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  1. #1
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    Grey Water Re-use

    We had a rental house where the laundry water went out into a gutter and the plants around it thrived. With our new house, I plumbed the waste laundry water into a concrete and stone pit on the sunny side of the house. Today we put in a few bird of paradise plants, some ferns, and a broad leaf plant. It seems a good use of water and the soap should decompose faster exposed to the sun. Stand by for reports on either thriving plants or dying plants. Anyone else put their shower, kitchen, or laundry water to use?
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    Thailand Expat Boon Mee's Avatar
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    My grey water runs out to my neighbor's Naa and his crops are doing fine!

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    You sure his crops are getting just grey water?

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    Sure! Much to the amusement of the locals, I originally laid an outlet pipe, taking most of our grey water from the house, out into a garden patch. Later on, I added more piping and it now leads to near a fruit tree. We still hear the occasional jibes from some of the locals, tho' I notice some of the buggers now have got pipes laid out at their houses, too!

    The water from the washing machine (stationed outdoors) gets used to water various areas around the garden.

    The only water we don't reuse, is from the toilet - although that even runs into a nearby concrete septic tank and most of it drains away into the soil (I guess).

    We don't like to waste water - at all. Right? Right!!

    Yr plants oughta thrive !!!!!
    I've learned that pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.

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    I am not an expert in gardening, But I dont think Detergents and chlorine bleach are good for your plans , and if any of these plants are for your consumption, not good for you either.

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    ^ Do you believe that the chemicals in detergents ends up in the plants?

    any links?

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    ^No of course not, the fairies turn them into pretty blue flowers.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy View Post
    ^ Do you believe that the chemicals in detergents ends up in the plants?

    any links?
    As I said " I am no expert Gardener" but it seems to me that contaminated water would not be good for growing food stuff.
    Remember "Gray Water" is a generic term that stands for "what ever goes down your kitchen sink", and what goes down your kitchen sink includes some very nasty chemicals that are contained in General purpose cleaners, pesticides, antibacterial soaps etc. and god knows what people will pour down your sink when you are not watching.,
    also what goes out the washing machine is not only the detergents that might contain harmful chemicals, but all the dirt and contaminants that was removed from clothes, and fabric dyes.
    Laundry detergents contain a large percentage of salts, some as much as 30% , and that cant be good for growing food. long term salt saturation can have adverse results on the productivity of land.
    also some detergent contains Borax, that is toxic to plants.
    http://www.health.act.gov.au/c/healt...1193295029&sid

    If you would read on page 13, and I quote
    "Can I use greywater on my vegetable garden?
    No. Greywater is not recommended, due to concerns with the contamination of
    the vegetables, in particular those that are consumed raw."

    PS I wonder what detergents in a rice field are doing to the frog population? and to the general ecosystem.
    http://www.environment.gov.au/soe/20...ogs/index.html
    Last edited by Buckaroo Banzai; 06-05-2012 at 06:43 AM.
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    Thailand Expat Boon Mee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thailazer View Post
    You sure his crops are getting just grey water?
    Just grey water from me although he (along with every other Chaa Naa) hires boys to spray his field(s) for pests and I'm not too sure those chemicals are good to digest.

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    Yes been doing this for Years in North Oz, the soaps beak down the clay in the soil, [surface tension] there is a Concern in Oz about the Phosphate in the Powder/Liquid but cheaper Products have less Phosphates

    Bleach can destroy the Biological reactions in a Septic Tank, not recommended but must be flushed and diluted.

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    just remembered, Smiley Man in our Village using ''Human Waste'' from the Local Hospital on his Rice , not exactingly Grey water.
    He has to Hire Labor from outside the Village as Locals wont have a thing to do Him.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boon Mee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by thailazer View Post
    You sure his crops are getting just grey water?
    Just grey water from me although he (along with every other Chaa Naa) hires boys to spray his field(s) for pests and I'm not too sure those chemicals are good to digest.
    I can see how the grey water would be good as modern detergents are not that far from fertilizers chemically speaking. As others have said, there may be contaminants but those are hopefully minute quantities. We had some noisy frogs move into our laundry sump. Hopefully they don't have offspring with three eyes.

  13. #13
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    If you have enough soak - i.e stones and sand, then grey water becomes as good as you drink!

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    ^ are you sure about that?

    A slow sand filter may remove most of the bacteria, but that type needs a fairly constant flow

    a gap of just a few hours can lead to a breakdown in the biological layer and then the water would not be potable

    any other type of sand filter will produce water that is good for your plants with most muck removed; this water should be used within a day otherwise it will start producing it's own bacteria unless you sterilise it with bleach (chlorine)
    I have reported your post

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    Quote Originally Posted by mingmong
    Smiley Man in our Village using ''Human Waste'' from the Local Hospital on his Ric
    Most "civilised" countries return the "treated" accumulated solids from the sewer plants to the environment in some way or another - to farmers fields or in pre-packed compost packs to the residential gardener.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mingmong View Post
    Yes been doing this for Years in North Oz, the soaps beak down the clay in the soil, [surface tension] there is a Concern in Oz about the Phosphate in the Powder/Liquid but cheaper Products have less Phosphates
    I thought phosphates are god for plants it is waterways they are not good for as they affect BOD so letting them go into the sewers is bad. Putting them on the land is OK.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Birdseye View Post
    If you have enough soak - i.e stones and sand, then grey water becomes as good as you drink!
    Idiot!

    The detergents in normal washing powder and dish washing liquids will break down quickly, and will not harm your plants or be taken in by the plants.

    The worst thing you can do is to use bleach in this environment as it kills the natural bacteria that break all of this down.

    Just look at China and Korea, they use human shit and anything else they can find to throw on the veggies - just make sure you wash them else you might get E-coli from a Chinamans arse or a Korean Tampon.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by thailazer View Post
    We had a rental house where the laundry water went out into a gutter and the plants around it thrived. With our new house, I plumbed the waste laundry water into a concrete and stone pit on the sunny side of the house. Today we put in a few bird of paradise plants, some ferns, and a broad leaf plant. It seems a good use of water and the soap should decompose faster exposed to the sun. Stand by for reports on either thriving plants or dying plants. Anyone else put their shower, kitchen, or laundry water to use?
    Thought I would update this on the little swamp we put in with great hope. It ended up looking like a cess pool so next week I will dig it a bit deeper and put in a few rings with holes, and then trench an undground drainage field. The water from the laundry always had it looking grey and quite "sewer-like" and not many of the plants did very well. We gave it three months and, well, it didn't look any better. Plants around the ring should work out better and still re-use the grey water.

  19. #19
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    I've just planted some banana and papaya trees round the area where the tanks for sewage and waste water are. They've just went in a couple of weeks ago but they certainly happy to be there - the plan is to use the bananas to make compost for the rest of the garden.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by thailazer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by thailazer View Post
    We had a rental house where the laundry water went out into a gutter and the plants around it thrived. With our new house, I plumbed the waste laundry water into a concrete and stone pit on the sunny side of the house. Today we put in a few bird of paradise plants, some ferns, and a broad leaf plant. It seems a good use of water and the soap should decompose faster exposed to the sun. Stand by for reports on either thriving plants or dying plants. Anyone else put their shower, kitchen, or laundry water to use?
    Thought I would update this on the little swamp we put in with great hope. It ended up looking like a cess pool so next week I will dig it a bit deeper and put in a few rings with holes, and then trench an undground drainage field. The water from the laundry always had it looking grey and quite "sewer-like" and not many of the plants did very well. We gave it three months and, well, it didn't look any better. Plants around the ring should work out better and still re-use the grey water.
    As you built a tank probably no natural system to break down the water. Phospates in laundry detergent should be good for plants. The other way would be some form of gravel bed, similar idea to the plastic balls used in fish tank filters, large surface area for bacteria to get to work.
    Don't forget no bleach in the washing machine. That maybe where the whole thing is going wrong.
    Better to think inside the pub, than outside the box?
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by VocalNeal View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by thailazer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by thailazer View Post
    We had a rental house where the laundry water went out into a gutter and the plants around it thrived. With our new house, I plumbed the waste laundry water into a concrete and stone pit on the sunny side of the house. Today we put in a few bird of paradise plants, some ferns, and a broad leaf plant. It seems a good use of water and the soap should decompose faster exposed to the sun. Stand by for reports on either thriving plants or dying plants. Anyone else put their shower, kitchen, or laundry water to use?
    Thought I would update this on the little swamp we put in with great hope. It ended up looking like a cess pool so next week I will dig it a bit deeper and put in a few rings with holes, and then trench an undground drainage field. The water from the laundry always had it looking grey and quite "sewer-like" and not many of the plants did very well. We gave it three months and, well, it didn't look any better. Plants around the ring should work out better and still re-use the grey water.
    As you built a tank probably no natural system to break down the water. Phospates in laundry detergent should be good for plants. The other way would be some form of gravel bed, similar idea to the plastic balls used in fish tank filters, large surface area for bacteria to get to work.
    Don't forget no bleach in the washing machine. That maybe where the whole thing is going wrong.
    It was a rock wall on one side and then just a big pit with mud and gravel for sides. Big enough that we could do several loads of laundry with no overflow, and it would slowly soak into the ground over several hours. We don't use any bleach so it was just the detergent and water from the machine. I think letting it soak into the soil out of sight is a much better idea.

    Oh.. regarding Banana trees, be aware that their root system will go inside drain pipes and eventually plug them up. A friend just had this problem happen last week and had to dig up the pipes and actually replace them as they were so packed.

  22. #22
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    There is a large soak away system in India where effluent rather than discharge it into a river. They created a whole ecosystem. Not the same but you could create a small one?

  23. #23
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    Did the same thing with our grey water from the washing machine in San Diego. Had a hose hooked up to it and moved it around the back yard and had a nice green lawn all year long.

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    Thinking this might actually be an interesting thread it instead was only good for a laugh. Frankly speaking someone hears about greywater, sticks out a pipe and watches it go wrong as people chime in with the most dubious insights. Folks, we live in the 21st century. There is a goldmine of information that is free on building anything you can imagine. While the world goes forward getting better and more refined you choose to go backwards to a primitive, stone age understanding of a flat world. I can only shake my head that whenever people do construction in Thailand of any sort the best they can do is get inspired to dream up something shoddy just like the locals.

    This will mostly hit deaf ears, but there appears at least one here that might appreciate how to make a greywater wetland that is safe, effective, cheap, easy to build, mosquito proof, and odorless among other benefits:

    Frog Watch > Features > Household greywater wetlands

    It really would be nice if this were the starting point of a discussion like this, not something people dream of, but never achieve.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by canopy View Post
    Thinking this might actually be an interesting thread it instead was only good for a laugh. Frankly speaking someone hears about greywater, sticks out a pipe and watches it go wrong as people chime in with the most dubious insights. Folks, we live in the 21st century. There is a goldmine of information that is free on building anything you can imagine. While the world goes forward getting better and more refined you choose to go backwards to a primitive, stone age understanding of a flat world. I can only shake my head that whenever people do construction in Thailand of any sort the best they can do is get inspired to dream up something shoddy just like the locals.

    This will mostly hit deaf ears, but there appears at least one here that might appreciate how to make a greywater wetland that is safe, effective, cheap, easy to build, mosquito proof, and odorless among other benefits:

    Frog Watch > Features > Household greywater wetlands

    It really would be nice if this were the starting point of a discussion like this, not something people dream of, but never achieve.
    Well, I did do some research and there are limitations with the site. That was one of the reasons to start the thread to see if there were any real experiences out there. It will work out just fine with an underground field for me, but a wee pond with great looking plants IN IT isn't going to work here.

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