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Basic design of the Loma Vista grey water capturing system.
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Rain water that sheds off the roof of Loma Vista Farm?s covered arena and stalls is captured in a 6000-gallon cistern via gutters and pipes. (Images courtesy of Loma Vista Farm, www.lomavistafarm.com)
Phosphate rich soaps and mild cleaning chemicals in your wastewater (grey water and reuse of washing machine water) are considered pollutants because they accelerate algae growth in the waterways, which in turn leads to oxygen depletion for fish and other marine life forms.
The beauty of this "problem" is that these same phosphorous, nitrogen, potassium and protein "pollutants" are excellent sources of nutrition when you reuse grey water for irrigation of fruit trees, landscaping, and gardens (planter beds). www.thenaturalhome.com
Keep your drinking water for drinking. Don't waste it on watering fields and bathing horses. Use Grey Water instead!
Grey Water is any water that has been used in the home or barn except water from toilets, which is sewage or black water. Grey water gets its name because it is neither fresh, potable water nor heavily polluted black water, and is often cloudy in appearance.
Frequently used for field irrigation and dust control, grey water can be captured in underground cisterns, then pumped out through hoses, sprinklers and irrigation systems.
Sean Englund, Ranch Manag er at Loma Vista Farm in Scottsdale, Arizona, estimates the breeding and training facility is saving about 30,000 gallons of water every month by using grey water. "We water our outdoor arena three times a day," Sean says, "and we use reclaimed water to water the grounds (about 20 acres)."
It's a waste to irrigate with great quantities of drinking water when plants thrive on used water containing small bits of compost. www.oasisdesign.net
The simplest way to capture grey water is through "diversion" methods. Diversion systems can be as basic as running the outlet hose from a washing machine out a window to the garden, or can be designed as a permanent part of the home or barn plumbing. At Loma Vista, an underground cistern captures water from the roof, four wash stalls and an extensive gutter and pipe system encompassing about 1.5 acres.
BE CONSCIOUS OF THE SOAPS YOU USE
Grey water from the shower or bath is generally great quality water for the garden and fields. Choose your laundry products wisely. Look for ones that are chemical free and safe for the environment. You want to select low phosphate and salt levels, and a neutral pH balance. Try to select the Sodium Laurel Sulfate Free and dioxide free soaps.
"At Loma Vista, we use EZ-All," Englund states. "All our bathing products are biodegradable."
The benefits of grey water recycling include:
Lower fresh water use
Less strain on failing septic tank or treatment plant
Grey water treatment in topsoil is highly effective
Ability to build in areas unsuitable for conventional treatment
Less energy and chemical use
Reclamation of otherwise wasted nutrients
"If collected using a separate plumbing system to black water, domestic grey water can be recycled directly within the home, garden or agricultural company and used either immediately or processed and stored. Recycled grey water of this kind is never clean enough to drink, but a number of stages of filtration and microbial digestion can be used to provide water for washing or flushing toilets; relatively clean grey water may be applied directly from the sink to the garden or container field, as it receives high level treatment from soil and plant roots. Given that grey water may contain nutrients (e.g., from food, fertilizer), pathogens (e.g., from your skin), and is often discharged warm, it is very important not to store it before using it for irrigation purposes, unless it is treated first." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greywater
Loma Vista Farm in Scottsdale, AZ, is for sale. See www.youtube.com/lomavistafarm for a tour of the facility.