Best way to store gray water?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Cygnet, Mar 7, 2005.

  1. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My goal for next year is to get some sort of storage tank put in to store gray water and rain water for the garden. It needs to be buried and I need to store about 5,000 gallons. Soil's pure sand (and verrrry fertile if you can get it wet). I plan to grow household veggies, and can & dry a lot.

    What's the best (cheapest) kind of storage tank? Obviously, doesn't need to be potable, though I'm likely to dump chlorine into it occasionally since this is for a vegetable garden ... I'm just going to let the household water drain into a tank of some sort, and then pump it about 400 feet to the area I want to garden.

    I need a fairly large tank as we can go months without rain, and then get 2-3" in one storm during the monsoon. Like to try to catch that water and put it in a cistern of some sort.

    Leva
     
  2. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

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    Maybe something like a septic system, without the leach lines? You'll have to have a pump, of course.
     

  3. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't know if it is a good idea to try to store the graywater- seems as if you could get a lot of nasty stuff growing in there. I'd stick to a catchment system for the rainwater if you want to store it. The graywater should be routed directly to the garden for immediate use (if you really think that you want your graywater in your vegetable garden).

    For the rainwater you could dig your hole and build a concrete block cistern, or have one poured using cement. Put on a coat of sealer, lid it, and you're good to go.
     
  4. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It seems as though you may be considering black and gray water as gray. Black water is from the toilets, kitchen sink and dishwasher due to all the food and organisms. This is more difficult to handle than gray water, which comes from the bathroom sinks, tubs, and clothes washer.

    You might check with your county sanitation department. It's quite possible they have plans and advice you can use if it is legal in your area.

    Black water volume can be minimal if you are water conscious, and is best run through the septic system.

    If you have a young family, gray water can be significant volume. You might consider separate tanks for your catchment and gray water, just connect them at the outlet. Catchment is usually high enough quality to drink, and you would have an unpolluted tank full.

    5000 gallons may seem large, but you might find 2 would be better. Especially if your garden is large.
     
  5. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I remember a while back, maybe over a year ago, I read about someone who put a tank under the house somehow (maybe they were in a trailer, I don't remember) in Countryside magazine. Anway, there was a type of fish they put in their tank that caught their grey water and their run off from the gutters. It kept the water clean. I'll try to see if I can find that article. There is so much good stuff in that magazine! Sorry I can't remember any more.
     
  6. caberjim

    caberjim Stableboy III

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    It is a bad idea to store grey water for more than 24 hours. Turns it into black water. You can store it temporarily in a 55 gallon drum, but it really should be dispersed ASAP to a mulch bed or orchard. Rainwater is okay to store, but 5000 gallons of greywater becomes a cesspool after a day or two.
     
  7. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    One way to treat grey water is to use a solar tent and basically purify it into something approaching rainwater. Couple of ways. One is to use a thin sand layer and let the grey water soak into it and evaporate to a solar still. Another is attempt to do it directly from a free surface water pond. In any case, you probably have to plan on cleaning the filter media / water surface area every so often.

    Somehow must allow solar heat to evaporate the water and condense in a far purer form. Solves most of the problems of grey water in terms of gallons of liquid. The residues may be a different problem. Need to think surface area required versus the exact situation in terms of weather / gallons / climate.
     
  8. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's all the same bugs, just grey water has far fewer of them......

    I sure would not want to store greywater. Use it directly on the garden, I would avoid the root crop area myself.

    Collecting rainwater in a cistern works well, plastic tank, spetic tank, whatever turns your fancy. It remains much more stable water if in the ground, a surface plastic tank will heat & cool, some sun might filter in & give you algea, etc. Doesn't matter too much for watering, but just a thought depending on your future plans with it.

    --->Paul
     
  9. mtboy

    mtboy Member

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    Check out this link http://www.weblife.org/humanure/ It has some info on grey water systems.

    You do need to be careful, however I have talked with people who have done this, and had it approved by the sanitarian when it is done properly. One thing I know is all the people who do it have a filter of some sort prior to it going into the tank. It is being done so don't give up, it's a good idea, but make sure you have a design that is aprroved and safe. Sorry I can't help more right now. I will see if I can get some info from our county sanitarian, I know people do this here. I will send you any info I can get from him.

    mtboy

    P.S. Just remember: Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt the person doing it.
     
  10. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    what about a used water tanker? or try Coleman's Surplus they have large bladder tanks cheap.
     
  11. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    I did quite a bit of research on this awhile back and everything I read said do not store grey water. It needs to go directly into the ground. Most recommeded not using it on food crops either, other than trees. I also remember reading that filtering systems were usually much more trouble than they were worth.

    Rain water can be store though. But I don't think you'd get 5000 gallons from that.

    This site has a lot of information:
    http://www.oasisdesign.net/greywater/index.htm

    Here's a really good summary from that site of why you don't store greywater:
    Error: Storage of grey water

    Storage rapidly turns grey water into blackwater (see photo, page 4). The word "storage" should immediately sound an alarm, as should anything that includes a tank bigger than 55 gallons (for residential systems). If you doubt this, just fill a bucket with grey water and observe it as it progressively darkens and becomes more fetid. Bacteria multiply to blackwater levels as well, at least the indicator bacteria. In Mexico the trampa de grasa (grease trap) often included in grey water systems is a very popular way to commit this mistake-omitting or bypassing the trampa de grasa would be much better.

    Preferred practice
    24 hours is generally considered the prudent maximum time for storage. Since this is not enough time to, for example, store grey water from a time when irrigation is not needed to one in which it is, I find myself tuning designs to eliminate pooled grey water anywhere it occurs; just send it all straight to the soil. The fewer little anaerobic corners and pockets the better. My latest designs drain COMPLETELY…all the collection plumbing, distribution plumbing, and surge tanks (if any) slope at least 2% across their bottom surfaces.

    Manually distributed grey water can be stored for the day to allow for manual distribution all in one session. Tanks for this purpose should be designed to drain COMPLETELY (not leave a bit of fetid grey water at the bottom to inoculate the next batch) and NOT BE TOO BIG as this invites misuse in the form of letting the water sit too long.

    Exceptions
    Highly treated grey water (for example, after a septic tank and constructed wetland) can supposedly be stored for up to a month before it goes septic, depending on the BOD and temperature.

    Surge tanks, which absorb peak flows (say from a bathtub and washing machine discharging simultaneously) then let them out immediately at a reasonable rate are OK.

    Really cold grey water takes longer than 24 hours to stink, though I'd have to have a really persuasive reason to want to rely on this for the design of a system.

    Grey water can be filtered effectively by settling in a septic tank, but then it will stink to high heaven and must be handled like clarified blackwater from a septic tank. In this case, the longer it sits in the septic tank the better (lower suspended solids and BOD).
     
  12. stonefly71

    stonefly71 Well-Known Member

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    Just get one of the big white plastic tanks farmers use to haul water and fertilizer in they are also green in color. They come in all shapes and sizes. Farmers around here also use them to haul water to fill fokes pools in the summer time. There are plans on the net to hook it up to your gutters and even add a sand type filter if you wanted to use it to drink out if. Grey water I wouldn't waste the time messin with getting something hooked up to use it and if you have ever had a washer quit on you and have smelled the water from it you wouldn't want to use it either . Later Matt
     
  13. papaw

    papaw Well-Known Member

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    Sounds good ...any idea where on the net plans might be?
    thanks...
     
  14. The Quiet Man

    The Quiet Man Member

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    Checkout Rainwater Collection for the Mechanically Challenged by Richard Heinichen 512-894-0861 or rainwatercollection.com
     
  15. mtboy

    mtboy Member

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  16. bill not in oh

    bill not in oh Well-Known Member

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    http://www.plastictanks.ca/catalog.php

    I'd get an above ground tank to set it up for rainwater collection and automatic (drip) watering to the garden. I used gray water when I was in New Mexico, but it was only on the landscape plants, not a produce garden.