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Effective Gray Water Systems for Wet Winters and Dry Summers - Storage? Pumping? Miracles?

Posts: 49
Location: Cascadia Zone 8b Clay
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Welcome Feidhlim! - Perhaps you have some miracle genius ideas for this slow witted Northwestern-er...

What is the best way to reconfigure an existing septic system?
Our septic is in a totally lousy location (came that way) and could probably be 'okay' if we could,
for example, just direct the vast majority of waste water to an alternate system...
Never mind that 'gray water systems are outside of the allowable in our State code - we will just
have to deal with that as we go...

The biggest issue I see facing us is that we are super wet in winter and super dry in summer. Freezing is not a big issue,
a few cold enough days now and then - but how to store excess water in winter for use in summer is the real challenge.

Otherwise we're just adding to the constant downward flow across the property in winter - already doing earthworks planning
to at least slow and pool some of that, but adding to it with gray water seems less than intelligent.

Feels like that leaves storage tanks or... or... ehm... no brilliant ideas are popping into my head that won't require
some kind of pumping - the house is near the lower end of the slope of this property - so the majority of it is uphill.
Posts: 241
Location: Ireland
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Hi Becky, thanks for the warm welcome. No miracles I'm afraid, but perhaps some thoughts, questions and suggestions.

What is the current problem? Is it ponding of septic tank effluent in winter?

From what you're saying you want to avoid a pump (I'd be with you on that). I'm not sure what your state codes are like, but can you route grey water to an irrigation system or bog garden? If so, that would take out some or all of the grey water. Just be sure to built the bog garden plenty big enough so that if it runs off onto the lawn in winter, it's fairly pleasant stuff. Not ideal, but if it's better than what's there it may be worth considering.

Have you considered a dry toilet? that would get rid of about 30-40% of the water, year round.

What are your current plans for the system?
Diego Footer on Permaculture Based Homesteads - from the Eat Your Dirt Summit
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