Author Topic: Conserving graywater for fruit trees  (Read 3453 times)

funlul

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Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« on: March 17, 2015, 03:59:01 PM »
California is in drought... and heatwave... My R/O water filter is not generating enough waste water right now to cover the whole garden, and I'm looking at sources of graywater before turning on the water faucet. For example, we easily collect 2 buckets of water in the kitchen daily, if we pay attention.

Does anyone use water from the shower or washing machine? How? Thanks a lot!
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palologrower

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Re: Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2015, 04:53:30 PM »
I have thought about that.  for example, in Japan, people will take water from their furo (baths, not shower) and save it for the next day to use in the laundry. I read someplace where you can use water from the washing machine to water your lawn/garden...but have to be using only a certain type of detergent.

funlul

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Re: Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2015, 05:02:18 PM »
http://www.instructables.com/id/Water-Your-Garden-with-Gray-Laundry-Water/
I imagine washing machine + drip irrigation system would work nicely.

Shower water I am not sure how to collect, I believe some people use it to flush the toilet?
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palologrower

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Re: Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2015, 05:11:07 PM »
pointless for you in a state of drought, but this would be good for the backyard growers...maybe I should look into one for myself:  http://rainwaterhog.com/

funlul

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Re: Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2015, 07:06:26 PM »
The simpler the better when it comes to catching (non-existent) rain water. Car wash places often have barrels to give away.

Edited to add: laundry to landscape graywater system diagram with barbed fittings
http://cleanwatercomponents.com/sites/default/files/systems/CWC-LTL-Barbed.pdf
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 08:49:10 PM by funlul »
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LivingParadise

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Re: Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2015, 09:18:49 PM »
I do this as part of my daily living. I have a white bucket in each sink, and 3 large buckets in the shower (they go in a row in the tub, some in front and some behind me). It's pretty simple. I keep the buckets under the faucets to catch any water. If I am using any chemicals, or washing off any "biohazard" that I would not want to put on my plants for some reason - which are organic - then I push the bucket out of the way so the water can go in the drain, and move it back as soon as the water is suitable again. For the shower, I just step out of the way or slide the buckets when they are full or when say I have shampoo or conditioner I don't want to get in there. I collect a great deal of water, and use it for my plants indoors and out. Sometimes I also wash clothes or other things in the shower while I'm collecting the water - things I only wanted to rinse off and didn't need to be immaculately clean.  If I collect too much water during a time say that there's rain, I dump the excess into my rain barrel, which has organic mosquito dunks in it so I can keep the water there for a while. I have not finished the rain barrel, which hopefully by the end of this summer will have a spigot and hose attachment, so then I can use it to water my plants directly with the force of gravity, without having to lug buckets of water around.

Here is a guide to building a rain barrel from the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority: http://www.fkaa.com/buildingrainbarrel.pdf

When you get used to it, it's really easy, and is a good way to conserve and reuse water and save a little money. I find it also helps to remind me to use as few chemicals in my life as possible - I only use soap on my hands when I need to do more than just rinse them, and I try to use products where possible that are pretty natural so most of the time I can catch the water. It's fairly rare that I let the water go down the drain - but for instance I have not been able to compromise on hair products, and those chemicals are harsh so I let them go down the drain. The thing you have to remember is to remove the water from the house and not let it just sit around, because that can encourage mold if you are in a humid area (but might help humidity levels if you're in a dry area) and gray water especially from rinsing vegetables or whatever can get bacteria in it quickly so you want to pour it into sealable bottles or other containers to save for later, or put it in the treated rain barrel outside, so you don't get anything bad in your air that you will breathe in, nor smells. Here in the Keys it will rain a ton for a few months, and then be exceptionally dry, so it's worth it for me to find ways to save that water safely for a month or so at a time because I will have way too much, and then way too little.

As an aside, I also never throw garbage - I compost or recycle everything I use, and am about to throw my first garbage bag soon in 1.5 years! That also turned out to be easy. Since I don't eat meat, the things that I need to throw away that I can't reuse, recycle, or put in the compost pile are very few, and they are dry things that take up very little space. Learning to compost was such a great thing to keep my house clean, and also to help my plants, because now I never have to leave rotting fruits or vegetables for instance sitting in a can until garbage day - I can freeze them, or immediately dump them on the pile and turn it over, with no smell or pests. I was very intimidated once by all of these ideas, but now that I've gotten used to them I think they're as easy or easier than the way I lived before!

funlul

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Re: Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2015, 10:20:38 PM »
Thank you very much LivingParadise, inspiring!!

From what I read, washing machine to yard (drip irrigation only) would be the easiest system to implement without requiring a permit. Anyone doing it? ;D
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From the sea

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Re: Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2015, 10:26:19 PM »
when I was a kid every one did that here, now its all plumbed in

BMc

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Re: Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2015, 10:39:23 PM »
In the dry season we have baths and I just bucket the water into the garden. only certain plants like it though as even good soaps can make the water pretty salty or alkaline. Jabs and bananas have reacted pretty badly to it in the past, but most of the sapotes, non-fussy eugenias etc dont mind it at all.Just check the contents of your soaps, shampoos and other products before choosing an appropriate place to put them.

gnappi

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Re: Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2015, 10:52:37 PM »
California is in drought... and heatwave... My R/O water filter is not generating enough waste water right now to cover the whole garden, and I'm looking at sources of graywater before turning on the water faucet. For example, we easily collect 2 buckets of water in the kitchen daily, if we pay attention.

Does anyone use water from the shower or washing machine? How? Thanks a lot!

I don't recycle water but I do use Castile soap which is natural and biodegradable and usable for most anything you would use detergents on. It couldn't hurt to try it.
Regards,

   Gary

Steve in Los Osos

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Re: Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2015, 11:36:57 PM »
Quote
From what I read, washing machine to yard (drip irrigation only) would be the easiest system to implement without requiring a permit. Anyone doing it? ;D

I collect laundry water and distribute it by watering can. I use it for ornamentals and for fruit trees. It doesn't go very far (we have a high efficiency machine and there are only two of us so weekly laundry yields about 32 gal) and I use it mainly for supplemental needs, like making sure new plants get off to a good start or if I have something that I know is really thirsty.

No ill effects on plants that I can detect (and I do use bleach runs, although with the HE machines you use so little of anything...local AG prof has been using laundry water for many years, suds, bleach, and rinse, with no ill effects in his orchard.

If you're going to try to use laundry water with drip you will need really good filtering. I have a paint strainer bag on the outflow and clean it each week, but I still clog up the holes in my watering cans eventually.

We do the buckets for the shower as well but use that--and dish rinse water--to flush the toilets.

What a life.

Saltcayman

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Re: Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2015, 08:25:08 AM »
I put in a branched drain gray water system. All my sinks and washing machine drain into a pipe that leaves the house and branches out to 20 tree "basins". Works great and has been trouble free for about 8 years.  As someone noted, using gray water with a drip system does not really work due to clogging.

LivingParadise

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Re: Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2015, 11:12:34 AM »
Do keep in mind that laundry detergents, if you use the mainstream store-bought types, have some of the harshest chemicals that are in the home. When you put that around the plant roots, the plants can take some of those chemicals up into their cells, and thus some of it will be in the fruit. These are NOT chemicals you want to consume. Moreover, these chemicals are extremely harmful to the environment around us, and can kill beneficial insects like bees, harm animals like birds, and when it rains the runoff goes into our drinking water and into our ocean (Florida) and is very harmful to reefs and to fish. Please consider that we have plumbing for a reason, and that graywater filled with sewage or harsh chemicals is not fit for putting into your yard and community. Wonderful if you decide to use natural soaps to lower the production of these chemicals in the first place, and their occurrence in your home. But, if you choose to keep using them, please carefully consider not dumping them into your yard so that they can poison your entire community. The more we add such chemicals to our land, through "cleaning," fertilizer, insecticide, etc, the more it builds up around us. Most of these are known carcinogens, so they harm people every bit as much as they harm other living things. Many chronic illnesses are thought to be responses to high levels of exposure to such chemicals over time, so just consider it.

If you're looking for ratings as to which household products are environmentally friendly, check out this website, the Environmental Working Group: http://www.ewg.org/
They give ratings as to the safety of cleaners, cosmetics, sunscreen, food additives, and a host of other things.  They give ratings to more than 2,000 commonly found products.

Here is their rating list for laundry detergents in particular since we're talking about it:
http://www.ewg.org/guides/categories/9-Laundry

I personally don't have a system to use my laundry water. I don't do frequent loads, and the stupid HE washer my house came with barely uses enough water to get the clothes wet anyway (hence why I wash some things that are not important in the shower because it's just easier). I get far more water from taking a shower than I could with 5 loads of laundry, so it's just not personally worth what it would cost me to put in such a system. My dishwashing is also pretty spaced out.
---
This is slightly off-topic but when I was looking for the links I happened across this article that I thought would be relevant to many here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/weed-whacking-herbicide-p/
It discusses the link between use of Roundup herbicide and cancer, birth defects, and environmental damages - not from the ingredient that is supposed to be the herbicide, but from a supposedly inert ingredient COMBINED with the other ingredients, which had not be previously tested.
"..Argentine scientist and local activists reported a high incidence of birth defects and cancers in people living near crop-spraying areas. Scientists there also linked genetic malformations in amphibians to glysophate. In addition, last year in Sweden, a scientific team found that exposure is a risk factor for people developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma."
It was a pretty interesting article, so I thought I would add it here for those who want to read it.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 11:31:34 AM by LivingParadise »

funlul

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Re: Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2015, 01:08:47 PM »
I put in a branched drain gray water system. All my sinks and washing machine drain into a pipe that leaves the house and branches out to 20 tree "basins". Works great and has been trouble free for about 8 years.  As someone noted, using gray water with a drip system does not really work due to clogging.

thanks, this is probably what I'm after... primarily for washing machine though. would you mind sharing more about the physical setup? What are those basins? any precautions? any valves or switches? much much appreciated!!

Yes we'll watch our laundry detergents very carefully if the graywater ends up in the yard!
Looking for scionwoods: loquat, cherimoya, jujube, chocolate perssimon

Saltcayman

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Re: Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2015, 02:47:30 PM »
Buy this book.
http://oasisdesign.net/greywater/createanoasis/

Easier if your yard slopes away from your house.  Just use regular pic with specific black couplers that split the flow each time it branches.  Important to keep the downward pitch consistent. At the ends the outflows will be buried under mulch in shallow basins around your trees. Pretty simple but a fair amount of work to get installed.

I put in a branched drain gray water system. All my sinks and washing machine drain into a pipe that leaves the house and branches out to 20 tree "basins". Works great and has been trouble free for about 8 years.  As someone noted, using gray water with a drip system does not really work due to clogging.

thanks, this is probably what I'm after... primarily for washing machine though. would you mind sharing more about the physical setup? What are those basins? any precautions? any valves or switches? much much appreciated!!

Yes we'll watch our laundry detergents very carefully if the graywater ends up in the yard!

funlul

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Re: Conserving graywater for fruit trees
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2015, 08:53:26 PM »
Bumping this up hoping for more discussions.
California is in serious drought :'(
Looking for scionwoods: loquat, cherimoya, jujube, chocolate perssimon

 

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