The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Greywater wetland inlet

Gathering bricks

The inlet of a greywater wetland can be trouble if you don't plan carefully.  This is where the most tasty (from a dog's point of view) gunk is going to land, so you want to close it in to prevent nibbling.  Water will also be gushing out of the pipes with quite a bit of force here, so it's handy to make a solid bottom in this area to prevent erosion.

There are lots of designs for greywater inlets, but I wanted to work with what I have on hand --- bricks from the old chimney.  I loaded up a wheelbarrow full of the best ones and brought them down to my budding wetland.

Wetland inlet

The pipes aren't in place yet, but they'll be bringing water in from the top-left side of the picture above.  I simply laid bricks loosely on the ground and put a few on the downhill side to further break up the flow.

Old fire brick

I'd been saving these fire bricks since they hold their shape much better in freezing, wet conditions than the bricks that made up the bulk of the chimney.  I assume "Davis Savage," which is stamped on each fire brick, refers to some long-ago local brick manufacturer.  I only had enough fire bricks to coat the bottom of the inlet, but that'll probably be the spot that stays wet longest and will need to be strongest.

Rocket wetland inlet

Some river rocks laid loosely on top may or may not be enough to keep Lucy out.  We'll have to wait and see.  I can hardly wait until these bricks moss over and the greywater trickles down them like a tiny waterfall.

(Can you tell building the greywater wetland is the most fun I've had all year?)

Our chicken waterer is the perfect gift for a backyard chicken-keeper.

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

keep in mind that bricks may disintegrate in water especially if they freeze and thaw. older bricks are more likely to do this.

Comment by tammy Sat Jan 5 11:08:39 2013
I meant to add to my previous comment that I love this idea. My grandfather had a similar greywater process when I was a child. I don't recall any problems with odor or critters. I've been trying to get my husband to consider doing this. Hopefully your project will inspire him to buy in to this idea.
Comment by tammy Sat Jan 5 11:19:25 2013
Looks like a well thought out plan to remove 'waste'. I know you and Mark produce significant lying less greywater than most homes but the addition of rainwater should add significant amounts of water to your marshland project. What are your plan for this windfall? Gains Garde offers several suggestions.
Comment by Tom Sat Jan 5 11:54:11 2013
Hi Anna - So exciting to see the progress on your wetlands. I love reading about this kind of stuff. It might be the perspective of the photo, but it all seems pretty close to the house. Aren't you afraid of mosquitoes during the summer? Or at least the ground becoming saturated and boggy and thus mess with the foundation of your house?
Comment by Rena Sat Jan 5 15:44:49 2013

tammy --- You'll notice I carefully picked out the fire bricks to go on the bottom, where they'll have the most sustained time in water. These bricks seem much more resilient in dealing with the elements.

Tom --- We live in a very wet climate, so it actually doesn't make sense to try to irrigate with our greywater. We may eventually hook up rain barrels to our currently-halfway-constructed gutters to catch rainwater for irrigation, but even there it seems a lot easier to expend a little energy to pump water out of the creek when we need it.

Rena --- We live next door to a swamp already, but mosquitoes are extremely minimal due to the bats and dragonflies we encourage. I don't think our wetland will cause any extra problems, especially since the goal is to have water soak into the ground in less than 24 hours, which won't give larvae time to develop. As for the foundation --- we don't have one, since we live in a trailer. :-) But this is all downhill from the trailer, and part of the goal is to channel roof runoff away from our living zone too, so it should help with water problems rather than hurt.

Comment by anna Sat Jan 5 16:57:48 2013
we always had a similar system growing up in the 60's but we had a grease trap at was just a large pipe about 2' long burried on end with a top on it it would occasionaly get cleaned out but it worked well
Comment by james Sun Jan 6 00:49:54 2013

Bricks do not necessarily disintegrate in water. The brick-built castle below (slot Loevestein) has been sitting in the water for 650 years now.


Comment by Roland_Smith Sun Jan 6 06:31:56 2013
Clyde Dog recently discovered the outlet for our kitchen greywater -- yuk. I've been wanting to do something about our line for a while now since it just flows into the creek and I've felt guilty about that since I found out about it, but this recent development might prompt me to follow your lead on this type of project sooner than later!
Comment by mitsy (aka, sarah) Mon Jan 7 10:11:14 2013

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.