Greywater wetland in winter
One of our readers asked for an update on our greywater wetland
and I'm glad she did. There are two kinds of projects that I seldom
post followups about here on the blog --- ones that fail unspectacularly
and ones that work so well I never have to think about them again. Our
greywater wetland falls into the latter category.
Specifically, Kathleen asked:
"I wonder, do you ever get a foul smell from stagnant water? Do you
send big chunks down the "drain" and do you do anything to winterize
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We did have a short
period the first summer when we smelled a bit of stagnant water wafting
back up the pipes...but before we got around to fixing the problem,
nature took over. I assume the right bacteria colonized the wetland and
broke down the odor-causing problem, because we didn't notice a
troubling smell again.
In terms of sending big
chunks down the drain, we don't do so on purpose (like you might with a
garbage disposal unit in a modern sink), but we also aren't careful when
letting dishwater drain out, so some pretty big chunks do
get through. Due to our big pipes, and perhaps to the roof water I
channeled in to flush out those pipes every time it rains, we haven't
had any problems resulting from food chunks causing blockages.
Finally, no, we don't
winterize our system in any way. Water is more likely to stand in the
wetland over the winter, but it still sinks in pretty quickly, and we
haven't noticed any problems. Overall, I'd say this is a system that you
should feel free to replicate exactly as we built it --- it's an
awesome addition to our farm, and the cattails are both pretty and (as
we learned this fall) can be fed to goats when fresh and green. What's
not to love?