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    • Green hopeful
    • By Green hopeful 22nd Jul 18, 9:09 PM
    • 71Posts
    • 169Thanks
    Green hopeful
    Grey water recycling for the garden during the heatwave
    • #1
    • 22nd Jul 18, 9:09 PM
    Grey water recycling for the garden during the heatwave 22nd Jul 18 at 9:09 PM
    I realise this is pretty basic but thought I would share our experience with reusing greywater.

    So this spring we redesigned our garden putting in raised beds for fruit and vegetables and digging up the lawn for flowerbeds. We had quite a lot of rain in the spring so it all looked good.

    Then come June and July no rain at all. Our 800 litres of water butt water is long gone. Our little plants need water at least for this year and some established plants were looking poorly.

    So I looked at grey water. We have a bath with a shower over so easy to collect the water from the shower. The washing machine discharges from the utility sink about 1 metre above the outside ground level.

    I had a bath water siphon pump (pumping water out the window) which worked fine but the non return valve end snapped off.

    I tried a fuel siphon pump which you can buy for not much money on the Internet plus some clear pipe from a brewing shop. It needs a non return valve or it won!!!8217;t pump high enough to get the siphon working. That worked a treat for the first couple of baths full but it was pretty slow and started sucking the pump (not sure why, too much pressure or debris in the non return valve).

    In the end the best siphon was an ordinary garden hose with an old fashioned tap attachment like we used to use for the kitchen tap. Run the cold tap through it for a few seconds and then place it under the water. You can feel the flow if you put your hand near it. It empties the bath in 5 mins. Needs a bit of adjusting to get the last of the water out. It!!!8217;s worth keeping a jug of water to wash out the bath once it!!!8217;s empty.

    I drained it into an empty rainwater butt about 30cm off the ground on a stand. I then looked at gravity distribution round the garden. normal seep and soaker hoses don!!!8217;t work because the soap in the grey water clogs the holes. Drip irrigation did work but would be comedy expensive for any size and will clog. So I used a mix of hoses. I drilled 3mm holes in the hoses which allows you to place the water and hopefully won!!!8217;t clog. Sometimes it needs the air draining out the connector hose before the water will flow.

    For the washing machine I just disconnected the waste pipe outside and attached a shorter pipe. I placed a black plastic bin this under the pipe as a surge tank. I used an old pair of tights over the pipe as a filter but allowed a balloon of spare tight to make sure it didn!!!8217;t impact on the washing machine pump. I drilled a hole in the bin and put a hose connector through sealed with silicone. I connected another drilled hose onto this connector. The washing machine is connected to the sink waste so any water from the utility goes to the garden but it is minimal effort to connect back to the sewer.

    So at the moment both the shower water and washing water automatically waters the garden. It would be really simple to use a watering can from either tank but that takes a bit more time.

    We use it on the flowers and fruit bushes but not the fruit and vegetables where the water might come into contact with the grey water.

    Perhaps we could share our water saving methods and save reinventing the wheel.
    Last edited by Green hopeful; 24-07-2018 at 9:49 PM.
Page 1
    • buildersdaughter
    • By buildersdaughter 27th Jul 18, 9:02 AM
    • 204 Posts
    • 491 Thanks
    buildersdaughter
    • #2
    • 27th Jul 18, 9:02 AM
    • #2
    • 27th Jul 18, 9:02 AM
    This is terrific, but a word of caution:
    I regularly siphoned off bath water (I had young children) to water the garden in any summer. One day (I think early 90s) during a hosepipe ban I got a knock on the door about the pipe running from my bathroom window. Eagerly I explained, took the inspector in to show him, a helpful neighbour chimed in; but it appears I was still violating the hosepipe ban (I was supposed to chuck buckets out of the window!). The inspector said he wouldn't cite me but to stop using the hosepipe.
    I know this is ridiculous, but would hate anyone to get caught by a less sympathetic inspector.

    I love the washing machine idea and am going to look at it.

    I put a bucket in the shower and use that, also all washing up water (not much, but it all helps!)
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 29th Jul 18, 8:03 PM
    • 8,224 Posts
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    Primrose
    • #3
    • 29th Jul 18, 8:03 PM
    • #3
    • 29th Jul 18, 8:03 PM
    We used a hosepipe siphon during the 1976 drought and it was a right performance. Wouldn't bother again so intead save our bath / shower water for loo flushing.
    Only two of us in the house so we work on the basis If it's yellow let it mellow, if its brown flush it down but keep a separate bucket nearby for damp toilet tissue, otherwise too much tissue in too little waster can easily block the sewer.

    Grey washing water from the kitchen sink is emptied into a large bucket kept outside the kitchen door where the water is used for watering shrubs and flowers. I don,t use it for watering vegetables as I try to garden organically. If you do use water in this way, don,t use bleach, and severely limit the use of washing up liquid and other cleaning fluids to the absolute minimum.

    At the beginning of the planting season I mixed a generous supply of water retention crystals into the compost in all my patio pots to reduce watering. In a different environment I would give my vegs a good soaking and then lawn clippings to mulch the ground to help retain the moisture instead of adding them to the compost heap but alas our lawns are all brown and dead so this is no longer an option.

    I suspect we will have more summers like this going forward. One answer is to install as many water butts as you conveniently have space for.

    We all use water thoughtlessly. If we were all limited to three gallons a day and then the taps automatically were turned off I suspect we would soon learn how to change our habits. A " strip wash" using a submariners two pints of water would be the new norm and clothes would be worn for far longer before being consigned to the wash. As a child born in wartime I recall my mother never had a washing maxhine and it wasn,t unusual for people to wear the same shirts or blouses for a whole week.
    Last edited by Primrose; 29-07-2018 at 8:07 PM.
    • Green hopeful
    • By Green hopeful 1st Aug 18, 11:26 PM
    • 71 Posts
    • 169 Thanks
    Green hopeful
    • #4
    • 1st Aug 18, 11:26 PM
    • #4
    • 1st Aug 18, 11:26 PM
    Fortunately we don!!!8217;t have a hosepipe ban but I will watch out if that changes. We have had some rain so we have the equivalent of 2 and a half water butts of water. Interestingly our lawn is greening up nicely.

    I don!!!8217;t think we should use drinking water for uses when grey water would do but I don!!!8217;t want a complicated process. Especially when rivers and lakes are so low.

    I flushed through the soaker hoses with a bit of tap water tonight and had a moment when it came out like a giant sprinkler. But at least hopefully the hoses will work better for a bit.
    • silverwhistle
    • By silverwhistle 2nd Aug 18, 8:54 AM
    • 2,028 Posts
    • 2,677 Thanks
    silverwhistle
    • #5
    • 2nd Aug 18, 8:54 AM
    • #5
    • 2nd Aug 18, 8:54 AM
    I've a butt and some guttering but waiting for a new shed roof before fitting! I did manage to fill two builders buckets with water in last weekend's rain by first collecting in some large gravel trays underneath the end of the roof and transferring. I'll keep for the pots that need rainwater.

    For the rest I keep a bucket outside my back door and when I run the tap to get fresh in the morning or for the hot to come through for washing that goes in there. Although I have a tap and (broken) extendable hose outside the back door I never use it.

    Living alone the loo gets flushed a lot less than when I have visitors.. :-)
    Last edited by silverwhistle; 02-08-2018 at 8:54 AM. Reason: firefox formatting
    • Listerbelle
    • By Listerbelle 5th Aug 18, 10:28 AM
    • 1,398 Posts
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    Listerbelle
    • #6
    • 5th Aug 18, 10:28 AM
    • #6
    • 5th Aug 18, 10:28 AM
    Not greywater related, but I have several home-made ollas I placed in my raised vegetable bed. They work very well and have reduced the water requirements by approximately 80%.

    This article explains ollas. https://permaculturenews.org/2010/09/16/ollas-unglazed-clay-pots-for-garden-irrigation/

    Summer fun: continuing my Buy Nothing, Kondo-ing quest as we hurtle towards multi-generational financial freedom.
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 5th Aug 18, 12:48 PM
    • 8,224 Posts
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    Primrose
    • #7
    • 5th Aug 18, 12:48 PM
    • #7
    • 5th Aug 18, 12:48 PM
    How interesting. Had never heard of this system despite it apparently having been around for centuries. Am going to read up on it but think the pots would be too bulky underground to work in my relatively small vegetable patch. A tubular system might work but so t suppose one of them has been invented.

    It's amazing the ingenuity people come up with when necessity forces you into it
    Last edited by Primrose; 06-08-2018 at 9:45 AM.
    • Listerbelle
    • By Listerbelle 5th Aug 18, 9:50 PM
    • 1,398 Posts
    • 5,487 Thanks
    Listerbelle
    • #8
    • 5th Aug 18, 9:50 PM
    • #8
    • 5th Aug 18, 9:50 PM
    How interesting. Had never heard of this system despite it apparently having been around for centuries. Am going to read up on it but think the pots would be too bulky underground to work in my relatively small vegetable patch. A tubular system might work but so t suppose one of them has been invented.

    It's amazing the ingenuity people come up with necessity forces you into it
    Originally posted by Primrose
    Yes. I grew up in drought-stricken Australia and never learned about it until I'd be living in California for more than five years. I make my own ollas with two terracotta pots glued together, having first sealed one of the pot's hole.

    Summer fun: continuing my Buy Nothing, Kondo-ing quest as we hurtle towards multi-generational financial freedom.
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 6th Aug 18, 9:50 AM
    • 8,224 Posts
    • 28,653 Thanks
    Primrose
    • #9
    • 6th Aug 18, 9:50 AM
    • #9
    • 6th Aug 18, 9:50 AM
    I imagine with this system, because the sun's heat doesn't penetrate so deeply into the soil that evaporation would be a lot slower. I have been surprised (and shocked) during this heatwave to have done some generous watering and then a few hours later discovered how much of the surface water has completely dried out from the soil.


    That's of course why they tell you to water plants directly at the roots/ For some plants I've been sticking metal poles into the hard ground to make a few "bore holes" into which I can trickle water to ensure that at least some penetrates further down into the soil at root level. Of course the soil crumbles into the holes quickly and fills them in but at least the soil is less compact in those areas and hopefully a little water penetrates more deeply.
    • no1catman
    • By no1catman 6th Aug 18, 2:26 PM
    • 2,694 Posts
    • 2,052 Thanks
    no1catman
    I think the thing with 'grey' water is just like rainwater, is to collect it in water butts, have a diverter attached to the downpipe to channel it to a butt.

    Then whenever you need, open the tap to fill a watering can.
    I used to work for Tesco - now retired - speciality Clubcard
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