"And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress and keep it". Genesis 2:15

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Grey Water, Blue Water

Our grey water laundry barrel is finished and we have been using it for about a week. We opted for the most low tech system - a hose out the laundry room window into the top of a 55 gallon drum equipped with a hose bib. I attached a panty hose leg to the end of the hose with a rubber band to keep lint out of the barrel. A full cycle of one load of laundry gives us about 45 gallons of laundry water. 

I wait for the full cycle to finish so that the laundry soap is diluted, then I hook up the garden hose to the barrel and to the soaker hoses in the garden. The soaker hoses are covered with mulch, so no water is puddling on the surface of the ground.

It takes many hours to empty the barrel this way, the pressure is so low that it takes an hour for a few gallons of water to go through the hose, but I think this is actually better water conservation  and better for the plants.

We were really blessed this week with half an inch of rain. It fell very slowly, so all of it was absorbed into the ground (our usual rain is a 10 minute downpour that all runs off.) Now I have full rain barrels as well as the laundry water to use. Only one small section of our house has gutters, so I dug out a bunch of tubs from the attic and set them under the eves to catch the rain. All of these tubs you see, plus the child's pool, were filled by that half inch of rain. I have already used most of that water up except for what is in the kiddy pool. (It has been close to, or over, 100 degrees every day for a few weeks now!)

I certainly felt like a pioneer woman lugging around buckets of water all over the yard. Hopefully we can get gutters and more rain barrels as time goes by. 

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