Grey and Black water reuse
From: Fred H Olson (
Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2007 14:52:58 -0700 (PDT)
Patricia DeWitt <patriciadewitt [at]> is the author of the
message below. It was posted by Fred the Cohousing-L list manager
<fholson [at]> which was originally posted in html only which the
list does not handle well.
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Milagro Cohousing  Tucson, Arizona
For more information go to green design on the website:

   Members of Milagro have long been deeply concerned regarding recycling,
especially water, in the desert where there is so little.  These concerns
induced us to choose to recycle all of our wastewater.

   In order to do that we constructed a wetlands wastewater treatment and
reclamation process.  Construction costs were partially offset by not
having to install sewage pumps to lift our sewage to the end of the city
sewage line. We also save the monthly sewer connection fee.

   In operating this system waste is first received by septic tanks which
settle the solids.  Septic outflow is fed to one of two treatment beds.
These treatment beds are 18 inches of gravel with a plastic 20-millimeter
liner to avoid losing the liquid in to the ground.  The gravel is topped
with four inches o f mulch, mostly woodchips, which is planted with Bull
Rushes and Sedges. The wastewater flows in one end of the treatment bed
and overflows out the other end. During its time in the gravel bed it is
further decomposed by bacteria living on the roots of the plants and on
the surface of the gravel. The outflow from the treatment beds is gathered
in a one thousand-gallon collection tank. A pump moves the reclaimed
wastewater from that tank up through the center of the community where it
is delivered from below ground to our landscaping. There is no odor.

   Patricia DeWitt

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