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Turning water into … water

May 22, 2013
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A thunder emerges every time the shovel of the heavy digger hits a rock. The crew wonders whether a large rock will ruin what is otherwise a great plan. Will they need the explosives crew to come in? Why would anybody wan to disturb a beautiful landscape towards to the beach below?

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The answer is simple, but unfortunately expensive: because you cannot you dump the stuff from toilet and all the other dirty water into the Finnish nature. We are all used to visit the toilet and do not need to think too much what happens with all that “energy” that our body doesn’t need anymore and which “dump” into a sheer endless hole. Well, that only works when you are connected to the public canalization network in the civilized world. If you have a countryside home like Villa Linnea in the middle of nowhere there simply isn’t any common drainage network.

If you have a toilet with running water in your countryside estate in Finland you have essentially three options how to deal with the dirty water:

a) dump it all into a huge tank and have it pumped empty every now and then

b) build you own mini-water purification plant

c) build a combination of a) and b)

Option a) is straight forward but considering that all the waste water goes into a single tank, you need a huge tank (that you need to dig in) or you need a truck come once a quarter to empty it. Neither of those challenges felt like something I want to go for considering the amount of water from shower, dishwasher, washing machine, and toilet.

Option b) is kind of the modern overkill of waste management. It a multiphase purification system that has both mechanical, chemical, as well biological cleaning steps. It can be rather compact, but it has many limitations including that it needs electrical power, had lots of mechanical parts (which might brake after few years), needs to be used frequently (otherwise those bacteria are getting bored), and ultimately you anyway need to have it cleaned from a truck every 6 months. So, lots of possible things that can go wrong and you still end up having to call in the waste water removal truck at least once year.

Hence we went for option c): All the waste water from the toilet goes to a 1500 litre tank and the grey water from the shower, dishwasher, and sinks is filtered in a water filtering field which lets the water run through multiple layers of sand, gravel, and a filter sheet. It comes out in a format that nature can absorb naturally at the end of this water filtering field. The downside is that it needs to be 15 meter long and that does not include the tank yet. The technical drawing of this water filtering field is below.

JITA Technical DrawingThe location for the filtering field was easily decided: as much out of sight as possible. But since there is naturally slope towards the lake there are two options: to the left or to the right. We went for the option to place it as close to the rocks as possible to the right. Don’t ask me anymore why we chose that direction. I don’t even remember myself anymore. This is where the tank is supposed to be placed.

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P1010647sIt’s quite some equipment to buried and only the next post will reveal the actual digger in action. So, stay tuned.

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