Rainbarrels

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I like the idea of collecting rain water to use for the flower beds. But my question is how does it really work. I mean if it pours all spring, my barrel is only going to hold 50 gallons or whatever. Suppose I have 4 or 5 barrels. Well I have to find a place to put them, set up and such. They can be unsightly and take up space. Don't they warm up and grow algae and stink? You have to keep the skeeters out. But the real question is, all that for what? A couple hundred gallons of water?! If it goes most of July or August or part of Sept w no rain, the water in your barrel is going to run out in a real fast hurry. Then what?

I think draining the gray water out of your clothes washer and your showers would be a steady supply of water all summer. But I am unsure how to go about doing that, and not even sure if it's legal to do that? Would the soaps, harm the plants or animals, birds ect?

Lynnwood, WA(Zone 7a)

I totally see your point Frilly. That has been my thoughts too. I know there is literature out there on how to do this. Personally, I would make sure it is done safely and just do it regardless of laws. From what I have read the soaps do no harm. There is the possibility of introducing e coli and that is the point I would need to know more about-would soil organisms deal with that? What I would really like to redirect is my kitchen disposal. If all my kitchen scraps could be chopped up in the disposal and redirected to my garden that would be great. We would have to be really conscious of everything going down the drain but we should be anyway. I hope someone chimes in here who has done it. It really seems to me to be a worthwhile pursuit for the future.

Santa Rosa, CA(Zone 9a)

Quote from FrillyLily :

I think draining the gray water out of your clothes washer and your showers would be a steady supply of water all summer. But I am unsure how to go about doing that, and not even sure if it's legal to do that? Would the soaps, harm the plants or animals, birds ect?


Most of my grey water (sinks, shower, washing machine) goes directly to the ground. It means that I have to buy products which are going to break down easily, and sometimes those same products are not as good at cleaning, but....it's a trade off that I'm willing to make.

There are very technical ways of doing it right and there are easy peasy ways of doing it that seem to work. As to where it is and where it isn't legal, you would have to check with your county and then decide which rules to follow and which ones you are willing to skirt.

Susan







This message was edited Nov 3, 2010 3:03 PM

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

Well to be honest, I am clean, but I am not a soap person. Mostly because I have allergies and I cannot stand to smell all those stinky perfumes they put in everything. I buy fragrance free if I can. My son has some skin issues and uses natural soaps anyway.


Yes, I worried about introducing bacteria to the soil, but then I guess the sunlight, winter temps, ect would probably keep it in check. Besides that if the bacteria were in your laundry or kitchen, what would it matter if it were in your soil ?

Lynnwood, WA(Zone 7a)

I agree with you completely about bacteria organisms. My feeling is that they are our constant partners in life and there is way too much hype about the dangers of bacteria, motivated by profit. I have read about how the ingredients used in household disinfectants contribute worse threats to our health.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Grey water is encouraged in times of drought. It is hard work to scoop water out of sinks and tubs and carry the buckets of water to the plants needing it most but it works and I never saw plants suffer from it (suffer from no water, yes). I never diverted water from the laundry though but with a large enough bucket to catch the water it can be done too.

Santa Rosa, CA(Zone 9a)

Quote from hcmcdole :
It is hard work to scoop water out of sinks and tubs and carry the buckets of water to the plants needing it most but it works and I never saw plants suffer from it (suffer from no water, yes). I never diverted water from the laundry though but with a large enough bucket to catch the water it can be done too.


Buckets???? No way !!!!
I've diverted drain pipes so that the water from sinks, showers and washing machine don't go through the septic system. They just empty to various places around the property. None of them diverts directly to or near the vegetable garden. The one that diverts from my tenants' washing machine gets a bit cruddy because I have not insisted that they use any particularly organic washing soaps. Earlier this summer I noticed that the ground around the Crinums, which are planted right at the exit from the tenant's washing machine was getting pretty crusty, but I gave it a long deep watering with water directly from the well and everything seemed to sort itself out pretty quickly.

Susan

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

I understand. It's only in dire straits to water outdoor containers with grey water (total watering ban in other words).

Santa Rosa, CA(Zone 9a)

Of course.
That makes sense.
That (total watering ban) doesn't happen to me since I have my own well..
And, since all of my water then seeps back down into the ground, I don't even feel badly about using as much of it as I please....recycling to my heart's content :-))))0

Susan

Lynnwood, WA(Zone 7a)

Susan although I am not on well water I would so love to do what you have done. Could you please describe some details about it. How much work was it to do and what tools and materials did you use?

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

Well I was thinking of routing the plumbing to where the showers and clothes washer drained into a barrel, then in the evening every day, you could use the water with a hose and put it right where you want it. If it over flowed and you didn't get to it, what would be the difference? But say you salvaged 60 gals a day or so? maybe more with 5 of us in the house. Probably use more water than we think...

Santa Rosa, CA(Zone 9a)

Quote from FrillyLily :
Well I was thinking of routing the plumbing to where the showers and clothes washer drained into a barrel, then in the evening every day, you could use the water with a hose and put it right where you want it. If it over flowed and you didn't get to it, what would be the difference? But say you salvaged 60 gals a day or so? maybe more with 5 of us in the house. Probably use more water than we think...


Maybe you could T a line off to the barrel from the current drainage and add a diverter valve at the junction so that if/as/when you have an excess of run off water, you could simply go out and turn the valve back over to the old system and not have to worry about overflow. That would be good too just in case one day you simply had to wash a whole lot of stuff in a heavy duty concentration of bleach or something you really didn't want to get to the garden....

Susan

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

ooo. that is good.
Of course my dh probably already knew that, but then who knows 'who' will be doing the work HUH!

Decatur, GA(Zone 7b)

I found a 3-way diverter valve that allows me to drain my shower water into either the sewer or out to my yard. I do not run it to the vegetable garden. I did not want to check too closely into the local ordinances but there was a mention of the use of grey water in the latest posting by the county for watering restrictions and I took that to be an official indorsment for my water saving efforts. I also added a drain line running from my washing machine to the back yard. I mostly have the hose in the line draining to the sewer but occasionally I hook the hose the the line running to the yard, but only if there is no bleach or fabric softner in the wash load. It is a shame, especially in times of drought, to waste so many gallons of water. I also have the capacity to hold 375 gal of rainwater which also helps.

The diverter valve is a 3 port diverter valve I bought from Oasis designs which provides plumbing supplies for grey water systems.

Valrico, FL

Thanks Back40Bean for leading me to THIS page with lots of info on Grey Water Systems from a man who obviously knows his work.

http://www.oasisdesign.net/greywater/index.htm

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Guys? Ck on the type of sewage system you have- aerobics systems require higher water use than most other systems, you could cause potential saman to an aerobic system diverting water, and it does take watching the types and amounts of soap- since so
E of the basic ingredients in soap is lard and lye, fyi

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I will be using an aerobics system when I build my new house. I didn't realize they needed more water usage. The one here now at the house we are renting seems to put out quite a bit of water. I haven't thought of a good way to use the water though. Just sprays it around all over the yard kind of haphazardly and the wind blows it where ever. I don't know of any way to put the water where you actually want it in a useful way, and then NOT put it there when there is acceptable amount of rain and it isn't needed.
Seems like such a waste. The point of the system is to use the water, but it seems just to use it to keep patches of the lawn green. It really is useless.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

sheshopsalot
thanks for the link, I saved it on my favorites to check out later when I have some free time!

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

iPhone doesn't like my typing an corrects weirdly, aerobic systems do require more water, tho probably safer in areas where septics will affect ground water and runoffs, there are extremely strict maintenance rules on them as well as the chlorine tabs replacements constantly for the water aeration, if the system shuts down it can even cause problems, I don't have any links, but you need to learn the details on those systems- there is a lot of stuff after installing them they don't tell you about that can cause a lot of stress!

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

hah, well maybe I don't want one then. IMO the point of that set up is to be able to use the water on the yard. But like I stated earlier, I haven't thought of a way to use it where I NEED it, so what is the point? Might as well go with something else in that case.
You are supposed to put the bleach tabs in, but I am concerned what that does to the grass or worms/birds. Seems unsafe to me.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Bleach tabs are costly- chlorine is dispersed in the air and evaporates before hitting ground, spraying dissipates the small amounts of chlorine that are used each time. No effect on the ground- but don't lay the sprayers in a lo spot as they'll have no drainage in wet times- in the drought they were barely enuff to damp the grass- like em spraying my tree edges tho

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

well my concern would be that we have 5 people here. In a few years when the kids leave home and it is just me and dh, there will not be nearly as much water going into the system. If we install a system for a 4 bedroom house, and only 2 people are using it, what then will happen I wonder? Seems like there may not be enough water going into it for it to work properly.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Research, however, most kids return home like a flock of geese regularly, chuckl, ESP! if you aren't good at making them hate being at home, my backup is the library books, and Ask.com, and talk to folx you see around you if u get a chance

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

knowing my luck they will return with a vengeance !

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