James andrews

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since Nov 14, 2014
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Recent posts by James andrews

Hi, yeah we don't use the term mini septic here either, I just like it. Wow those grease traps are big bucks for what they are!

I would like to get rid of that grease from the outlet basin. There is a surface screen there attached to the green piece that spans the tank in the middle (it came with the trough as a cover for the ballcock) but I think I will change that around a bit - I rekcon a rolled up piece of insect screen would clog up in no time and make a better surface screen.

thanks for your thoughts Feidhlim, all the best with the book

9 years ago
Hi Feidhlim,

Thanks for the reply, that does help - although its a bit late for a redesign for me, as its pretty much done now I am still very interested in the principles involved. On the sizing front, even a drastic scale back of usage is still looking at a 2000L plus tank and for grey water alone I just can't see the need for that, I am now feeling that our system could have been made more elegant by being smaller still. As it is, it will deliver one 300L (roughly) dose every day and a bit (with an estimate of about 90L per person for a 4 person household) - I would have liked it dose more often than that, but in saying that the extra rest period could be a blessing given that we have pretty wet winters typically. For all the effort given to compost toilet design, it doesn't feel like the grey water has had its share of attention - after all every compost toilet must have a greywater system of some description paired up with it.

I am very interested to know what the 50 litre kitchen sink filters look like? Are they just a mini septic? and while I am in question mode - what is the difference between a big grease trap and a mini septic? anything? I can see a system with a miniseptic for the kitchen sink, bark filters for everything else (really effective at removing hair and body grease and soap) which could be combined and then either dosed to a field or dealt with in their own mulch basins - Art Ludwig style. That seems to me to be an appropriate scale solution.

I will try to attach some pics of what I've been doing today...
9 years ago
I am re-building our greywater system right now, and have just converted a 120L plastic stock trough from a totally failed grey water "filter" into a mini septic tank. So far (one week only) it is miles better than the festering old filter ever was, and I have great faith that it will continue to serve us well. I struggled to find any info on sizing septics though, and conventional wisdom around these parts seems to be to take the design loading rate for the household per day and add 2000L to get the recomended size.... So that makes it massive.

My question for Feidhlim Harty is: How small can you go with a septic in your opinion? Below a certain size does it stop being a fully functional septic tank and just become a still pretty handy settle/float tank?

I really like the idea that you can pair up a compost toilet with a mini septic and be dealing with your stuff in an efficient effective manner with a minimum of materials and earth works. I am going to use another stock trough as a mini wetland to clean the water up a bit and use a syphon to dose a simplified disposal field. The bath will dodge the septic tank and go straight to the wetland to avoid overwhelming it - or it could go to its own little swale type drain, not sure but either way it won't be dumping into the mini septic and wrecking havoc there.

Will take some pics to share tomorrow.

9 years ago
Hey, another possible idea for the ducks access into the shelter is a small pond (say 2 feet diameter?) with a solid barrier coming down to near its surface in the middle of the pond. Inside the barrier is the shelter. So the birds get in the pond and duck under the barrier to get in and out of the shelter. This excludes everything that can't swim.

I've not done this, but have heard of it working well. I would love to do it sometime but we don't really have any predator issues so its a bit redundant here.
9 years ago
Yeah well, when it gets cold here I put on another t shirt, the coldest it gets is about 4 t shirts worth. This correlates to occassional light frosts in winter - warm temperate climate.
9 years ago
yeah, a compost bin with a henhouse on top - or a hen house with a compost bin underneath. Depending on your preference.
9 years ago
... this time? The hatch for throwing in scraps and compost materials
9 years ago
Our composting coop - its a few months old now and is working really well for us and the chooks seems pretty happy too. There are no solid surfaces to clean out, the only surfaces in there are either mesh, or narrow bits of wood. No need to clean, all the birds poo goes onto the heap along with ALL of our household food scraps. We used to have a chook bin and then a worm bin for the things the chooks didn't eat and a 3rd bin for the stuff that the worms didn't eat .... that was way way too much faffing about for my liking.

This design works well on our slope, but I am sure that you could work something out on the flat. Have others tried this sort of thing? Its just an exagerated deep litter system really, but rather than having a seperate deep litter area with a festering coop attached, this just puts them together. I went to some effort to rodent proof it by burying the corrogated iron 20cm or so around the edge.

We have an attached electranet fence which we move around too.

First post, Be gentle.

9 years ago