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mybeach

What about routing "gray" water to a garden?

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I know that in MA its illegal because of the soap and detergents that are in the water. Not sure about other states, listen to this MA was talking about making outdoor showers illegal because they don't drain into the septic system. Don't think it will ever be enforced though.

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I dont think it would damage the plants, but the chemical products may change the chemistry of the soil over time,I would assume. I know hippies gardeners that do this sort of thing, but I'm pretty sure they use green products, and use little to no soapbiggrin.gif

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View PostIt's okay for lawns and ornamental shrubs and trees, but you need to careful about using gray water on edible plants.

 

Why? Besides the underwear thing above.

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View PostIt's okay for lawns and ornamental shrubs and trees, but you need to careful about using gray water on edible plants.

 

Totally Agree!

Where we stay in Mexico it's typical practice to use the shower water to irrigate garden plants. In the dry season you can see quite obviously who does and who doesn't irrigate this way. In our previous home, the washing machine would run out under a low level deck and out into an area of English Ivy. Man did that Ivy always do well. I wouldn't use it on edible plants, I just don't know what all those scents and other components are. I know that some of the agents that help make a lather in shampoos are carcinogens. Having them in my food couldn't be good.

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Fecal matter and food waste is the least of your worries. These organisms occur naturally, and are also found in animal manure, which is the fertilizer of choice in the "organicly grown" fad. Coliforms are bacteria, and the plants don't absorb them into the fruit. The only way you could ingest them is by eating fruit that comes in direct contact with the graywater. Also, true graywater is not routed through the toilets, so there isn't a whole lot of worry. It involves a lot of plumbing work in your house cwm31.gif .

 

The problem with graywater is that detergents break down the nutrients in the soil. If you use a lot of soap and detergents in your washing machine, dishwasher, or bathtub, that goes into the soil and breaks down the nitrates, phosphates, and other nutrient compounds. So you'd actually have to fertilize more to compensate. Other than that, there's not much harm in using it. They did a bunch of experiments with that when I was in college. I was too drunk to find out the outcomes. beers.gif

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I also wondered about the amount of fecal matter that some people think is coming from a washing machine!!! biggrin.gif Finish the paper work and the problem goes away...cwm27.gif

 

Running a pvc pipe from the washing machine discharge to the garden would be very easy in my house. I could probably rig it so that it would be switchable with a gate valve. We only use a standard amount of detergent, but we're talking about 2 loads of laundry a week, must be about 20 gallons of discharge per load. That's alot of water that could do a lot of good elsewhere.

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Raising a bunch of kids we had to discharge the washing machine into the shrubs around the house. We tried putting it in the system when we first moved in and would have to increase the system in short order because of the sand particle size which would plug up.

Not to much later after we used gray water for our shrubs the Audubon building down in Well fleet did the same thing with there sink water in there new --green--building. They had drip piping to all their bushes.

I don't mind jumping through a hoop as long as everybody does.

What first comes to mind in regard to gray water is the imported shrimp from the far east.

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We tried putting it in the system when we first moved in and would have to increase the system in short order because of the sand particle size which would plug up.

That's the problem with most drywell systems, they will plug up. There are lint filters you can use but they plug up quick. We installed an outdoor shower a few years ago. I wanted it off the deck and I wanted the water going away from the house. We dug a trench 5' deep, 10 feet long, and 3 foot wide. With a hole saw we drilled out three plastic 55 gallon barrels so they would drain. They got piped with over flows to each other, and placed in the trench. We filled around the barrels and the trench with 3/4-1 inch pebbles, they look like beach stones. The shower water and the washing machine water go into the trench over the stones and leaches into the trench that is filled with the barrels and stone. Every once in a while I rake out the lint from the stones and throw it in the garbage. So far so good!

 

Pete

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I did the re-routing of the washing machine thing into a drywell, with provision to divert onto the surface for watering plants (ornamental). Whatever plants get this gray water will definately thrive. I would not use this for watering a garden though.

 

Pete

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