The Toilet of the Future

Caltech recently won an award by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation for creating a new concept on how to manage sanitation.  The toilet they designed uses our human by-products to create something useful for us all.

To Reinvent the toilet they use solar power and a self contained system to produce fertilizer, hydrogen and electricity.

You can see the Caltech video here:

You can see a news article here:

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2018918018_toilets15m.html

Toilet Repairs

Part of making sure your whole septic system works properly, is to also maintain the plumbing inside the house.  The toilet is a large part of your plumbing system.  There are a few items you can do yourself and save on your budget.  This link will show you how to replace a toilet tank fill valve.

Toilet Repair Video

Using technology to make a better world.

A College in Dublin Ireland has been researching and designing projects to create a better water system in many different ways.  From using the sun’s energy to disinfect drinking water to treating wastewater from single houses in low permeability subsoil settings.   For more detailed descriptions of their projects find their reports on their website:

Trinity College Dublin

Recycling Grey Water

It has become more popular in recent years to be environmentally conscious.  Some people now call it “Green Living”.  This includes many aspects of  life, from how to build your house to recycling many things we use on a daily basis.  One area of conserving or recycling your water at home is to reuse grey water.

Grey water according to wikipedia is: “wastewater generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing, which can be recycled on-site for uses such as landscape irrigation and constructed wetlands. Greywater differs from water from the toilets which is designated sewage or blackwater to indicate it contains human waste.”

There are many theories, designs and systems suggested by various companies and individuals.  They all do agree the easiest way to begin the process is to implement it when building a new house.  There are two basic methods.  One is to build a holding tank and purification system to process all grey mater and plumb the house so that all grey water stays out of the septic tank and flows through the other system.  The second method is to send grey water to a living plant purification system, which can not only act as a purification system, but also add beauty to your home.

Grey water is of course not drinkable, but can be used to flush toilets, water lawns, trees, gardens, and wash cars.  There is a large benefit not only in helping the environment by concerving the amount of drinkable water used in your home, but also keeping a healthier septic system by reducing the amount of waste water deposited into the tank.

There are a few things to keep in mind.  Some states have strict laws on how grey water can be used, and also how to correctly build a house if installing this type of system.  Also, adjusting the type of soaps and detergents you use should be considered.  Anything that contains salt or boron compounds can dehydrate plants.

For further resources try these sites:

 

Healthy Yard Happy Tank

Did you know that maintaining a healthy yard also helps your septic system?  Conserving water and preventing erosion are some of the ways to prevent pollution.

Here are some simple tips on how to landscape around your home better:

  • The best time to water outdoors is in the morning, both to reduce water waste and to promote healthy flora. Morning air is cooler, so less water is lost to evaporation than during the middle of the day. If you water in the evening, you run the risk of promoting fungi and bacterial diseases.
  • Encourage the right plants.
    * Grow grass or ground cover over the septic system to prevent soil erosion.
    * Plant beneficial evergreens, such as pines, near the leachfield to absorb water.Preserve existing trees, and plant trees and shrubs to help prevent erosion and promote infiltration of water into the soil.
    * Avoid planting water-loving trees such as willow, poplar, swamp maple, or cypress
  • When landscaping your yard, select plants that have low requirements for water, fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Cultivate plants that discourage pests. Minimize grassed areas, which require high maintenance.
  • Preserve existing trees, and plant trees and shrubs to help prevent erosion and promote infiltration of water into the soil.
  • Use landscaping techniques, such as grass swales (low areas in the lawn) or porous walkways, to increase infiltration and decrease runoff.
  • Leave lawn clippings on your lawn so that nutrients in the clippings are recycled and less yard waste goes to landfills.
  • If you elect to use a professional lawn care service, select a company that employs trained technicians and follows practices designed to minimize the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Compost your yard trimmings. Compost is a valuable soil conditioner that gradually releases nutrients to your lawn and garden. (Using compost will also decrease the amount of fertilizer you need to apply.) In addition, compost retains moisture in the soil and thus helps you conserve water.
  • Spread mulch on bare ground to help prevent erosion and runoff.
  • Test your soil before applying fertilizers. Over-fertilization is a common problem, and the excess can leach into ground water or contaminate rivers or lakes. Also, avoid using fertilizers near surface waters. Use slow-release fertilizers on areas where the potential for water contamination is high, such as sandy soils, steep slopes, compacted soils and verges of waterbodies. Select the proper season to apply fertilizers—incorrect timing could encourage weeds or stress grasses. Do not apply pesticides or fertilizers before or during rain because of the strong likelihood of runoff.
  • Calibrate your applicator before applying pesticides or fertilizers. As equipment ages, annual adjustments might be needed.
  • Keep storm gutters and drains clean of leaves and yard trimmings. (Decomposing vegetative matter leaches nutrients and can clog storm systems and result in flooding.)

Other landscaping tips:

  • Install wood decking, bricks or interlocking stones instead of impervious cement walkways.
  • Install gravel trenches along driveways or patios to collect water and allow it to filter into the ground.
  • Restore bare patches in your lawn as soon as possible to avoid erosion.
  • Grade all areas away from your house at a slope of one percent or more.

information found at: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/dosdont.cfm

Putting a Brick in the Toilet?

Do One Thing and Save 10 Gallons of Water a Day

The old folk wisdom that says place a brick in your toilet’s water tank is partially correct: It’s an effortless way to save water, but a brick isn’t the best choice of object. Use a plastic bottle filled with water instead.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to turn hippie and “let it mellow if it’s yellow” in order to save clean water — which is an increasingly scarce resource. Most toilets will flush perfectly well with a little less H2O. The average model uses three to seven gallons per flush. A bottle in the tank will displace enough water to save half a gallon to a gallon each use, or up to about 10 gallons a day in a typical home.

All you have to do is drop a little sand or some pebbles into a bottle, fill it with water, and put it in the tank, making sure not to disturb the toilet’s working parts. Many toilets flush well with a submerged 2-liter soda bottle, but experiment to find out what size bottles fit best and produce the best flush.

What’s wrong with a brick? They have been known to disintegrate in toilet water over time, leading to damaged plumbing. If you are a mason or otherwise determined to use a brick, wrap it in a sturdy plastic bag first.

You can also look for kits at local home improvement stores to convert American-style flushers to European-style dual-flushers, offering a half-flush option for liquids ($20 at homedepot.com). When it comes time for a new toilet, look for one with a WaterSense label. And, of course, be sure to fix leaks, which can cost $20 or more in wasted water.

For the original article go to: http://www.thedailygreen.com/going-green/tips/brick-in-toilet#ixzz1tAryk1HL

Why is My Toilet Bubbling?

Have you ever heard your toilet making strange sounds and look in to see bubbles coming up through your toilet?  This is usually a sign that your pipes are not draining properly and a backup in your septic system may occur soon.  There are a few things you can check by yourself before calling a plumber.

First, Check the air vent on top of your roof.  If a bird has built a nest or something is covering the hole it will not allow the sewer gases to vent properly and will cause them to find other options of escape.

Second, There may be a clog in your plumbing system.  Try to run water down various drains and flush the toilets to see if there is one drain that is draining slower than the others.  Also, watch to see if the toilet bubbles when a specific part of the system is used.  For example, when the washing machine is used does it cause the toilet to bubble.

Third, Buildup in the plumbing pipes, such as from soap scum, could also restrict free flow and cause the toilet to bubble.  Bubbling can also be caused by a pipe that is too small, has a leak, or is not angled correctly.

After checking all possible problems, if you are unable to fix it yourself there are additional solutions.

Calling a plumber.  A professional plumber will be able to snake out your plumbing lines and hopefully clear out any clogs.

Call a sewer professional to pump out your tank.  If it has been about 5 years since you moved into this house or someone else has pumped the system, there is a strong possibility that your septic tank is full and will need to be pumped out.

Call a septic system contractor.  If there are not clogs, the septic drain fields may be old and no longer functioning correctly.  If this is the case you will also have other signs of system failure, like a smelly liquid seeping onto the ground.  In this case replacing the entire field line area is the only solution you will have.

We are experts at replacing drain field lines and are willing to come look at your problems to see if they well need to be replaced.  Call us today for your free estimate.

Why are Costs Going Up?

Have you ever wondered about your water pipes? Why are our costs going up? The American Water Works Association has created a report about the current state of the water systems in America and what is ahead for us as a country and individual homes.

Much of our infrastructure systems in the United States, for example roads and electrical lines, were all installed many years ago and are now deteriorating to the point of needed replaced.  Our water and swear pipes are the same way in much of the country.  In addition, the population continues to grow and new systems are needing to be installed daily.  All of this adds up to a very large cost in both man hours and financial expense. To read more details read the whole report at:

http://www.awwa.org/files/GovtPublicAffairs/GADocuments/BuriedNoLongerCompleteFinal.pdf

Home Septic System Guide

Have you ever wondered what a septic system is?  Who is responsible to take care of it?  How to maintain it?

A brief description of a septic system:  It is one method of treating all waste water that exits your home through plumbing.  It will enter typically a septic tank and then a drainfield.

The homeowner is the individual responsible for all maintenance of each individual home septic system.  This means personally attending to problems or calling a professional when needed.  There are many ways to maintain your system and get the longest life out of each unit.

The EPA has a very nice brochure with detailed descriptions, pictures and information concerning your home septic system.  It can be found at:

http://www.epa.gov/npdespub/pubs/homeowner_guide_long_customize.pdf

The Future of Septic Tanks?

There are always new ideas and technology in almost every part of life.  All over the world individuals and businesses are looking for ways to improve our lives and be good to our planet.  With the rising population world wide and the decrease of open land, do we need to think about a better way to recycle, not only our trash, but other waste products as well.  In Ireland they have invented a new type of Septic System that involves using earth worms and further biodegrading our grey water before it enters the land and eventually the drinking water on our planet.  Follow this link to watch a little video about their new idea.

 

http://www.5min.com/Video/Waste-Management-Using-Earthworms-489145856