The grey water system is now up and running! As was detailed in earlier posts, the house is double plumbed so that water from our bathroom sinks, showers and washing machine all flow out of our grey water sewer pipes for diversion into our grey water system, and the toilet sewage and kitchen sink water (aka “black water”) flows straight to the municipal sewer. Because our grey water exited a bit low to flow directly into our intended wetlands, we needed a sump pump to pump it back up to enter the grey water wetlands… except that those also needed to be constructed before we had anywhere for the water to go, so up until now, all the water (black and grey) has ended up in the municipal sewer.
We had talked about having a grey water wetlands construction party, but this construction ended up being dragged out over such a long time with such uncertain weather, that it really wasn’t practical to try to get a group together (and Catherine was stressed out and quite unpleasant to be around while sorting out the drainage issue). Our apologies to anyone who had their heart set on shoveling gravel, gluing pipe and schlepping liner. Should you want to do this yourself, feel free to contact us and come and see our system and see many many more detail photos.
Since “going live” about a week and a half ago, the wetlands have been handling all our grey water, and with the recent deluge, they have absorbed the rain with no problem at all, as it simply flows on out to the leach field. For those comparing this construction to the original plans, you will notice that the “soil islands” are missing. These are intended to increase the types of plants that can be planted with their roots down in the water to be treated. However, we will not be putting in the stream or the ponds for a while yet, and we decided that we would put in just a few plant types initially, and see how it fared through the winter. We wanted to make sure we didn’t have to do any significant rework of the basic wetlands before adding the other features, (and going to the effort and expense of putting in the stream). After all, there is still so much to do elsewhere in the house!