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Grey water systems


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By Jane in Vail, AZ on 3/15/2007


I was wondering how expensive it is to include a grey water system for a 2,000 sq ft home. The house is not built yet, just in the planning stages. 

Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Are they hard to maintain? Does anyone have one? 

I am considering doing a grey water system and a rainwater collection system, but rainwater seems a lot easier and cheaper to use.

Thanks for any info.

Jane in Tucson


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 3/15/2007


Welcome to our forum!

Pima County doesn't even require a permit for residential greywater systems that discharge less than 400 gallons a day.

They are easy to plan for; just run a separate greywater tree for your drains. Then there is a diversion valve that has to be accessible. The system can stop right there and never be used as a "greywater" system and dump everything into the septic.

The biggest problem with greywater systems in "warm" weather climates is that the storage life is only a couple of days. There are a variety of ways to deal with storage and usage issues.

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By Charles in Layton, UT on 3/16/2007


Check out this website for design considerations of a greywater system. greywater.net

I am not sure a rainwater collection system would be of much benefit in Vail. Maybe a barrel collection system would be okay. I just wouldn't spend too much on a system where the return is so little. I grew up in Mesa, so I am familiar with the rainfall schedule and amounts. How much annual rainfall does Vail get? Also, consider the amount of dust/dirt that will get into the system and the maintenance of cleaning that out. You can calculate the amount of water you will have by this equation: 

A = (catchment area of building)
R = (inches of rain)
G = (total amount of collected rainwater)

(A)x(R)x(600 gallons)/1000 = (G)

Charles C.


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By Charles in Layton, UT on 3/16/2007


I found this site for barrel rainwater collection: rain-barrel.net
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By Jane in Vail, AZ on 3/16/2007


Thanks for the replies.

When I bought my property, there was an old garage with a metal roof that had gutters with 4" PVC pipe wired to stand upright in two large water tanks. One is 350 gal. and the other is 500 gal. I wish I had more, but water tanks seem to run about $1/gal. That is the only water source on the property until I have a well dug. I maintain it by adding bleach every so often. Since it hasn't rained in a while here, I am running low. I don't think I can make it until the monsoons in July without getting some water delivered. This system could be improved with some filters to keep the lizards and tarantulas from drowning. 

The average rainfall is supposed to be 12". It almost reached that last year, but I don't have the storage capacity to collect it all unfortunately. I think it would be really cool to have a 10,000 gal. underground tank that I could use for watering the garden in between rains.

I can't use the water for my garden now because I use bleach in it but if it were just for plants I would use those mosquito dunks instead. Since I am living in an RV on the property I could separate my greywater from my blackwater and use it to water my landscape but I don't have any landscape to water yet. The cactus don't need it.

I am glad that the greywater system sounds pretty simple. If I have both greywater and rainwater, I will have plenty of water for my landscape. It will probably be more than I need. 

Thanks for the advice and links.

Jane


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By Charles in Layton, UT on 3/16/2007


Wow, 12 inches. I thought it would be less. With a catchment area of 2,500 ft, that would equate to 18,000 gallons per year. I did a bunch of looking around a while back on rainwater collection and found this site a good DIY example. rwh.in  Their use of a UV light sterilizer would help replace the bleaching of the water. That way you could use the water for gardening. I like the idea of using both systems. That would definitely make use of the water to its fullest. Good luck.

Charles C.


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 3/24/2007


That 12" is an "average annual". Unfortunately we are about 70% of "normal" for the past five years. And half our rain comes during an 8-week period in late summer we call monsoon. Its not unusual that there is no measurable rainfall from April till July.

That's why they say it's a "dry heat".

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By Jane in Vail, AZ on 3/24/2007


According to this site:

wrh.noaa.gov/twc/climate/seaz_yearly_rainfall

Vail got almost 15" last year. 

After yesterday's rain my water tanks are full again, yay!

I got some estimates for a well and pump system. 800 feet deep $25,000+! If it weren't for the added property value, I would seriously consider living off of rainwater. With that UV filter and greywater system I think it could work.


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By Terry in Phoenix / Oracle, AZ on 4/26/2007


I recommend you also peruse this site:

 

oasisdesign.net/greywater/law


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By Jon in Ellicott City, MD on 4/27/2007


I'm planning a rainwater collection system for my house, mostly so I can justify watering the landscaping and garden in the event of a summer drought. (We've had water use restrictions in three of the last four summers.)

Here's a place that I'm considering as a source for my tanks.  Their 5,000-gal tanks are under $2,000. I'm not sure what shipping would cost you. I've been looking at 1,000-gal tanks, and the shipping on those is on the order of $150 to my part of the country.

tank-depot.com


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