Water and Waste

Here are a few pictures of how we handle water and waste issues.  I received a comment about the quality of our finished compost.  This is about a year old.  There is no odor except an earthy, molded leaf smell.

These are the compost bins we’re using right now.  They’re made of  bread trays that we found in the dump and zip ties.  It’s become my opinion that zip ties are the new bailing wire. 🙂  These bins are small, but enough for one or possibly two people.  Here’s a link on John Jenkins site to the larger bins we used when there were 6 of us contributing.  Ours is #9 in the picture gallery.

In a previous post I shared my high hopes for hot water.  Unfortunately, gravity dashed those hopes to the ground, literally.  The hose collapsed in the collector box from the weight of the warm water.  Version 2.1 consists of 3/4″ pvc pipe painted with black paint.  I recycled the black hose to serve as kind of a pre-heater to the collector box.  Both ends of the collector are fitted with quick-connects and shut off valves and the outlet is 1/2″ RV hose snaked through the 3/4″ steel nipple on the upper side-portion of the tank.  Though it needs a complete post of it’s own to do it justice, we have solar warmed water for showering now.  I till need to build legs under the collector and install curtains.

One of the most interesting projects we’ve done is the biosand filter for removing what the Big Turtle leaves behind in our spring water.  It’s built from a 55 gallon plastic barrel with the top cut off.  A fitting is installed a few inches from the bottom and an “L” attached to that.  From the “L,” pvc pipe long enough to reach about 2 inches above the top level of the sand is attached.  The barrel is filled with, first several inches of clean gravel.  The bottom fitting should emerge from the gravel layer.  Next at least 16 to 20 inches of clean, fine sand is added.   I used an old metal steamer set on top of a piece of 4″ pipe for a diffuser so the sand layer is only minimally disturbed when water is added.  Here’s a link describing the mechanics and biology of it all more clearly than I can.

Here are some more detailed pictures.

With the exception of the time I tried to improve on the plan by adding a layer of diatomaceous earth (trust me, don’t do that) we’ve been completely satisfied with the performance of this simple tool.  We’ve used it for almost a year now with no problems.  If I get nervous about the water quality chlorinate.  You can see how nice and clear the filtered water comes out.

6 thoughts on “Water and Waste

  1. hello, my name is dimitria and my husband and i are starting our own homesteading. so far the house was already on the acreage we have insulated and boarded the house and we have a tarp for our outside shower and our composting toilet. we start living in the home on friday 8-20-10. my email is deedickson24@yahoo.com if you would be so kind to responed to and let me know how this year has came out. thank you.

  2. Am starting to build one of these filters to filter the water from our spring on our land. Any recommendations on sand size/quantity? “Play sand” from the local big box hardware store? Or Mortar sand, or a layered combo of the 2? Thanks!

    1. We used mortar sand, about 10 bags in a plastic 55 gallon drum along with a bottom layer of about 4 or 5 inches of gravel. I got a wild hair (or was it a hare??? LOL) and tried putting a layer of diatomaceous earth in the middle. Bad idea. Don’t do that. After about a week it smelled like I had layered a dead cat in there.

      1. You’re welcome! That’s a great site. I looked at your blog. Your family is lovely. Best wishes for your new endeavors on the land, and let us know if we can be of any further help.

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