Friday, 16 July 2010

Grey water treatment 1-2-3-4-5

Some of the hardest work we've done will never be seen by anyone. (I'm not complaining - it's just one of those things.) The grey water treatment from the outdoor kitchen sink is not a good example - it was really quite easy.

We took a (free) bath and put a load of washed gravel in it:

We laid some (found) weed matting on top:

Then some washed sand:

Some top soil:

And finally some mulch from the other side of the valley.

More mulch was added, and some plants. But you get the gist. Before it gets here, water drains from the sink, through some straw in a box, and along a pipe under the kitchen paving. (The kitchen paving - that was hard work.)


Jacqui said...

This is exactly the type of gray water solution we have been looking for. Thank you Thank you!!!! We will be moving into our yurt in the fall in the US :)

the devolutionary said...

Hi Jacqui - and welcome - and thanks for the lovely feedback.

We have had some issues with this system you should know about - and we've remade it near our own kitchen and had issues with that, too. As you'll find (or maybe you already know), everything is a work in progress.

The main problem is probably the straw bale grease trap. It's not trapping as much as we'd like it to, and the long pipe down the bath gets clogged and needs emptying more that I'd like (don't glue this pipe, so you can remove it). There's also an issue with the depth of the bath. Although it should be adequate for one sink, if you cook everything from scratch (like we do) and leave the washing up too long (like us), the bath can't cope with quite a large quatity of water very well. You'll have to experiment.

What this post doesn't show is some plants in the bath put there to drink some of the water. If you're going to blog your yurt journey, send me a link - I'd love to see it!

Jacqui said...

Thank you for the info! Sorry for not replying sooner I wasn't aware that you had answered. We are considering building a self contained pump sink that we would wheel outside and empty into this filter. How do you think this would work? We would then be able to carefully monitor the water usage and the filtering process. We are also planning on building a separate one of these for each sink area. I appreciate all of info about the good and the bad. I actually do have a blog but there is not much on it yet since we are not there yet!

The "Powell" Life said...

Hi, we've moved to France and have just been told that we need to replace our fosee. I want to put in a system of composting toilets and greywater treatment. How does your system do with the usually over officious inspectors I love your design and would like to try it IF it passes the fun French regs!!

the devolutionary said...

Hi and welcome to the blog!

And welcome to France. If you've been here for any length of time, the following will not surprise you. If you're very new to France, you might find it a bit baffling.

To answer your question, this system wouldn't stand a chance of passing the French regs. This is an experimental system (that we've tweaked since and still haven't ironed out the problems).

What you have ahead of you may seen strange but is what I understand to be true. First, you will have to install a new fosse and either a sand filter or whatever other system is being touted in your area. That's for the box ticking exercise. When that's in place, you can put in your compost toilet and grey water treatment and use that instead. One benefit is that it will increase the life of your fosse indefinitely.

BUT - it's worth checking with your Mairie to see if town sewerage is coming your way. Many people around here have been told to hold off on installing a new fosse, because mains sewerage is coming and will replace fosses (and also cost a LOT of money). One person I spoke to said they were waiting to find out what the fine is for not replacing their fosse and plan on paying the fine (annually) instead of doing the work if the fine is cheaper (which is likely).

The person who told you the fosse needs replacing fulfilled their requirement to tell you that. Their job is done, What you do with that information (at least, around here) is up to you. When the local French are told to replace their sewerage - or even put some in (the nearby town has toilets that apparently empty straight into the river), they just say: "Non".

I would ask around and see what other people are doing near you. Have a chat with the people at your Services des Eaux. And have a think.

The "Powell" Life said...

Hey, thanks that's really good advice. I often forget that here the locals just ignore the regs and nothing happens. Our pigs are a great example! Loving the idea about the fine! I've got a few ideas to show the marie. We get on with her very well so I'm going to try and go through her first. She is a bit of a fan of anything recycling/green etc so I'm hoping she'll go for it. I've actually found a cheapish grey water system that looks not unlike a koi pond filter

the devolutionary said...

Sounds like my kind of mayor... I'll plunder your blog soon. I've moved this to wordpress, 'cos I didn't get on with the new blogger dashboard. Currently I'm building a new outdoor kitchen and getting ready for the new camping season.

I must get round to posting how we did our fosse, sand filter and pong - with all the pictures and prices. It was €4,500 just for materials - and they've probably gone up - still in shock from paying €5.55 for a dustbin of yellow sand this morning - it was under €3 last year.

The world is changing fast.