Waste water treatment

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Re: Waste water treatment

Postby davidg » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:39 pm

offgridQLD wrote:Yes the septic tanks do last a long time.

No annual inspection either only requires a "competent" person to inspect once every 3 years. How much training does it take to not stick you head down a septic system because it's an oxygen deprived atmosphere and to use a stick to dip the tank then compare the "water" level to the sludge level and decide if it is above the half way mark or not. That's the maintenance requirement, I much prefer this compared to the mandated annual inspection that requires some contract for a person to come out and check the air pump is still working do a few other checks if it's not working properly then pay for a new parts as well, having to fork out a minimum of something like $250.00 a year minimum.
offgridQLD wrote:My old man would have had his on the farm for around 37 years. That said I think I remember it being pumped at least once when I was a kid and I'm not sure if it has been done again.

Old technology that works if not severely mistreated I checked what the honey truck out here charges it's not that much :D in fact cheaper than the service charges for sewerage in town, that's hit $100.00 per quarter now, cheeky, plus your stuck for the amount of water you flush down it as well or apporx 65 to 80% of what you use inbound. :roll:
offgridQLD wrote:Though when you get a lot of rain or go silly on the showers (Xmas time lots of guests) I do remember siphoning antics going on from the vent pipe to the paddock out back.

Grey water treatment system for that :lol: connected up straight after C of O obtained, plumbing will be setup to allow for this change.

offgridQLD wrote:The system we have doesn't need to have a pump you can just use gravity.
200mm fall over 150metres is nowhere near enough fall we need to have a "pump well" next to the septic that will use a low watt pump occasionally to move "water" to the leech field, pump well (1kl- 2kl) so not a major issue to control when it's allowed to pump :)

offgridQLD wrote:We have a huge hill just 5 meters from the tank

:) our whole farm apart from very close to the actual creek only has approx 1-1.2 metre variation in topographical height over a kilometre, so it goes down a bit then in the middle it rises back up again then slowly tampers off the to creek and on the other side it very slowly rise up again about metre over 250m maybe.

You drive around the farm you get out the only place you need a handbrake is near the creek everywhere else just get out and leave the vehicle.

Where the house is going the ground only varies by 50mm highest to lowest points pretty flat ground :lol: made it very easy to do the layout, slightly painful for drainage regulations.
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Re: Waste water treatment

Postby offgridQLD » Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:04 pm

Its not a requirement to have ours inspected (initially I thought it was) and it was well under $100 when I did.

When you talk about air pumps I think the kind we have isn't what is typical thought of. Ours is just a tiny little thing that looks like what you would use in a 25lt fish tank and uses about the same amount of electricity.The out feed pump doesn't run very often and when it dose the consumption is minimal.

I don't really know if there is any advantages to the worm system I cant really think of any but hey it came with the house and it works.

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Re: Waste water treatment

Postby Cherokee Solar » Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:22 pm

offgridQLD wrote:When you talk about air pumps I think the kind we have isn't what is typical thought of.


The worm farm here uses a whirly bird - which spins all of the time, regardless of the amount of wind.

As a confession, it was that thing that convinced me that a wind turbine would be practical here. Grrr! :x Oh well:lol:
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Re: Waste water treatment

Postby offgridQLD » Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:29 pm

My tank (worm farm) is completely sealed the air pump just has a tube (i think) just like a fishtank pump that sits up top in a box. I am guessing it just pumps air into the water in the bottom of the tank. The bags are just full of little cut up sections of 2 inch perforated ag drainage pipe with layers of filter cloth between each section of bags . Don't look to hard to rebuild your self if you had a issue.

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Re: Waste water treatment

Postby Solarmark » Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:48 am

Hi davidg,

do you please have any info. on the design/building of a grey water system, as I would like to install one myself at our property?

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Re: Waste water treatment

Postby davidg » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:10 pm

Solarmark wrote:any info. on the design/building of a grey water system, as I would like to install one myself at our property?


There is a site called "http://biorealis.com/biofilter/drumbiofilter/" my system is modeled on this but the tanks are 500litres each. There is an extra tank after these 3 I call a "bubble tank" where the water is kept well aerated (you need about 40litres per minute of air movement for the whole system) ours has hundreds little water snails living in it they keep the algae of the some of the surfaces, once through the tanks it moves to 2 x custom built micro-wet lands using pond-lining dimensions of 800W x 2100L x 600D filled with Scoria red gravel (cheap and light), bees love it during the summer we get hundreds of them landing on the gravel and drinking the water from the wet gravel, I have mix of various aquatic style plants such as IRIS's, lilies and other wetland plantsupto 4m high that will not use their roots to bore through the liners they grow very well indeed. Scoria is porous so it offers a very high quality, very high surface area environment once the water goes through all this, it then gets pumped periodically to 2kl's of storage approx 10-15 litres a time, where we use it for toilets, vegetable patch watering and dogs drink it as well, they've been doing that for years, we always have water out for them but if there anywhere near the micro-wetlands that's where they drink water from so it can't be too bad.

Mine's been running 6+ years now, I've had to replace the volume air aquarium pump once (approx $60) it wore out, the output to tank storage pump (approx $80-$100) once.

My system also has 2" drain/maintenance under it, with number valves to empty or remove from any tank it is also made to be "packed up". A system my size will take about 6-8 weeks to get "running" becreful with any water from it before then. The weather needs to a bit warm to ramp up fairly quickly once running Vic low land type weather does not cause any problems.

Average cost to run is about 1kWh per day, I use solar power (my hybrid system one of the many vampire loads here :lol: ) a bit more cost but runs for free, it needs air 24 by 7 or the aerobic bacteria and snails will die. However be warned there is also a substantial highly active anaerobic bacteria population. Smell pretty much none.

This is a biological treatment system everything in it will die including the plants if you put enough of the following though it poisons, antibacterial soaps, disinfectants, bleach, shampoo and so on. In a nutshell if you cannot ingest it try really hard not to feed it through this system. Very small amounts will not do any serious harm but it's better not to. Now kids that pee in the water or say skid marks etc are not an issue in fact this system will thrive on this no problem, but it is why you must treat the system carefully as their will be pathogens in it.

We use only things that are "earth friendly" or bio-friendly type products. Yet another warning it will contain pathogens as part of normal operations and as such can be a severe health hazard to anyone that does not take proper precautions or is health compromised, it is strictly DIY, anyone doing something like this is doing so completely at their own risk.

I have tasted the stored water it tastes a bit "earthy" to me :lol: if I was to really drink it would be going through 20 then 5 micron filters (for clarity) plus an "silver" activated carbon unit (cleanup other things) then through a UV light unit (sterilize bugs) then to tank storage. The order is important the water must be clear to sterilize/destroy the breeding cycle of "bugs".

BTW, and this only runs when the sun is out, one 170+ watt panel works a treat, though it sounds like an overkill, it runs every day even crappy days. Water in tanks can taste like clear mountain stream water, add a smallish say 1KL to 3KL per hour ELV aquarium type pump & aquarium 9 watt UV light that runs when there is enough sun available does not really need a battery but then does need at least a biggish CAP and at least PWM charge controller and some voltage regulation, plus an ELV fluro driver to suit the UV tube, in place of the STD ballast. After a few days the water will start to change in taste quality it will also become much clearer as well, it does not need any filter normally unless you get a lot of dirt going to the tank in which case the order is tank->pump->filter->UV light->tank. makes for great tasting water. If you have more than one tank pick it up from one tank and feed it to the other tank, ensure the link pipe is big enough to allow the water movement with no problems or use a lower flow pump or use one per tank. :D
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Re: Waste water treatment

Postby Solarmark » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:29 pm

Great, thanks davidg,

It seems like a lot of effort to be able to water the lawn? :o Is all this setup really necessary to be able to use shower/sink/basin grey water on a lawn only?

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Re: Waste water treatment

Postby offgridQLD » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:37 pm

That's what I was thinking to . It sounded like there was more pumping, filtering, airing going on that the simple worm filter tank and sump pump to subsurface lawn watering .Perhaps I am interpreting it wrong.

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Re: Waste water treatment

Postby Cherokee Solar » Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:17 pm

Most systems are unnecessarily complex.

The wormfarm system here has no alarms or pumps. It just good biology. The inspect trap is one of those black compost bins so you can chuck your vege scraps in and just let the worms do their stuff. 100% too easy.

Mind you, if I wasn't on the side of a hill, I'd have to add a pump to remove the worm tea. You can add one anyway if you wanted to spray it around the orchard for example. Good stuff.
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Re: Waste water treatment

Postby offgridQLD » Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:32 pm

I'm on the side of a hill I think the decision was made not to use gravity . One because the hill is so steep and treed it would have been very difficult to lay the subsurface irrigation pipes. So it pumps the worm tea as you call it to the lawn once every so often when the tank gets to a set level. Though if the pump was ever to stuff up there is a valve to just let it drain down the hill via gravity while you fix or replace the pump.

The alarm is just a water level triggered alarm it would only go off if your system was flooded (or about to). Its a warning device and its a good thing not a bad thing. Mine has never gone off with a false alarm.

I like the compost shoot idea .

Another thing that isn't good for them is lots of oil. We are pedantic about cleaning woks and fry pans and so on with paper towels and avoid any oil in the system. Same as the dish from say a roast chicken all oil is put in the bin not washed down the drain.

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