Drinking Water from Greywater Plan Will Actually Yield Blackwater!

Subject: Re: Mexico Greywater Plan
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999
From: Art Ludwig <Oasis Design>

Richard Surving wrote:
> I have started to build a greywater treatment tanks in my winter home in
> Mexico.( In San Miguel de Allende GTO Mex.) The information I started
> with left out a lot of "details". I want to carry on with the project in
> order to show the town "Fathers" that a proper system can be designed
> that will help the community with our depleting freshwater supply . My
> present problem is that I have dug a three compartment greywater tank to
> filter the greywater but I didn't find out that I needed to aireate the
> water first . Now I must go back and try to install an air system that
> will properly begin the process.
> The system as I have planned it will go from the three tank stomach that
> I have built with compartments of volcanic rock, into a charcoal one
> then flow into a fountain that will further aireate the water and then
> into an "Aquascape" water garden pond.
> Eventually I would like to end up with a completely ultraviolet filtered
> , drinkable water. Would your book give me the necessary information to
> complete this idea as I have outlined it? Please call me toll free
> (800) 768 4954 or send am e-mail (surving©warwick.net)

Your system sounds really complicated to me-it is hard to picture it still
functioning as envisioned in 5-20 years, especially in the Mexican
environment. Even if it did, the clean water it produced would be
economically and ecologically expensive. Most households have at least some
irrigation need. Why purify greywater to drink if you are using water from
the tap to irrigate? Simpler to give the untreated greywater to plants,
who will enjoy it as much as fresh water, then use the tap water you've
saved for potable uses.
I suggest you make a close reading of the Common greywater mistakes article
on our web page, and rethink your system from scratch. The books won't
help you build this system, but they will help you build some alternatives
which would work better, either a simple system for using untreated
greywater for irrigation, or a septic tank and constructed wetland. Sorry
to be the bearer of bad news, but I think this is the best aid I can offer.
If you want to make something which is a real example to hold up and you
want to do it economically, I suggest you 1) read the web site closely, 2)
order the books, 3) head over to Tepoztlan and have a look at what we did
there-the designs represented there cover 90% of what I'd recommend in
Mexico for middle class and up construction (there is one friend of our
community who lives in SMDA and occasionally makes the trek-I think it's
Yuri) and 4), if you possibly afford it, have me review whatever designs
you come up with and make sure they are adapted to your site and
Thank you for the invitation to speak, however I probably won't be able to
make it for the foreseeable future; I'm spread thin as is. The most
important part of presentation would be some on hand, already built
examples of well-designed and built greywater systems. As this
precondition exists in Huehuecoyotl, I may do a workshop in Tepoztlan some
day, in which case I'll e mail you an invite.
Best of luck with your project.


PS-I'll trade you $10-20 in book credit for a really good photo of a
multiple registro, "trampe de grasa" type greywater system to illustrate my
greywater mistakes collection. The ideal photo would show "t" inlets and
outlets, and show how the water changes from suspended solids laden
greywater to clear blackwater.>

Would you have anybody interested in giving a workshop on this subject
> in Mexico this winter? I know that there will be many people in this
> little town that would be interested in this subject , both Americans
> and Mexicans. Thank you for your help, Sincerely, Richard Surving

Full greywater how-to details from our store