Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Way We Water

It all starts from this grey water tank/pump:

It's from a group call H2O Pure Plus, they do all sorts of treatment systems. This is the 50L version costing about $550 (much cheaper than a water tank).

Basically it's bucket with a pump. The pump activates like a toilet in reverse. There is an overflow into sewerage if anything goes wrong.

I have also attached a diverter to our bath/shower. So if we decide to go all out on the bath salts or need to use Napisan etc we can divert it straight to the sewer.

I've hooked up only our laundry and bath/shower to this system. We use Earth Choice detergents (low sodium and phosphate) and regular shower products. All kitchen water still goes to the sewer, I was worried about the high level of solids and fat (no toilet - that's black water).

From the pump it goes to two valves:

The valve at the bottom, when open, goes through a lint filter and then through a holey pipe that circuits under the mulch in the garden.

The valve at the top, when open, goes to the wetland & pond. (I only open one at a time).

It's not a perfect system, the water ideally should slowly trickle through a wetland for several days before reaching the pond. In this system the water enters at the bottom of the top barrel which then overflows equally into both lower barrels. There are two pipes from the bottom of the lower barrels that lead into the pond.

I used river sand mixed with activated charcoal to fill the barrels. We planted some wetland reeds (can't remember the names...) to help filter the water. It's looking a little messy at the moment, I will need to add some more.

The pond was a $30 bath tub bought form the local demolition guys. It has a layer of activated charcoal and pebbles on the bottom. Don't ask me about the plants. The duck weed however, is a small floating plant that is used in some sewerage treatment plants as a natural filter and doubles as great compost.

To keep the mosquitoes away we have goldfish (I recommend Australian native Blue Eyes however as they are just as hardy, will eat mosquito larvae but not frog eggs). To keep the fish alive and the water clean I installed this little pump. It has a rating of 1200L per hour. Basically I pump water from the pond back through one of the lower wine barrels overnight. This keeps the water aerated and takes advantage of our huge biological filter.

So as an excuse for not having a water tank, we recycle and clean most of our greywater. The pond doubles as a water tank where we can fill our watering-can to wet what the holey pipes miss.

(It might take a little while for the right bacteria to build up in the wetland and pond to have clean non-smelling water)

.... and to say goodbye - Buddy!

1 comment:

Steven said...

the reeds are isolepsis

the sedges are cyprus