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Hello. I’ve been researching in preparation for installing a grey-water system in my home, and I’m not sure what direction to go in. We will be diverting water from the kitchen sink, shower, and laundry, with the goal of cleaning it enough to water plants and send it into a marshy area on our property. We use only biodegradable soaps. Initially I thought slow sand filtration was best, because of not having to clean the filter medium, but then I read a forum post on another site that suggested it would be unable to handle laundry output. I’ve also been unable to find much info on fast-sand filter maintenance – people say you have to wash the sand frequently, but I’m not sure what that entails, or what ‘frequently’ means. Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks a lot.

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You’d need a pump for a fast sand filter (like for a swimming pool filter). These systems need to have the sand back flushed with pressurized water, and are complicated, so probably not a good option for your situation.

Slow sand filters are typically used for drinking water systems and are not good for a greywater system- the sand clogs up and it’s hard to clean. Plus, you don’t need that type of filtration for the system you are describing.

I’d recommend using mulch basin filters, they work great and are easy to maintain. Just dig a shallow depression and fill it with mulch. Direct greywater into the mulch basin so the wood chips and microbes and macrobes can filter and process the water. (Spread out the water so you’re only directing a portion of the total greywater into each basin)

Also, I would reconsider sending the water to a marshy area. If there are plants, in particular trees, you want to irrigate you can construct a branched drain system and water them with the greywater. Or, if you just want to dispose of the water responsibly, plant water loving plants near your basins but don’t let it get “marshy” (or else you can have odor and mosquito issues). The water shouldn’t be visible.

Good luck with your system!

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