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Advice on managing Grey Water

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by deMolay, Mar 17, 2019.


  1. deMolay

    deMolay Monkey+

    Looking for advice and those with hands on experience building or maintain grey water systems. We bought some land up in the mountains of Montana, and are hoping to sell out here this year and move onto that land. We have decided to go with a composting toilet, and a grey water system.
    What I have come up with that I am hoping will work for us, and the environment. Is a tank and pumping system which is available for 3-4 hundred dollars which would be probably in the utility room, that would catch all the grey water, and pump it into a tank in the greenhouse, to be used for growing food.
    The beds in the greenhouse would be at different elevations allowing one to drain into the other.
    In the tank in the greenhouse would be a scum/grease drain that would drain this off, oils and grease etc floating on the surface of the tank would drain off to be dewatered by a compost bin of some sort and end up as compost.
    In general theory would this idea work. We would be off grid using solar and small wind power.
    Come on jump in and educate me here. Thanks
     
    Benjamin A. Wood and oldman11 like this.
  2. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    It will work, need a grease trap and a settling basin before the tank, based on the job of cleaning grease traps in KP in the USAF, and you have to select what goes into the grey water. Some of the chemicals used in dish washing, laundry soaps, shampo's, etc are not greenhouse friendly. The chemicals in the soaps that remove grease and fats from your plates and disperse them thru the water may also effect how the plant roots absorb nutrients. I would be willing to use grey water on a garden where it would supplement rain water, but would worry about using them in a greenhouse, but then I have 3 different abundant sources of water and we get 50 some inches of rain a year, so I have a different viewpoint than some one living in a high desert climate.
     
  3. deMolay

    deMolay Monkey+

    So I understand what you are saying. What I had in mind was the grey water all sources would drain to this tank and pump deal. Saniflo SaniSwift 0.3 HP Grey Water Pump-021 - The Home Depot the .3 hp pump would then pump up into the tank in the greenhouse. To another open tank. Inside the tank in the green house I would have about a 4 inch overflo in the center for oil and grease type stuff. My outlet for the planting beds would be below the level of this grease/oil overflo. Are you saying put a grease trap between the sinks and this pumping station? Or between the pumping station and the tank in the green house? Thanks Duane.
     
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    You want to put a grease interceptor ahead of ALL input to the storage tank, kitchen bath, whatever. The rest of the system and hardware doesn't care how you handle the liquids, as long as the grease does not get into your greenhouse. You simply cannot depend on a grease overflow in the tank to keep grease from fouling the system.
     
  5. deMolay

    deMolay Monkey+

    Thank you, I appreciate your help

    Is there in design you can think off that would work well in my application, or just design based on expected flows etc.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2019
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Off hand, I don't remember ever seeing off the shelf small scale private grey water system designs. However, dreaming something up presents no great problem if all the relevant data is known. Use rates counts greatly for sizing tankage, pipes, traps on and on. So far, the concept is running all sources of kitchen, bath, and laundry into a tank via a grease trap, then to a service tank. You need a lot more than that concept to make a design. Check with the local code enforcement officer, he may have some leads.

    Do NOT undersize tankage, or underestimate usage.
     
    Gator 45/70, chelloveck and deMolay like this.
  7. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
  8. deMolay

    deMolay Monkey+

    Yah was thinking of the cold, and because we want to grow food year round am putting the service tank in the greenhouse so it will not freeze, will have a pellet stove in the greenhouse, and will size up the beds to hopefully absorb it all. During the summer for outside garden will have a connection to that tank for outside as well.
     
    Gator 45/70 and oldman11 like this.
  9. deMolay

    deMolay Monkey+

    Since your last comments I went and looked up domestic grease traps. They sell them premade for various flows. I was thing of cobbling something up like you see on you tube, but because it will be inside the house decided against that and will buy an off the shelf one.
     
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  10. deMolay

    deMolay Monkey+

    Thanks Duane, I asked the wife about the soap, as she makes all our soap except for hand soap and shampoo, although she knows how to make it as well. She assures me it will not harm any plants.
     
    Gator 45/70 and oldman11 like this.
  11. BenP

    BenP Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    I would just bury some leach lines if you have the room.
     
    Gator 45/70, oldman11 and deMolay like this.
  12. deMolay

    deMolay Monkey+

    I kind of like this guys ideas, his process. But would have to adapt it for a colder climate.
     
    Gator 45/70 and oldman11 like this.
  13. deMolay

    deMolay Monkey+

    Montana has rules on grey water, pretty much like installing a septic system.
     
    Gator 45/70 and oldman11 like this.
  14. BenP

    BenP Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    If you are trying to do it withing the rules then that is a whole different ballgame, I would get your local inspector to recommend a system. Our local health department has an inspector that regulates the septic systems, I called him and had him come design the system at our new farm but in the end I wished I had just installed it myself and left him out of the process. It was time consuming meeting him out there and I had to pay a guy with a backhoe to come dig tons of test holes. In the end it was a bunch of paperwork and expense for the same result. At my last farm I just installed the system without involving the health department and the headache.
     
    deMolay and Gator 45/70 like this.
  15. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    You guys crack me up with County officials and permits ....I'm not seeing any or asking anyone's permission to do diddly squat!
     
    BenP, oldman11 and deMolay like this.
  16. deMolay

    deMolay Monkey+

    I hear yah. I installed a wood stove at one place I lived years ago. My insurance guy said I had to get the copy of the code from the county office, I said I had installed many before and well understood about setting them well away from any flammable surface. Anyway he insisted I actually go get a copy. I went to the county office and asked for a copy of the code. They charged me for the copy. Then asked if I was installing a wood stove. I said you bet. They said well you will need a permit and that will be 50 Bucks.
    I was fairly rude to them and said you can shove that permit you know where. If you want 50 bucks you will have to come and split my wood and haul my ashes. Otherwise FO. And left. The code was exactly the same as anyone who has more sense than a day old donkey. So no I want nothing to do with those parasites.
     
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