Grey water recycling


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  • #191
    PrairieDog
    Member

    Hi Mike and Lori,
    I hope all is well with you and that you are keeping warm.
    I was wondering if grey water recycling is practised in any form at Mactown.
    I am building an Earthship home in Colorado in which all grey water (from sinks, showers, washing machine and kitchen sink) is cleaned in an interior wetlands.
    The wetlands is built using recycled cans etc.
    The wetlands provide an indoor growing area for food plants and flowers.
    The cleaned grey water provides water for toilet flushing and outside watering.
    In the antarctic environment there would need to be design changes (full spectrum lighting instead of Colorado sunshine for instance).
    If it were feasible there, the benefits are obvious.
    I would love to correspond with anyone in Mactown who might be interested in this.
    By the way the antarctic bases remind me of Earthships (a trademark of Architect Mike Reynolds)
    They are self sustained independent homes that heat and cool themselves,collect their own water and electricity and dispose of their own wastes environmentally.
    They are built using recycled materials.
    I’m not looking to start an Earthship discussion …there are plenty of forums for that on the web. :—)
    I’m just hoping that someone there is interested in discussing the principles involved and if and how they might benefit the antarctic community.
    Best wishes,
     
    PrairieDog (Guess why I’m called that :–)

    #1638
    thepooles98
    Keymaster

    Hi Praire Dog
     
    Interesting concept. I doubt that it would work here. We have a small greenhouse to produce food but it is tiny. I seem to remember that you can’t use greywater to grow food. Too much chance of accidental release of heavy metal contaminants etc into the food supply. My guess is that your inside wetlands is pretty large in order to cover a family of 4. Here we can have as many as 1200 people during crunch times. Without doing the math I’m imagining that the building required to house a wetlands  for that many people would have to be enormous. Then how would you stop the plants from freezing? We would have to bring in some more oil to burn to keep the building heated. To build the building it would require shiploads of materials brought in. Buildings seldom get finished here in one year which means a couple of years of flying in extra people for the project. Then there is the problem of the Antarctic Treaty . Other than food plants it’s against the treaty to introduce species to Antarctica. We are not even allowed to grow houseplants for fear something could spread to the local ecosystem. Finally all the dead plant material would have to be handled. Since the treaty prohibits it, we can’t dispose or compost anything that might harbor organisms so it would have to be crated up and sent back to the states for disposal. I think the amount of oil and fuel that would be spent having a natural greywater system would negate most of the ecological benefits.
    The National Science Foundation that runs the base is committed to protecting the environment and continually mandates improvements in the way the base runs. In the past the Navy just dumped trash. NSF makes us pack up all trash and send it the US for disposal. We have up to 20 catagories for recycling so a huge portion of our trash is reused somewhere.
    This year our waste water plant went online. All of the waste is run into a system of large vats where the solids are biologically broken down. The remaining sludge is run through a press to remove moisture and is then crated up and sent to the states. The remaining liquid is run through an ultraviolet filter to kill any living organisms that might me present. This is far better than the old method of just dumping raw sewage in the ocean. While just having a camp the size of McMurdo is bound to cause problems, I forsee NSF continuing to press to keep Antarctica a clean pristine place.
    mike in mcmurdo

    #1639
    PrairieDog
    Member

    Hi Mike and Lorie,
    All interesting points.
    I’m glad that the sewage system has been upgraded there.
    I remember reading that the sludge was being released into the ocean in the old system but I wasnt aware of how the new system worked.
    The idea behind the earthship style wetlands are that they can be almost any size or shape and are installed in any available space ie one already existing and heated and near the point of supply. and built using  using available materials
    I dont know what the potential problem with heavy metals is… I do know that in New Mexico, They have some interior wetlands that are tested by the state and the water output quality is very good. Research is ongoing….
    As far as food production the only plant parts to contact the water are the roots.
    In a home setup there is little risk of catching anything infectious.
    My understanding is that the risk with greywater is if it were poured on the surface untreated as in some rural homes here, that there is a potential to spread hepatitis for instance.
    I acknowledge that the treaty obligations might present some legal issues.
    Hopefully I will get the opportunity to learn more by going down there…
    Raytheon Polar services called me today about a job there.
    I was out of course…:(
    I am to call them tomorrow. I’m really excited about the prospect of going to work in Mactown or Pole.
    I’d better get busy and finish my earthship…
    Best wishes,
     
    Prairie Dog.

    #1640
    thepooles98
    Keymaster

    It sounds like you got a phone call from the program. If you do get an offer to work here my advise is to jump on it right away. Try to get the medical package as soon as possible. That is the one thing that can be a problem. Get your physical done by your doctor the moment you get the package. Since they test things things that you may never have had tested before, the chances are that something will pop up. It happens to almost everyonel. Maybe you iron levels were too low that day, or calcium too high etc. As with most tests you never take the results as gospel so they will ask you to retake any tests that fail. If you wait months before taking the initial exam you won’t have time for any retests. Good luck.
    As far as contaminants in grey water. Nothing scientific here. I just remember reading a few years ago when I wanted to use dish and laundry water to water my garden, that grey water can sometimes harbor pollutants. Here for example the mechanics all have oil stained clothing and then there are welders and tradespeople etc. Washing removes the metal contaminants from the clothing. If the water is used for food then it’s possible for the contaminants to be picked up by the plants. I think that is the whole purpose of wetlands water recycling. The plants pick everything up.
    Like I said nothing scientific. It’s just something I think I read years ago.
    As far as space for plants. You’ll find out when you get here that there is no such thing as existing space. If any opens up it quickly gets filled with something else.
    see you in October
    mike in mcmurdo

    #1641
    thepooles98
    Keymaster

    One more thought. If you do get hired down here. Bring all your earthship info with you and put on some seminars on homebuilding. McMurdo seems to appeal to people who live in remote areas and are self sufficient. Chances are you would find a number of people interested in your project.
    mike in mcmurdo

    #1642
    PrairieDog
    Member

    Well I’m learning something new every day about the Ice 🙂
    I did a phone interview today and am going to an in person interview on Tuesday.
    I’m applying for a winter over job at Pole (ouch….:)
    Thanks for the great advice about pqing.
    I’ve already scheduled a physical and a dental check with my own md and dentist.
    At my interview I will ask about what tests are required.
    In our gray water system there will be beds of pumice or shredded plastic which provide a place for beneficial bacteria to grow (further problems for use in Antarctica). The water flows through a baffle system through the pumice. The plant roots grow through a layer of topsoil into the pumice and oxygenate the water. The bacteria are supposed to feed on the gray water and help clean it.
    In the systems I have seen the plants looked phenomenal but I don’t know if they are tested for contaminants as the water is. The philosophy of my architect is dont use anything you dont want to eat later I guess 🙂 (I know, so what do you do with those oil soaked clothes…)
    The good thing is no one uses bleach or harmful chemicals with these systems.
    I will bring my earthship books if I have enough weight allowance.
    There are excellent web resources including http://www.earthship.com the website for Solar Survival (my architect).
    Wish me luck on Tuesday (my interview)
    Best Wishes,
    Prairie Dog.


    Original Message


    From: Antarctic memories
    Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 12:10 PM
    To: Antarctic memories
    Subject: Re: Grey water recycling
     

    [font=Arial, size=4:10viqu2w]New Message on Antarctic memories[/font:10viqu2w]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, Sans Serif:10viqu2w]Grey water recycling[/font:10viqu2w]

    Antarcticmemories@groups.msn.com?subject=Re%3A%20Grey%20water%20recycling
      [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,Sans Serif:10viqu2w]Recommend[/font:10viqu2w] Message 4 in Discussion
    [font=Arial, Helvetica, Sans Serif:10viqu2w]From: [/font:10viqu2w][font=Arial, Helvetica, Sans Serif:10viqu2w]mike+lorie[/font:10viqu2w]
    It sounds like you got a phone call from the program. If you do get an offer to work here my advise is to jump on it right away. Try to get the medical package as soon as possible. That is the one thing that can be a problem. Get your physical done by your doctor the moment you get the package. Since they test things things that you may never have had tested before, the chances are that something will pop up. It happens to almost everyonel. Maybe you iron levels were too low that day, or calcium too high etc. As with most tests you never take the results as gospel so they will ask you to retake any tests that fail. If you wait months before taking the initial exam you won’t have time for any retests. Good luck.
    As far as contaminants in grey water. Nothing scientific here. I just remember reading a few years ago when I wanted to use dish and laundry water to water my garden, that grey water can sometimes harbor pollutants. Here for example the mechanics all have oil stained clothing and then there are welders and tradespeople etc. Washing removes the metal contaminants from the clothing. If the water is used for food then it’s possible for the contaminants to be picked up by the plants. I think that is the whole purpose of wetlands water recycling. The plants pick everything up.
    Like I said nothing scientific. It’s just something I think I read years ago.
    As far as space for plants. You’ll find out when you get here that there is no such thing as existing space. If any opens up it quickly gets filled with something else.
    see you in October
    mike in mcmurdo

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    #1643
    thepooles98
    Keymaster

    If you get hired mail everything you can to yourself. Priority mail is a little more expensive but gets handled first. There is always the chance that it won’t make it, but if you send early the chances are good that it will. We always take one set of nice clothing and send it priority to ourselves. Then when you travel keep the bare minimums. It keeps the weight down and to be honest traveling with the 140 lbs that a winter over is allowed is a real drag. Just try to get through the airports these days with that much luggage. What position are you applying for?
    mike

    #1644
    PrairieDog
    Member

    Thanks for the tip. I thought the weight allowance was 70 lbs including ecw.
    Having surfed innumerable (wonderful) sites I’ve seen conflicting info.
    140 lbs sounds better but not when it comes to bag dragging it 🙂
    I could bring my dancing stuffed prairie dog after all (and my earthship books)
    I have applied for electrician and electrical foreman.
    Gotta go I have an earthship to finish.
    I hope RPS doesn’t confuse earthship with spaceship:)

    #1645
    thepooles98
    Keymaster

    The 70lb limit is for summer personell. If you stay the winter you get an extra baggage allowance, presumably to cover the fact that you can’t have anything mailed to you for the next eight months. If you travel light make sure you start perusing the skua bins as soon as you get here. That is where the previous years people put all the 140 lbs of stuff they brought down last year and don’t want to carry it home now. Most of it is old ripped shirts and things but if you keep looking you will find lots of new items too. I don’t bring down any clothes anymore. Between what I’ve already got and what I pick up it covers my needs pretty well.
    If you are here for the summer send down social things. A halloween costume is nice. Maybe a nice dress outfit for Christmas dinner. It’s not required but dressing up now and then with your friends is a nice change of pace. Some people will reserve hut 10 and cook food for their friends. Most of it you can get from the galley, but if are making something special like sushi etc, you might want to mail yourself some ingredients.
     
    More later if you get hired. I’ll try to fill you in on what frustrates some of the tradespeople when they arrive. Maybe even find an electrician to write to .
    mike in mcmurdo
    mike

    #1646
    will
    Keymaster

    hey mike and lori….
    thanks for the pics…  they are such a slice of your life down there….keep them coming…. i love the info you share and i sigh in anticipation….   thanks for the info, lori, that you gave me on adventures… i will look around and see if i can get a really good vacation thing going on…   my company has jobs available in alaska but a freeze on transferes… so waiting for things to loosen up.
    i live in florida and am tired of the heat, noise, people, traffic jams on I95, exhausts… and did i mention the crazy people….
     
    have fun y’all….    best regards    enjoy the nite……
    judie

    #1647
    PrairieDog
    Member

    Thanks for the hints.
    I also found a website called polar plunge that has a list (eight pages worth) compiled by the 95-96 Pole winterover crew which would make a good basis from which to choose gear.
    How is your community at McMurdo faring these days? Are spirits high?
    Has the construction effort at Pole left any supply shortages because of plane space and availability?
    Best Wishes,
    Prairie Dog (aka Kevin)

    #1648
    thepooles98
    Keymaster

    Satin doll and Kevin
    Satin doll, it sounds like you should also apply down here. Go to http://www.theice.org for info.
    Prairie Dog
    Spirits here are quite high. Of course the sun just went down a couple of days ago and we still have a lot of twilight in the afternoon. Winter is generally pretty nice. The pychological exams do a good job of weeding out the people who can’t handle the isolation and darkness. I’ve always liked the  winter. The hard part for me is always Winfly in August when the new people come in. They’ve been traveling the world and bring in all the new viruses and where you had lots of space to yourself suddenly there are people everywhere again. By the time your contract ends most everyone can’t wait to leave.
    Construction here or at the pole is usually hampered by the long logistics line to get supplies here. Because it can take so long to get something down here they are oftentimes forced to order parts before the final prints are approved. Most everything gets here, but if the vendors make an error and ship the wrong thing, it can be another year before replacements come in. Back home it would be an extra day so you could go to home depot and get the right item. Here it can be real problem. The work still has to get done and we scramble however we can. It can be a mental drag for tradespeople who aren’t expecting it. If you know what is coming it’s a little easier. Once down here follow the lead of the people who have been here before. This may be biased since I work in supply, but if you can find a good supply person who knows how to search the inventory data base well, they can be a godsend. Last year I worked in carp shop supply, but had a number of electricians calling me for help. Supply in general is pretty good at crossing work boundries to make your work easier.
    mike

    #1649
    PrairieDog
    Member

    Mike,
     I know the frustrations of complicated supply systems having worked at an Air Force base, an intel chip plant and a nuclear waste facility in the last few years. At intel I would order material, receive it up to 5 months later but have it snagged by someone else before I was able to receive it. At the other jobs you just never knew what material would be available and it could take months to get.
    At Intel it was kind of funny really. We would try to get management to streamline the supply system and instead they kept adding steps to it.
    It played hell with morale though. The electricians would be picking through the trash barrels trying to find a part that they needed and some supervisor would try to fire them for being out of their work areas.
    I figured that the logistics would be difficult on the Ice. If I get the job, I’ll try to bring a bag of wirenuts and some nuts and bolt’s, the 4 inch rigid conduit doesn’t fit in my luggage 🙂
     


    Original Message


    From: Antarctic memories
    Sent: Monday, April 28, 2003 12:54 PM
    To: Antarctic memories
    Subject: Re: Grey water recycling
     

    [font=Arial, size=4:9a5neb0z]New Message on Antarctic memories[/font:9a5neb0z]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, Sans Serif:9a5neb0z]Grey water recycling[/font:9a5neb0z]

    Antarcticmemories@groups.msn.com?subject=Re%3A%20Grey%20water%20recycling
      [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,Sans Serif:9a5neb0z]Recommend[/font:9a5neb0z] Message 12 in Discussion
    [font=Arial, Helvetica, Sans Serif:9a5neb0z]From: [/font:9a5neb0z][font=Arial, Helvetica, Sans Serif:9a5neb0z]mike+lorie[/font:9a5neb0z]
    Satin doll and Kevin
    Satin doll, it sounds like you should also apply down here. Go to http://www.theice.org for info.
    Prairie Dog
    Spirits here are quite high. Of course the sun just went down a couple of days ago and we still have a lot of twilight in the afternoon. Winter is generally pretty nice. The pychological exams do a good job of weeding out the people who can’t handle the isolation and darkness. I’ve always liked the  winter. The hard part for me is always Winfly in August when the new people come in. They’ve been traveling the world and bring in all the new viruses and where you had lots of space to yourself suddenly there are people everywhere again. By the time your contract ends most everyone can’t wait to leave.
    Construction here or at the pole is usually hampered by the long logistics line to get supplies here. Because it can take so long to get something down here they are oftentimes forced to order parts before the final prints are approved. Most everything gets here, but if the vendors make an error and ship the wrong thing, it can be another year before replacements come in. Back home it would be an extra day so you could go to home depot and get the right item. Here it can be real problem. The work still has to get done and we scramble however we can. It can be a mental drag for tradespeople who aren’t expecting it. If you know what is coming it’s a little easier. Once down here follow the lead of the people who have been here before. This may be biased since I work in supply, but if you can find a good supply person who knows how to search the inventory data base well, they can be a godsend. Last year I worked in carp shop supply, but had a number of electricians calling me for help. Supply in general is pretty good at crossing work boundries to make your work easier.
    mike

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