deal. If your land is too flat for it to drain, get a dirty water sump pump instead of the hose bib and pump the water out of the surge tank onto the lawn.
     
  14. cathyharrell

    cathyharrell Well-Known Member

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    A place we lived years ago had the water from the washing machine and kitchen drain almost out of the yard. I planted cannas there that my friend Norma gave me and they were really tall and beautiful.
     
  15. Navotifarm

    Navotifarm Well-Known Member

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    Real Goods sells a diverter so you can direct your bathtub and sink water to another location other than your septic field. When I lived in a mobile home with septic problems, I simply ran my washer water out to my compost bin - which was a pallet bin so had a lot of material in it.
    I did talk about this with a county inspector. It is supposedly not legal in Virginia but then, if you disguise it such as edcopp suggests, who's to know? Gourds like lots of nutrients and water. Could you plant a big gourd patch and run your washer water to your gourds?
     
  16. Belfrybat

    Belfrybat Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I gather your disparaging remarks were aimed at my suggesting a branched system. I think the total cost of the one I set up at my other property cost all of $35.00, including the hoses. I was able to water 10 trees with the system in this arid country. Well worth the cost of what I spent. I have no idea where you got the $15,000-30,000 price tag from??? The oasis system is geared specifically away from high technology to simple, gravity system, which is why I suggested that website.
    Your suggestion of a 30 gal drum would just dump the water -- why not put it to use?
     
  17. ChristieAcres

    ChristieAcres Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If diapers are properly "rinsed out" and soaked in bleach water (or other compound to clean), then rinsed out again, before washing? I fail to see any reason why that water can't be diverted and used to water trees, shrubs, garden... Diapers should be put through a process before placing in the washer. I used cloth diapers 22 years ago...

    We have an outdoor soaking tub. When it drains, the largest apple tree gets watered. Belfrybat's branched system is a great idea!
     
  18. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    No reason? Well, there's illegal for one. In my county in Texas, NO use of grey water is legal. I have residential rental properties, including three septic systems. I know about this stuff.
     
  19. ChristieAcres

    ChristieAcres Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Really sorry to hear that. Too bad TX is so clueless not to allow the type of system WA STATE does:

    http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/ts/WW/GreywaterFact.PDF

    I am sure glad you posted, Alice, as it is very important we homestead in ways that follow the laws in our State.
     
  20. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    They also will not allow composting toilets to replace standard systems in new construction or remodeling. :grit: