Waste Water System

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Waste Water System

Postby colint50 » Tue May 27, 2014 11:18 pm

Hi Folks,
I am presently building a new house and had approval to install a worm type system with a sub-irrigation dispersement area. I am very concerned that the price to supply and install has increased dramatically given the time has past (Owner builder of course)
Looking to see if anyone else has installed a system over recent years that only requires a small footprint for dispersement...either trenches or sub-irrigation, that is reasonably priced, and works well with minimal ongoing costs?
I have also heard that UV treatment can assist the quality issue and this then allows the water to be re-used - the concern here is that I am on a stand-alone solar power system so need to watch power usage...do these system use heaps of power?
I am near a water course so need to have a secondary based treatment or better...and as mentioned above, a small footprint to disperse the waste water.
I would appreciate any useful advice.
Thanks, Col
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Re: Waste Water System

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Wed May 28, 2014 8:00 am

I put in a Clivus Multrum here, also O-Bing, so no water is wasted in the toilet. Grey water goes to an absorption trench. The only electricity used is for the CM vent fan, and that is under 0.1kWh/day. I reckon it's the most efficient system for water and energy use available.
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Re: Waste Water System

Postby Cherokee Solar » Wed May 28, 2014 8:35 am

Hi colint50. I use the A&A worm farm here and it is pretty good. The house plumbing looks exactly like what you'd expect for a house connected to the town sewer. People can't tell the difference and the system produces green grass for the animals to eat and has no smell and requires no power at all as it operates entirely on biological processes and gravity. The downside is that it is expensive.

Having said that, the clivus multrum is a good system too - albeit a bit more hands on. The quality of the compost produced would be very, very good.

Of course you can get cheaper than the worm farm, but there are usually longer term costs involved with cheaper systems. Septic systems are required to be pumped out from time to time and the absorption trenches are generally back filled with aggregate (ie. rocks). These fill up eventually with soil and plant roots. The worm farm is quite expensive because they use reln drains (large plastic half pipes) covered with geo fabric which are then covered over with soil. They last a lot longer comparatively.

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If you wanted to save some cash, I'd go with a composting toilet system such as the clivus multrum. The outcomes are exactly the same.

Cheers
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Re: Waste Water System

Postby bpratt » Wed May 28, 2014 2:31 pm

I've just recently had a A&A Worm farm system installed, which is also gravity fed out to the absorption trenches, although mine are not the reln ones.

We're still a few months away from moving in, so I can't tell you how well the system is working until then.

The long term payback will be the saving in quarterly system checks that all my new neighbours have to do, which I do not, with their electrically powered HSTP systems that consume power for almost 24 hours a day,
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Re: Waste Water System

Postby Cherokee Solar » Wed May 28, 2014 6:02 pm

HI bpratt,

Top work. I used it during construction of the house by feeding in all of my kitchen scraps which I transported onto site in a bucket.

bpratt wrote:although mine are not the reln ones.


Did you get a choice to use aggregate instead? The council health guy demanded the reln drains prior to signing off on the system during the approval process.

bpratt wrote:The long term payback will be the saving in quarterly system checks that all my new neighbours have to do, which I do not, with their electrically powered HSTP systems that consume power for almost 24 hours a day


Exactly spot on. The system uses no power at all, but looks exactly like normal household plumbing.

Yeah, some of the cheaper systems require power at the actual processing unit, plus others can require an alarm - or I've even read about some that require a phone line connected so that the system can log problems with the supplier. Hidden costs...

When people visit here and ask me about the system, I tell them that when a wombat takes a dump in the orchard, nature just deals with it, how can that require an alarm? :lol:
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Re: Waste Water System

Postby bpratt » Wed May 28, 2014 6:34 pm

Cherokee Solar wrote:HI bpratt,

Top work. I used it during construction of the house by feeding in all of my kitchen scraps which I transported onto site in a bucket.

bpratt wrote:although mine are not the reln ones.


Did you get a choice to use aggregate instead? The council health guy demanded the reln drains prior to signing off on the system during the approval process.


I'll have to start doing that. I've been telling the tradies to throw any food scraps in to compost bin on top of it. So far they have been reluctant to do so.

Logan City Council spent around 3 - 4 hours on all of their on-site visits, as it was all new to them, and it wasn't just their guy that inspects and ticks off, but the two heads of plumbing in the council.

They obviously accepted the aggregate drains, where they have what I think was 50mm drilled pipe inside of either 90 or 100mm buried in gravel with geotextile fabric on top of the gravel then back filled in.

Cherokee Solar wrote:When people visit here and ask me about the system, I tell them that when a wombat takes a dump in the orchard, nature just deals with it, how can that require an alarm? :lol:


Now that's an idea... makes it so simple to explain then.

All I have to do now is get the neighbours to accept that Amateur Radio is not going to irradiate them, so they stop with their stupid petition to try to stop me from putting up my legal 10m tower up.
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Re: Waste Water System

Postby colint50 » Wed May 28, 2014 8:47 pm

Hi Gordon and Brendan,
Thank you both so much for responding so quickly...I appreciate your time.
Re - compost toilets, I know they save water but having had to use one in the current house that I am in (I had the same solution some years ago too), I can see other limitations for us, and given that I am getting older and want to try and minimise future maintenance for me on my 80 acre property, I would prefer to stick with finding a system that uses water but is fairly reasonably priced and economical to run.
I also think that with the flush toilets available today, the water use is very minimal ( 3 / 4 litres ) and for two water savvy people who value their future comfort, let's hope I can find a great solution.

The worm farm option I had also looked at, it is a great concept but very expensive and also seems to require a fair sized dispersion area. I know of a couple of people who have gone for the worm system and have had some trouble with worms dying off....this may be due to not managing system appropriately, not sure.

One system I came across today was "Enviro-Septic system" - the concept seems to be rather remarkable, and having had a brief chat with the supplier, it is very reasonably priced. For a 3 bedroom (5 person equivalent) he is quoting just under $3K plus freight, for the pipe configuration. Then on top of that is the design costs for council (say $800), septic tank (<$1500) plus labour.
The footprint required for the dispersement area is about 1.8m x 9m and the system uses no power (if gravity fed) and no ongoing maintenance costs.
Has anyone heard anything about this system or experience?

Any other experiences would be most welcome...thanks again for the feedback so far.
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Re: Waste Water System

Postby colint50 » Wed May 28, 2014 8:50 pm

I forgot to mention Brendan, I like the idea of installing the ag pipe at the bottom of the septic tank...I hadn't seen that done before, although may be its the norm?
Impressed with the blog on your progress!
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Re: Waste Water System

Postby bpratt » Wed May 28, 2014 11:08 pm

colint50 wrote:I forgot to mention Brendan, I like the idea of installing the ag pipe at the bottom of the septic tank...I hadn't seen that done before, although may be its the norm?
Impressed with the blog on your progress!


From memory the dispersation area was 288 sqm, or in my case 12 trenches about 24m long.

It didn't seem to be all that normal, as I was there when one of the council inspectors came out at one stage, and he was asking about that, and seemed to be a bit surprised and pleased it was being done that way.

Made a lot of sense to me at the time, because these poly tanks aren't full of water to keep them down, and could easily float out of the ground if water built up around the tank.

The blog is often forgotten to be updated regulary, but now the roof is going on I better update things again. :)
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Re: Waste Water System

Postby Cherokee Solar » Thu May 29, 2014 1:46 pm

colint50 wrote: I know of a couple of people who have gone for the worm system and have had some trouble with worms dying off....this may be due to not managing system appropriately, not sure.


Probably massive user error - like perhaps dumping 44 gallons of bleach into the system! :lol:

Seriously though, worm eggs can stay dormant in the organic matter at the bottom of the system for 2 years and still hatch when conditions are appropriate. I can't even imagine what they may have done.

Septic systems use anaaeobic (ie. needs no oxygen) bacteria to treat break down the organic matter going into the tank. It is a completely different environment to worm farms and composting toilet systems and has a whole different sort of problems and maintenance issues.

bpratt wrote:get the neighbours to accept that Amateur Radio is not going to irradiate them, so they stop with their stupid petition to try to stop me from putting up my legal 10m tower up.


Sorry to hear that.
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