Gray Water System




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  1. #1
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    Default Gray Water System

    Just want to share my gray water system that I started in 2015 already.
    And after some trial and error I have settled on this and has been running for a few months already.
    Maybe it can help other to aid their ideas or help deciding on what to do, especially us in the Western Cape.
    And I wont have access to a bore hole, which really forces one to make do with every drop of water you can get.

    My main requirement was to use components that's easy to get and not really specialized for the job.
    And after a lot of searching I decided on basic swimming pool equipment, because they come at a good price for what they can do.

    Being an old house in Eversdal, Durbanville, the sewerage pipes was very old.
    In 2015 I dug out all my old clay and some other odd sewerage pipes.
    Some were almost like a paper/material type pipe.
    And replace all with new 110mm PVC.
    Installed proper rod-eye openings.
    And dug out the many man-hole connections.

    And while doing this I broke down all the gullies.
    Installed a seperate 110mm line halfway around the house just for gray water.
    Disconnect bath rooms from sewerage line, connected it to the gray water line and installed nice pickups at all the gutter down pipes.
    Further more I sunk a 250L underground tank into the ground where the gray water runs into.
    Also installed new 16mm polycop pipes for all the bath rooms.
    This is an old house and was actually fed inside the walls.

    I move/installed a new main water supply 28mm poly cop pipe with a new water manifold and taps for irrigation, house supply and outside taps.
    All municipal water is distributed from this single point now with selective ball valves to shutdown certain areas.
    Will soon install my own water meter at this point as well (already have it) with electronic monitoring and reporting.

    I have 4 pumps and is used as follows:
    1. Basic swimming pool pump and serve as a sump pump. This is connected to a two bag sand filter and sits between the pump and the gray water tank.
    2. Small pump with pressure regulator for toilets
    3. Irrigation pump
    4. House supply pump with pressure tank and pressure regulator.

    And I have three 1000l tanks
    1. Gray water storage
    2. Municipal water buffer with float level, treated rain water can also be pump into this tank
    3. Rain water collection from whole eastern side of the house.

    Gray Water Basic operation:
    When sump tank is full pump water through the sand filter.
    After trial and error I simply use chlorine floater with one tablet in the tank.
    This last about two months.
    The toilet pump draws directly from this tank.
    The irrigation pump can source from any of the three tanks.

    This is still a work in progress and will and still a lot todo.
    But basic operation is 100%.
    At the moment I empty the sump tank every night, of which we do about 150L / day.

    Important things I have learned!
    No food particles into the gray water system.
    I have not installed gullies as such, water must never dam up any where.
    It must run as quickly into the sump as possible.
    The toilet water is actually pretty clean and slightly soapy, but perfect for the use.
    The gray water smell of chlorine, but not too much, so you have to get use to this.
    Initial testing in 2016 showed you cannot store the grey water for more than a day, then it start to stink.
    If tried some online stuff, like biodene, but with the chlorine floater you can store it for days.
    And the chlorine tablets workout silly cheap in the end.
    The down pipe pickups collect a lot of water very quickly and this helps to flush the sand filter, which is great!
    The sand filter selector is a treat, because some times you just want to dump the water on the lawn.

    And some photos of my installation.
    Luckily this is not my day job, but it works for me

    What next:
    1. Working on the automation part now, as can be seen the irrigation valves don't have solenoids in.
    2. The sump tank level detector must still go in.
    3. New sun geysers are going in installed outside just above the pump station.

    Hopefully all will be completed by the end of January 2018!
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    Last edited by serieslr; 6 Days Ago at 09:06 AM.
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Gray Water System

    That Looks Great. Well done
    My uncle also started installing automatic gray water systems in a few houses in Brackenfell

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Gray Water System

    Very nice. If you want to store the water for longer periods of time it is ideal to run it through a sand filter and pool pump and keep it circulating. Standing water gets septic which then causes it to smell. The chlorine will also help like you mentioned.

    You can have a series of grid screens and this will help with food particles as well and run it through a filtration system and only use chlorine as a final disinfectant. The water coming out would be fairly clean and safe to a point should someone accidentally drink it. Although it is still not ideal
    Kenneth

    2016 Ranger XL 2.2 auto double cab 4x4


  5. #4
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    Default Re: Gray Water System

    Quote Originally Posted by Kennyg View Post
    Very nice. If you want to store the water for longer periods of time it is ideal to run it through a sand filter and pool pump and keep it circulating. Standing water gets septic which then causes it to smell. The chlorine will also help like you mentioned.

    You can have a series of grid screens and this will help with food particles as well and run it through a filtration system and only use chlorine as a final disinfectant. The water coming out would be fairly clean and safe to a point should someone accidentally drink it. Although it is still not ideal
    We have split up the kitchen sinks, some are for food particles and other to wash hand vegies etc.
    It just takes some discipline!
    If some particles do get washed down it's not a train smash.
    After trial runs in 2015/2016 I decided that the food born water was so little, that it's a waste to install fancy fat trappers etc.
    So we just dump it.

    The one part I still need to filter, which is significant, is the washing machine.
    The very fine wooly parts will quickly block the sand filter and messes with the pump seals.
    So you need to filter this before it goes down to the sump tank.
    Last edited by serieslr; 6 Days Ago at 10:31 AM.
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  6. #5
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    Default Re: Gray Water System

    Just to add the grey water actually gets flushed/used up almost daily.
    It goes to the toilets and get sprayed to the garden.

    We also mostly used "eco" friendly shampoos and soaps.
    So don't think the grass will mind to much
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  7. #6
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    Default Re: Gray Water System

    Can have a look at small particle grit screens for the washing machine water. You have a very nice setup going there.

    If I may ask, how did this impact your water bill at the end of the day by using your grey water for toilets and irrigation? As those are mostly your biggest users of water daily
    Kenneth

    2016 Ranger XL 2.2 auto double cab 4x4


  8. #7
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    Default Re: Gray Water System

    Quote Originally Posted by Kennyg View Post
    Can have a look at small particle grit screens for the washing machine water. You have a very nice setup going there.

    If I may ask, how did this impact your water bill at the end of the day by using your grey water for toilets and irrigation? As those are mostly your biggest users of water daily
    Ok I'll look for that.

    From next year I want to add extra tanks to store rain water upto 10000L.
    But from some research (i.e. google and phoning) I have learned you can use the rain water as is.
    You need an active carbon filter, which you can do before storage.
    But before it goes to the house pressure pump buffer tank it must pass through a UV light thingy.
    I might plumb it in permanently before the pump anyhow.

    Something like this:
    http://www.maskamwater.com/wp-conten...-Treatment.pdf

    Wrt the water, I actually don't know off hand in liters.
    Our total bill was only R250/month and it dropped, but no significantly.
    But from emptying the tanks my guestimate is we save about 60L / day.
    I think we are not seeing a significant saving, because previously it was the bucket system with water from the shower.
    So now it is just automated and you can flush whenever you like

    But the main culprit still to sort out is the top loader
    This we will soon change to a front loader which uses much less water.
    Last edited by serieslr; 6 Days Ago at 10:02 AM.
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  9. #8
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    Default Re: Gray Water System

    Quote Originally Posted by serieslr View Post
    Ok I'll look for that.

    From next year I want to add extra tanks to store rain water upto 10000L.
    But from some research (i.e. google and phoning) I have learned you can use the rain water as is.
    You need an active carbon filter, which you can do before storage.
    But before it goes to the house pressure pump buffer tank it must pass through a UV light thingy.
    I might plumb it in permanently before the pump anyhow.

    Something like this:
    http://www.maskamwater.com/wp-conten...-Treatment.pdf

    Wrt the water, I actually don't know off hand in liters.
    Our total bill was only R250/month and it dropped, but no significantly.
    But from emptying the tanks my guestimate is we save about 60L / day.
    I think we are not seeing a significant saving, because previously it was the bucket system with water from the shower.
    So now it is just automated and you can flush whenever you like

    But the main culprit still to sort out is the top loader
    This we will soon change to a front loader which uses much less water.
    You actually dont need to do uv, its costly and needs to be maintained. Inline chlorinator and carbon block will be more than enough. The chlorinator can dose the water accordingly without leaving a chlorine taste. Rather look at using a smaller tank and integrating the rain water with the municipal water. This prevents the water from standing too long as it will get a foul taste and smell. I can email you some info on rainwater harvesting if you want?

    Ah I see, but it does help, even if it is just a bit at a time
    Kenneth

    2016 Ranger XL 2.2 auto double cab 4x4


  10. #9
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    Default Re: Gray Water System

    Just a question or two to clear things up for myself pls.
    1. Do you pump from the 250l grey water storage to the sand-filter to one of the 1000l storage tanks and from there to the toilets / garden?
    2. or do you pump directly from grey storage to the toilets and garden ?
    3. Where exactly do you use the chlorine floater - grey water tank ?
    4. What about hair from the showers, does the filter I see in your photos catch that ?
    Neil

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Gray Water System

    Quote Originally Posted by Kennyg View Post
    You actually dont need to do uv, its costly and needs to be maintained. Inline chlorinator and carbon block will be more than enough. The chlorinator can dose the water accordingly without leaving a chlorine taste. Rather look at using a smaller tank and integrating the rain water with the municipal water. This prevents the water from standing too long as it will get a foul taste and smell. I can email you some info on rainwater harvesting if you want?

    Ah I see, but it does help, even if it is just a bit at a time
    Thanks for the comments.
    I don't think we intend to drink the water directly anyhow, so not to worried about the taste

    No, it definitely makes a big difference!
    And no more buckets, LOL.

    Strange thing is since we put the toilets on the pump we only realized that the leak a little bit over time.
    Because the pump kept coming on randomly!
    Otherwise we never would have known.
    Last edited by serieslr; 6 Days Ago at 11:03 AM.
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  12. #11
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    Default Re: Gray Water System

    Quote Originally Posted by neoT View Post
    Just a question or two to clear things up for myself pls.
    1. Do you pump from the 250l grey water storage to the sand-filter to one of the 1000l storage tanks and from there to the toilets / garden?
    2. or do you pump directly from grey storage to the toilets and garden ?
    3. Where exactly do you use the chlorine floater - grey water tank ?
    4. What about hair from the showers, does the filter I see in your photos catch that ?
    1. YES
    2. NO, all grey water get pump through the sand filter before use
    3. YES in the grey tank. One of those that you can put the tablet in yourself. Only one tablet set on the smallest opening.
    4. The sand filter takes care of that. But also I have a normal swimming pool basket where the 110mm goes into the sump tank. This catches any leaves, hairs etc.
    You have to clean this once a week. The 110mm goose neck at the sump tank folds back to get the basket out.
    The rubbers at the joints need Q20 to make them turn easily.
    Last edited by serieslr; 6 Days Ago at 10:30 AM.
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  14. #12
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    Default Re: Gray Water System

    Quote Originally Posted by serieslr View Post

    But the main culprit still to sort out is the top loader
    I built a simple system which stores the water from the rinse cycle for the wash cycle of the next load, effectively halving the amount of water used. It requires a bit of manual intervention (turning two ball valves) but works great. We do washing once a week and save about 250 litres each time.
    Niel
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