Wetland and detergents

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: Wetland and detergents
Author: Xenos (Xenos)
Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 5:44 pm
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Rangdrol, we (who still live in one of the largest cities on Earth) have used nothing but biodegradeable products and soaps particularly, for over ten years now.

Dr B provided our Pine scented laundry and we use a marigold & rosemary mix to wash dishes; the floors are handled by Murphy and the general wipe-down and counter cleaning are accomplished with a little seventh generation spruce.

sure do miss that sun-dried sheeting from my childhood on a farm! enjoy... and thank you so much for all your contributions to this place over the years! ! ! :-)

Author: admin
Monday, June 12, 2006 - 11:29 am
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I reversed the order of the messages recently in order to better track and delete spam messages. Let's try it this way for a while and see if it works OK. If not, I'll change it back.

Author: TCLynx
Friday, June 09, 2006 - 8:09 pm
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Something odd just happened, when I posted my last message it went to the top of the discussion rather than the end?

Author: TCLynx
Friday, June 09, 2006 - 8:08 pm
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Faith,
Have you checked out this link yet about grey water?
http://www.oasisdesign.net/greywater/index.htm
They do recomend for most small household use, keep in simple. The more complexly designed systems are only rarely sucessfull.

As far as what is going to be hard on plants, you may learn alot from research but, to a large extent you will have to experiment and see what works in your location.

Good luck

Author: igouce
Sunday, February 15, 2004 - 12:42 pm
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I'm hoping to be seting up a humanure composting system soon, and my biggest consern so far is not with the humanure itself (the whole composting thing seem so damn natural) but what to do with the grey-water. Again, I am not concerned with the organic stuff that comes from what we (didn't) eat, but from the stuff that we use to wash it away from our plates and clothes (soaps and detergents). Now, from what I understand so far, soaps are OK, they will do the job (wash), and leave no stuff that will NOT degrade. However, soap will give poor performance with lots of solid residue when used in "normal" (read "hard") water. So, detergents, come to the rescue for the cleanness and softness of your clothes, but with the usual hi-tech downside: nobody will eat what's left behind.
So the question is: How do you handle your loundry? Do you use detergents? Maybe you use rainwater and soap? Where do you direct the efluent from the washing machine? Is using a biodegradable detergent enough in order to have
happy plants in the wetland system, or will they get too happy (eutrophicate)?

Joe, anybody,... I'd appreciate your insight and experience.

P.S. Big thanks to Joe for writting one of the best books I've ever read, and even a bigger one to Jenkins Publishing for sending a free copy in a space-time where "free" is so expensive.

Best regards,

Igor

Author: admin
Sunday, February 15, 2004 - 2:03 pm
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Soap laden gray water is usually directed into an underground tank that settles out solids and then leaches the effluent into the sub soil. Alternatives include constructed or controlled wetlands, direct drainage into sub soil, small tanks in a basement for example (rather than buried), etc.

Author: Bob Armantrout
Sunday, February 15, 2004 - 2:28 pm
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Our washing machine empties out through a hose (flexible 4 inch drain tile) directly into our mulched banana patch. We use Bi-O-Kleen Laundry Powder (enviro friendly)with good cleaning results. My wife and I both work outside doing blue collar work and we are real happy with the results of our wash.

The bananas, ti plants, and a lychee tree all are happy as well. :)

BTW - we tabled yesterday at Whale Day here on Maui (Hawaii). Included for display/discussion was information on composting, biodiesel, zero waste, organic gardening - all our passions.

The response to the copy of The Humanure Handbook was great. I talked with four or 5 folks/couples who had used or do use the system now.

"Aunt Lucy's Tips" from Joe's book "Balance Point" also went over very well.

Thanks Joe for what you do - preach what you practice.

Bob Armantrout
Maui Green Energy

Author: Herb_Wis
Monday, February 16, 2004 - 10:07 am
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I take my laundry to town and the laundromat.

My bathtub/shower/sink arrangement runs thru a pipe underground to a buried "box" or vault made out of concrete blocks. There are drain gaps all over the thing and the floor is gravel. And I surrounded it with gravel too. The ground is sand.

Formerly I directly drained gray water underground into perforated pipe, but after a few years the gunk in the gray water plugged up the system. So a couple years ago I dug it up and and redid it with the concrete block drain box. The old (cleaned) perforated pipe comes out of the box too in case the box fills with gunk -- but that should take a long time.

As a sidenote, while I was digging up the old system it was very hot and buggy. I got TERRIBLY weak and I thought old age was setting in. But then, later, I discovered I had LYME DISEASE.

Author: admin
Monday, February 16, 2004 - 11:40 am
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Damn.

Author: Herb_Wis
Monday, February 16, 2004 - 7:47 pm
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LYME DISEASE => Damn bad news but it cured pretty easy once I knew what I had -- but that took weeks!

Author: admin
Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - 1:45 pm
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How did you cure it?

Author: Anonymous
Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 10:57 am
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In the Bible it tells about washing clothes with plain water. It's in chapters 14 thru 17 of Leviticus & Numbers 19.

Author: Herb_Wi
Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 12:02 pm
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Antibiotics cured it. Cost about $17 at the Walmart pharmacy. I expected much worse.

I laid around for 3-4 weeks thinking I had flu or West Nile (it was in the news). The symptoms kept changing and every few days I thought that I was getting better so I kept putting off going to the doctor. But then the joint pain hit me and I figured Lyme Disease which was correct.

The ordeal was rather torturous and in my mind I likened it to what malaria must be. But once I got the antibiotics I felt better within a couple days and it cleared up with no lasting effects. I never knew I was bear tick bit and never saw any bullseye rash.

RE: Laundry. I wonder how clean your clothes would get at the laundromat if you didn't use detergent? Or maybe just a little bit?

Author: Fatih
Thursday, June 08, 2006 - 8:38 am
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I am living in a city right now, in an apartment with no humanure or grey water recycling whatsoever. But I plan to start a living in the country in the coming times, in an ecological manner as much as possible, that is why I am writing this. My time to move to a rural area is not yet set, but when I would purchase some land, I want everything to be designed is designed.
I live in Turkey, and here it is not very easy to find eco-friendly detergents. The ones I could find are pretty expensive, but we luckily have different kinds of soaps: for body and hair cleaning we have olive oil soap -which can also be used for clothes and dishwashing successfully although not many people realizing that, we also have some kind of soft soap made out of sunflower oil which can be used for other kinds of house cleaning. I think oil (not petroleum as Americans call it, vegetable oil) can be disintegrated in wetlands, but as far as I know, all soaps have something chemical besides oil: either sodium hydroxide (NaOH), or potassium hydroxide (KOH) or some soaps have both (I think Americans call both of these hydroxides as "LYE"). Does lye degrade in artificial wetland too? Can I use the grey water which is full of soap residues for irrigation -not only flower or ornamental trees but also the ones that has edible fruits, not necessarily tomatoes, like bananas or actinidias (which give kiwifruit) which desire lots of water in our dry-season (this is a Mediterranean country with very hot and dry summers). I also think lye -as a caustic alkaline- would make grey water alkaline (I probably won't have an acid creek to neutralize it, but I may try grape vinegar or apple cider vinegar?), would that damage soil or plants which are watered by grey water? I have even heard organic farmers here in Turkey use diluted "sunflower oil+KOH" soap as something-cide (either herbicide or fungicide, I don't know). By the way, I may even have not a wetland in the first times due to my budget and my fast "conversion", so would this grey water -with no humanure or kitchen refuse in it, of course- still be able to be used for underground irrigation, I repeat: with NO treatment.

Author: Rangdrol
Thursday, June 08, 2006 - 9:31 pm
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We sit on top of our drinking water. We take no prisoners when it comes to our water.

There are two "Tricks" with Grey water.
First getting every use we can. The less you use the less you have to put out into the world.
Reuse forces your awareness and behavior to change. That fourth use is hard but well worth the efforts.

Second is keeping OTHER people away from the water and drains. This is the hardest because they are persistent and sneaky.
They love to send stealth attacks and absolutely delight in finding and exploiting every weakness. They arrive bringing flowers and their smiles divert your attention from the little packet of chemicals that is taped to the flowers!

In our evolutions we have tried a lot of things.
Our best [and current] strategy is to stop the enemy at the gate. If it dosent come on the land it cant get in the water via the drains or any other way.
It requires that you see the enemy. The enemy can roughly be discerned with a simple test: "If you cant eat it, it's the enemy."

The next thing is NEVER compromise. It dosnt work. Anyway, soil and water are very hard to clean up no matter what minor fleeting convenience might call to the sweet exhausted soul.....

We use nothing but Dr Bronner's anymore and we use rainwater for all our bathing and washing. We have been using rain water exclusively for two years and it actually works better. Dr B has some 5 or 6 scents now, at the moment we have lavender socks and almond dishes.
Those "Eco- soaps" that get peddled to the masses may get your shorts whiter than white but EVERY one of them is inedible and most hide the fact that they DO pollute in fine legalese print.

The most dangerous stuff in our "waste water" is us and what washes off us and store bought food.
We do separate Grey and black water. Black being anything that could harm a human or contain pathogens.
The black water goes to underground irrigation of non foods down below our compost pile. The Grey to filter beds of sand and gravel over our water right now, we hope to fruit tree rings this fall.

It may seem too harsh to some but until you have crawled into a summer bed of Percale sheets that have been washed in mint Bronner's and dried in the sun you have not fully enjoyed your senses!

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