Friday, April 08, 2011

Gray Water System For Watering The Garden

The ditch from the house.    
Since our house has never had any plumbing in it since it was first built in 1850, we are the first to have felt the need for it. When we purchased this house it had only been used as a hunting camp since 1923. It had and still does have an outhouse. But when we moved in I wanted some things to make living here easier. For instance, there was a sink in the kitchen but the drain just went through a hole in the wall to the outside. No proper run off area! I wanted to use it. Not have to use dishpans and carry them outside to empty them when I finished.

He deserves a break after digging this ditch!   
So my husband dug a ditch, and had the drain from the bathtub, (that we put in the downstairs bedroom to make it into a bathroom), and kitchen sink empty into those drains. The ditch that they emptied into was deep and below the frost line, so they would not freeze during the winter. Well, what happened instead was after eleven years, that ditch got the ground above it waterlogged. So it was kind of swampy last summer, not real bad, I have seen worse but not ours. So my husband decided to make more runoffs from the main drain. And he directed them directly to our raised beds out back which could always use that water.

PVC pipe going underground.

He dug the ditch directly to the raised bed. Then he laid pipe and inserted it in the middle of a rock wall that he built underneath the raised bed. He has plans to dig another ditch to the other raised beds. Leading to underneath the bed, the water draining from the sinks and bathtub will go there. It will help with the watering of the raised beds when they need water.

Two pipes going to two different raised beds.

This method is called a dry well, I believe. It has no black water, just gray water, and I use mostly environmentally friendly products. So this has many pluses for us. And most important was that we needed drains for our sinks and tub. That is the answer. If you move into a house like we did without any at all………it gets old very quickly, having to empty your water outside. The bath tub? Could never have done that, period! The drains made it possible for us to use a bath tub for showers and baths right from the start. Living this way is not bad if you can be clean, and not have mountains of work just because you want to take a shower or a bath.

Pipe going in underneath the bed.  

I have been looking forward to getting running water in the house. But these drains to the dry well are part of our permanent system. They will not change. Even after we get everything all done they will stay in place. I am happy that the water coming from them will be doing a extra duty. Not having to water those raised beds all summer will be good when there are droughts here. We usually are blessed with much rain here in New York state so I don’t usually worry too much about watering. But if you live in an area where water is hard to come by this could be an option for you.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
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