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Natural Greywater Cleansing System

This page is the open source earthbag village natural greywater cleansing system page that will evolve with the open source project-launch blueprinting of the One Community Earthbag Village (Pod 1). The goal of this page is to host complete details for construction and maintenance of this greywater system.






natural greywater system, cleaning water, water conservation, conserving water, water reuse, recycling greywater, earthbag village, One Community, Erin Ponte Landscape Design, eco water

Natural Greywater System Design 1.0 – Click to Enlarge


eco-greywater processing, natural greywater processing, eco-water recycling, water storage, water conservation, One Community, greywater designs for the future, all natural greywater cleaningThe Earthbag Village greywater system  is purposed to demonstrate safe processing of greywater for agricultural use as part of the One Community global transformation eco-strategy. It will process shower water and liquid waste only. It will not contain any sewage. Through a series of reed beds and ponds, we will provide primary, secondary, and tertiary treatment of water in different stages. The primary stage of the system is designated to remove any solid waste. The secondary stage enables the breakdown of ammonium into nitrate material, and the third stage removes these nitrates and any phosphates. The system becomes more aerobic as it progresses, and in the more aerobic conditions more efficient bacteria exist.

Here’s a video by a company developing a proprietary version (ours will open source) of this for urban implementation. It does an excellent job of explaining how natural water filtration works:

  1. Greywater enters the system through a series of spillways. These spillways will be constructed of stone and reed grasses, along with other native plantings.

  2. The water will then enter the initial ponds, which is a reed bed. Here the greywater will begin it’s cleansing process. The Initial pond will be surrounded by tree canopies and a marsh overflow area. Boulders will also be incorporated on the banks to encourage a diverse habitat for several species. The initial pond will also include constructed water movement (bubblers) to keep the water moving.

  3. Water will then move through another boulder spillway into the Collection Pond where the water depth will increase and “islands” will create more activity in the water. Again, trees, boulders, downed logs and marsh banks will surround this area. Water loving plantings will thrive here and help to purify the water as it continues it’s journey

  4. Finally, the water will enter a Deep Water Zone at which point it will be considered ready for irrigation. This water will be sent out to irrigate and/or pumped to a storage tank or cistern for later use. Some of the water will be pumped back to the Initial Pond in order to help circulate and aerate the water.

Here is a list of water purifying plants under consideration for growing in these natural pools. This list is from the book Growing Clean Water by Bill and John Wolverton and purposed for the most extreme water purification situations:

  1. Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) “the most effective plant and easy to grow – prolific”
  2. Kudzu (a prolific growing plant)
  3. Sorghum (uptake of contaminants goes into tops of plant mostly)
  4. Tomato (uptake of contaminants goes into the leaves mostly)
  5. Duckweed (Lemmna, Spirodela and Wolffia sp.)
  6. Alligator weeds (Alternanthera philoxeroides)
  7. Arrow arum (Peltandra virginica)
  8. Arrowhead (duck potato) showy white flowers
  9. Giant bulrush (Scirpus californicus)
  10. Soft-stem bulrush (Scirpus validus)
  11. Calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)
  12. Canna lily (Canna sp.)
  13. Cattail (Tipha  sp.)
  14. Elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta)
  15. Ginger lily (Hedychium coronarium)
  16. Maidencane (Panicum hemitomon)
  17. Pickleweed (Pontederia cordata)
  18. Common Reed (Phragmites communis)
  19. Soft rush (Juncus effusus)
  20. Torpedo grass (Panicum repens)
  21. Water canna (Thalia dealbata)
  22. Water iris (Iris pseudacorus)
  23. Water pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata)

In the book it is suggest to feed the plants to keep them producing. When a plant is full of contaminants (we’re not yet clear on how the average person would be able to determine this), disposal and replacement of the plant is suggested through composting (for non-food use) or burning.

  • The system is being designed to start small and increase use as it is proven effective
  • Greywater not processed by this system will be used for underground orchard watering
  • Water collected from dome homes, patios, roads, and walkways will be cleaned here too
  • Hot greywater from the adjacent showers will also be used to add heat to the Tropical Atrium
  • Some of this water, once cooled, will also be used underground to water the plants in this structure