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Thorne
07-25-2009, 08:01 PM
I've been using a funky grey water system that takes the washing maching output and runs it out the window, around the corner of the house, and into an old plastic trashcan.

The can is raised up as high as possible, giving me gravity-fed drainage to either front or back yards. Anyone doing anything similar?

If so, do you filter the washing machine water or just run it through the system? It works without filtering in my setup, as the trashcan drains about 2" from the bottom, allowing some settling of lint and hair. Plus I just flush the PVC and hose lines occasionally and it all seems to work.

http://photos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs146.snc1/5410_129690363645_519763645_3131796_3805435_n.jpg


Output in the front yard from 1" PVC into a short hose. Beats paying EBMUD and wasting good water!
http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v5203/79/61/519763645/n519763645_3131810_2783847.jpg

The Bigfella
07-25-2009, 08:12 PM
Chase up Duncan - he's the guru on these sort of things

Paul Pless
07-25-2009, 08:26 PM
I've considered something similar but my elevations in no way assist me.

DougIt only takes a couple of feet, isn't your house on a conventional foundation?

elf
07-25-2009, 08:30 PM
It's illegal where I live.

Thorne
07-25-2009, 08:41 PM
Our washing machine pumps out the water pretty strongly, originally into a standing pipe about 4' from the floor of the utility room, which is another 3' from the ground level in the back yard. Property slopes down just enough to the front yard to allow a 60' run from the trashcan to hose end.

Here's a photo of the machine output hose feeding into the PVC pipe that runs out the window to the storage can. This photo links up with the one above showing the line exiting the same window. And yes, that is a boom crutch holding the hose up == grin.

http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs146.snc1/5410_129708593645_519763645_3132515_439023_n.jpg


Elf -- probably technically illegal here also, but no kids in the neighborhood who might drink from the soapy water draining out of the grey water system, so I'm not worried. Don't use it for veggies, just lawn and flowers.

Pugwash
07-25-2009, 09:05 PM
We feed the cats on top of the washing machine as well.

:)

Cuyahoga Chuck
07-25-2009, 10:34 PM
The one time I was in San Francisco I visted San Simeon. The countryside was all rather brown. A waistress told me they had been having a drought for 4-6 years. Living on the shores of Lake Erie I had never thought of any type of water shortage except if one of our 100 year old watermains blows.
It's become rather fashionable, now, to keep a rain barrel for one's treasured landscaping plants. But the thought of spreading soapy washwater on my lawn and around my 100+ year-old oak trees ain't gonna happen. My neighbor killed off about 4 of his big trees by being too liberal with ordinary lawn chemicals.

pipefitter
07-25-2009, 11:29 PM
Oak trees love soapy water. At least live oaks do. The one we watered with the wash water was the greenest of them all.

bluedog225
07-25-2009, 11:32 PM
Great idea. How did you manage to make the seal for the hose bib at the bottom of the trash can?

I asked at home depot how I would put a pipe through a think plastic wall and they had no idea.

Bob (oh, THAT Bob)
07-26-2009, 12:25 AM
To do this, you should be using environmentally friendly detergent, that is the key. The soil on your clothes, and the lint, do no harm at all.

I will definitely do this if I get a house.

Love the new horizontal-axis (high efficiency) washers, they use a lot less water and are easier on your clothes, and yet still get clothes clean.

Also good is if you just tumble your clothes in the dryer for 5 minutes to remove wrinkles, then hang them up in a drying area. It saves a lot of energy, and your clothes last longer. (The lint in the dryer screen is your clothes melting away.) Dress shirts come out nice and crisp, like they have just a bit of starch in them.

JimJ
07-26-2009, 02:15 AM
How did you manage to make the seal for the hose bib at the bottom of the trash can?
You could use a through the hull fitting with the hose tail on the outside.
http://www.bla.com.au/images/ProductGroup/P138240.jpg
Jim

Peerie Maa
07-26-2009, 07:12 AM
If you have enough room in your yard, this is a good way to go: http://www.treesinnewcastle.org.au/grey_water_reed_bed_filter_system

Let Nature take the strain.:D:o

Pugwash
07-26-2009, 07:49 AM
Dunno.

We're on a "well & septic" here, anyway.

My biggest problem is trying to stop my wife using bleach and anti-bacterial stuff in the water that ends up in the septic.

But in the "city water" world, plants love grey water. There's no way you're going to hurt them with regular soap & dirt. If you use a ton of Oxy-Kleen, bleach & anti-bacterial dish soap, I'm not so sure.

:)

skuthorp
07-26-2009, 08:02 AM
If you have enough room in your yard, this is a good way to go: http://www.treesinnewcastle.org.au/grey_water_reed_bed_filter_system

Let Nature take the strain.:D:o

We're not in the new house yet but the 'swamp' is coming along already. As did my grandfather we have added gravel and charcoal filter at the head of the system with a recycled SS perforated basket as a 'cartridge' easily removed and cleaned. We have found 5 species of frogs and toads on the block so far and are very careful not to expose them to soap as it effects their sensitive skins.

oakman
07-26-2009, 08:41 AM
It is a good idea to recycle grey water. However it should be remediated by a natural filtration system such as the one described in the link.

The magazine Mother Earth News has had several articles on designing your own system.

Oakman

Thorne
07-26-2009, 11:46 AM
Great idea. How did you manage to make the seal for the hose bib at the bottom of the trash can?

I asked at home depot how I would put a pipe through a think plastic wall and they had no idea.

This is where being a wooden boat builder really comes in handy. I just took the male end off a cheap hose the puppy had chewed, split the soft end of it into 1/2" strips about 4" long, then put it through a hole in the plastic trashcan.

I used PL Premium to glue the split strips to the interior of the can, with weights to hold them flat against the inside wall until it had cured (use Saranwrap between the hose bits and weights). A few strips pulled away a bit, so I dropped screws through the plastic to hold them in place better. Hey Presto! A cheap fitting that lets water out of the trashcan and doesn't leak very much.

It would be better to build a plywood or plastic collar thingie to fit outside the can, glued and screwed to the hose strips to make a better seal.

YMMV of course. Better to use a bottom-drain commercial plastic storage tank but didn't want to pay the $$.

http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs146.snc1/5410_129690573645_519763645_3131797_5518045_n.jpg