constructed wetland

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by marvella, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,910
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2003
    Location:
    tn
    i've been looking into these for quite some time. the state of TN uses them in environmentally sensitive areas. most of my information came from them. as far as i know, a traditional septic tank is required in front of them, in all states.

    has anyone ever used one of them for their home? i'm wondering how they may work on a septic that fails frequently.

    mine isn't exactly failing, it's just so wet here, it should never, ever been approved for a 3 bedroom/ 2 bath home. hits standing water 12" down. there's a wet weather spring uphill across the road, that drains into the drain field, and we get about 80" a year. lucky it's mostly only me here. i'm wondering what would happen if i planted things like cat tails and elephant ears in the drain field. would it really mess up the field lines?
     
  2. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,750
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri
    Try this guy:

    robinsonm@unce.unr.edu

    He is M.L. Robinson is with the cooperative extension and here's his summary:

    "M. L. Robinson is an Associate Professor with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. He has had seventeen years of experience in environmental horticulture. His expertise includes: water conservation; grant procurement, education program development, palms, I.P.M., and applied research. Many of his articles have been accepted for publication in various scientific and trade journals and magazines, including the results of research projects.
    Programs: Desert Bio-scape, Desert Green, Environmentally Friendly Pest Control, Integrated Pest Management & Training (Coming Soon), Master Gardener Prison Training, Wat-er Our Chances"

    Main link:
    http://www.unce.unr.edu/Southern/water.html

    I saw him on a PBS special (I think) about wetlands and made a file where I noted his name.

    Here's another link that might help:
    http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/wetline.html
     

  3. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    144
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia
    There have been some very successful experiments using rushes to process wate water even without a septic tank. Apparantly rushes are very efficient and have even proven capable of filtering heavy metals out of the water. There are a number of studies and articles that I've seen online over the years and a few minutes with Google should turn them up for you.

    -Jack
     
  4. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,910
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2003
    Location:
    tn
    thanks for the interesting links!! have either of you tried it? what did you think? i'm having trouble finding people who have used this in home applications.
     
  5. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,260
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    AR
    there are places in ar. you dont need a septic in front of the lagoon however you have to own more then 10 acres
     
  6. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,898
    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
    Location:
    Zone 9b
    In our wetland neighborhood, the environmentalists come out and do a perk test, then decide whether you can have a traditional septic or need one regulated with a pump (those have to be installed well above the ground level of the foundation). Your area may have its own peculiar requirements. Ask neighbors, local contractors, etc.
     
  7. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,910
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2003
    Location:
    tn
    that makes sense. there is a difference between a lagoon and constructed wet land, basically the wetland is bigger and planted with plants that are known to absorb toxins. i've never gotten as far as talking to the local health department inspector guy. seems he is only here once a week, and that's if someone leaves him a message he actually answers. some of the plants that clean up human waste are cat tails and elepahnt ears. i've read articles where horseradish root was used to clean up hazardous waste. so, on this less than perfect septic system, i may try planting those and see what happens.

    if it was entirely up to me, we'd all use sawdust toilets. LOL!!
     
  8. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,260
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    AR

    you are right about those plants that the ones they recomend most i an still going with a septic system im using the infultrator method works a lot better in hard to drain soil has drainage on all side not just the bottom and the trench only has to be 2 feet deep 14 inches wide and will support more then 10,000 pounds so you can run machines over it
     
  9. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,260
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    AR

    ps no gravel requird
     
  10. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,750
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri
    No the plan was to start one when I moved. I moved 11/03 and have had serious flooding problems ever since and until I can get any type of equipment in here I can't do anything. I hope to have the first phase done when it dries up a little probably in July. You can't even walk in the yard with out sinking and it's a big mess. But I have all my notes so maybe one day.
     
  11. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    510
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Location:
    SE PA, zone 6b
    There is a place in New Mexico--I think it is called Sol Y Sombra or Solumbra that is a Permaculture Experiment or Exhibit. I'm sorry, I am going by memory here. I believe it is owned by Chas. Miller. They process all their waste thru a very elegant natural system. It starts with a septic tank, then goes down to a series of troughs zig-zagging down a hill to ponds. The troughs are about 3-4' deep and maybe as wide. They are filled with small stones into which have been planted rushes. Ends up with a pond that tests under the standards for recreational lakes.

    The city of Arcata, CA, also uses a wetland to process the sewage of the city. They were pioneers of the system, and last I heard, it is quite successful. They have nature walks thru the wetlands.

    I'm sorry for the vague reference above. I'm sure the clipping is buried in a box somewhere. There is also a video somewhere. It was featured on a long ago PBS program. Also had a good video of a rainwater catchment system in Texas. I'll try to find the name and add of the producer of the video. :(
     
  12. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,910
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2003
    Location:
    tn
    thanks!! the way i heard about this in the first place- the state of TN uses them in environmentally sensitive areas. there is one not too far from here, where I 40 crosses from TN into NC, at the TN vistors center. the guy who maintains the system is the father of a friend, and he gave me the grand tour and all the info he could find. he was excited that someone was finally interested in what he was doing.:) they have a uv filter at the discharge end, because the effluent is discharged into the pigeon river, which has been the source of much protest and litigation over water quality. now, if they would just quit building inadequate septic tanks in the 100 year watershed at the same place. :rolleyes:

    i may give my greatly modified version a try, got access to free plants for the taking. i guess the worst that could happen is the roots clog the leach field, and it ain't working all that hot anyway.