Greywater.

Sep. 28th, 2007 04:56 pm
splodgenoodles: (Default)
[personal profile] splodgenoodles
We just got the letter telling us we'll get a $500 rebate on our water bills on account of putting in our greywater system. Although speaking of which, 10B just had to tinker with it on account of a blockage where there most definitely should not be a blockage.



It's certainly not a maintenance free item. If people are to take these things up, they really do have to be as low maintenance as possible. More low maintenance than this.

I'm now getting into the habit of doing a filter clean every 5 days or so. It's not a difficult job for a healthy person, just a bit on the manky side. It's a job I can do within my current constraints, but wouldn't be able to do if I were much less well. Still, I couldn't water the garden this easily last year.

In case you're wondering why we've gone to all this trouble when we could just use buckets or a diverter - the point of all this filtering is that it enables us to run the greywater through a drip irrigation system. Without filtering it would clog in no time. The point of all this fuss in every other respect is that I'm nowhere near well enough and 10B's too busy to be running out outside every time we do a load of laundry to make sure a diverter pipe's been shifted to where the water is needed. (Don't even ask about bucket watering!)Hell, just running good old garden sprinklers was too much for me a lot of the time.

And on the matter of simpler diversion techniques: there have already been issues in some parts of Western Victoria with *parts* of peoples' gardens' getting uselessly drenched and sodden, as people consientiously diverted their greywater from the sewer without actually following up and ensuring water went where it needed to go. Hence drip irrigation and a greywater system that filters water, stores it and drains unused water automatically every 24 hours. For all my comments on how it could be improved, it is a huge improvement on the alternatives.

I suspect that the entire system will need a proper flushing out occasionally too. I can't quite imagine it going for years without a gunge build up. Be interesting to see how we do that!


What I reckon needs to happen is people need to have a system that can be managed from inside the house (which we could do with this one with a bit of careful thinking if/when we renovate). That's where you need to ahve the controls, and the filters need to be located there too. I guess this means all the laundry and bathroom wastewater would meet at some service point inside, next to the battery bank for our solar power system no doubt. ;)

I think the filtering system should need less frequent cleaning - I'm not sure I've ever lived in a household that could guarantee essential 'weekly' jobs really get done every week. Also, you still need to clean one of these filters each week even if you turn the system off and were directing all the water into the sewer because there's no bypass of the first filter. Once the filter blocks up, the water pours out into the surrounding area. This strikes me as a flaw in the design - it doesn't need filtering if it's going into the sewer so the bypass should be before the first filter.

If you were to swtich the system off for a while you could take the filter out, but then when you switched your system back on you'd have a load of gunge and crap in there that could potentiall really mess things up.


I think I've already mentioned that our architect advised against using greywater for toilet flushing because he's yet to see a system that filters so thoroughly that it won't trash the plumbing in the cistern, or that doesn't end up making the toilet area smell foul. (Oh and he's a seriously green architect FWIW, so I take his advice on this quite seriously). He suggests rainwater for toilet flushing. (We envisage having a rainwater system that does that, but it's much further down the track).

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