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Dripp Irrigation

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by cgaengineer, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    Has anyone worked with using effluent as a from of drip irrigation for lawns? Right now at my home I have 2 tanks, one for solids and one for grey water. The grey water is pumped up hill to my to a distribution box which feeds the 190 LF of Infiltrator plastic chambers. I understand the health department requirements for a standard drip irrigation system as I work in the civil engineering industry and we design septic systems for homes (Among other things).

    My question is has anyone used or even thought of using this type of system for their lawns or a customers lawns. Right now with water being as scarce as it is in GA this is a perfect way to get virtually free water and rather then pumping it in chambers up the hill which are 24" under ground and doing nothing for my lawn. I would like to have a valve so that I could manually control the flow to the existing portion of the system in the winter time when water requirements are low.

    They already have systems built like this, but I am unsure about retrofitting and existing system.


    With the tubing sold in 500' lengths, I would need 2 rolls to cover my rear lawn at 12" spacing, and likely another roll for my front lawn with a directional bore under my driveway to the island in the middle of my looped drive.

    All over the country re-use water is used for irrigation, but mostly spray irrigation as the water has been treated. With direct injection into the soil treatment is not needed as the soil does the filtering and cleansing.
  2. jefftb

    jefftb LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 563

    Yes. That's my main business as a utility contractor but on a much larger scale. Like 80-100,000 gallons and up of reclaimed water going to subsurface drip dispersal. Have a project right now where we are looking at 500,000 - 1M gallons of effluent to drip-that'd be a lot of acreage of drip tube-on the order of 500,000 linear feet for the 500,000 gallons! :dizzy:

    The problem you have is that there is no intermediate treatment step in the process and ours have that. You can certainly do it with septic tank effluent but the maintenance will be higher and require greater filtration than you have now. It will also require lots of field flushing. Finally, I'd look at adding a cleansing port to the system as well. You may get enough organic buildup in the tube that would need some chemical addition (bleach feed) to break it down and kill it. That's where field flush comes in.

    From the dripworksusa website check out the filters section. Also be aware that drip tube in the big box stores is not designed for wastewater-potable only. Also, all of that nurtrient rich wastewater is going to cause some serious striping of the vegetation (i.e. greener grass). Finally be aware that this has been done in Georgia on straight septic tank effluent. Most systems now have the intermediate treatment step due to significant operational issues over the life of the system.

    I can input on the design if you want to continue on.

    I'm a big NetaFim Wastewater Dealer in the South.
  3. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    Delta Environmental has the even flow tubing with root blockin and X amount of emitters per LF which is what we have used in our designs before. The system we design are usually a kit containing an ATU, conrol panel and the line. The ATU is a bubbler that aerates the grey water and removes most of the harmful BODs before it is injected into the drip lines. The systems use zones on timers to reduce the amount of dosing per area so that soil does not get to saturated (These systems are usually used do to soil conditions being bad enough to warrant their use). The lines on the delta system are spaced at 24" if I remember correctly.

    I was wanting to know if someone has taken this idea and refined it to work on a smaller scale for a home either spray or drip specifically with irrigation of lawns in mind. In the state of GA spray irrigation of effluent for homes in not allowed so this would have to be worked out with EPD prior to marketing or use. Delta currently manufactures a system that uses spray heads but is not approved for use in GA even though clorine is injected prior to dosing.

    My thoughts were a system that uses drip or spray heads during the growing season, but turns off during rain (Since it would be shallow line if drip) and switches over to the conventional system during the winter/off season.

    The batch system you speak of is something I have seen used around here and is approved through EPD, but for some reason the individual systems that work in a similar way for single family are not. I have also seen a small scale treatment plant that handled 6 townhomes and it was drip irrigation.
  4. JoeinJasper

    JoeinJasper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 173

    I'm also in N Georgia and have designed a gray water system that filters, stores, and distributes the waste water into the landscape. I have been given the green light on this system by our county EPD health dept., and have 3 builder/developers that are going to put them into their 'next' (?) project. The state requires the waste water to be used only as sub surface drip irrigation.
    The key is to filter the water before storing it, then again when using it. You will also need to store enough to water heavily, then collect more. You will probably not be able to collect enough to water a large lawn, maybe 3-5k and some beds.
    The state doesn't restrict the use of gray water in the the landscape and as much as 65% of household water can be reused, this is a source of 'free' water that can benefit everyone. especially us contractor. Joe
  5. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    I use about 6-8000 gallons per month currently and its being wasted by putting it into Infitrator chambers, so yes, you are right about the small about of water being available for irrigation. It would likely be best if I chose to irrigate my front lawn as its the smaller lawn and its the one you see. As far as using grey water directly from my home (Showers, tub and washing machine), this would be hard as my home is on a slab and would be tough to retrofit but I understand where you are going.

    I think we will start to see regulations ease up a bit on drip and spray irrigation in the State of GA before much longer...what a great way to use waste water.
  6. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    This system wasnt on Lake Hartwell by any chance was it?
  7. jefftb

    jefftb LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 563

    Designed/installed alternative system of the type you describe using small scale advanced treatment system going to drip in Georgia (Rome)(and am familiar with what Delta does) 8 years ago. It was approved under experimental clause for the single house using septic tank/packed bed reactor/storage tank for drip dose and drip tube. BOD going to drip was less than 10 mg/L and TSS was less than 5. It was expensive and the homeowner's option of last resort.

    For the past 17 years I have provided design/build services for large scale developments, schools, business parks, etc. using the same technology-most of those systems range from 2000 gallons to 120,000. The controlling factor for all of them is the advanced treatment process prior to the drip.

    15-20 years ago Perc-Rite pioneered the use of drip tube on septic tank effluent going to drip w/in the state of Georgia. The long term results were not satisfactory. I recently competed with Perc Rite on design build project in Georgia for a school wastewater project in NE Corridor-they used an advanced treatment process prior to the dripfield.

    You can do what you describe-it will require maintenance. You can get variance for the system(s)-it requires effort since GaEPD has quite a few regulations.

    Also, be advised that the State of Georgia, in light of the drought last year, just recently decided that these systems were "100% consumptive" and that traditional discharge to surface receiving streams was preferred due to the State's non-functioning aquifer system.

    I kid you not, Georgia would prefer you put your wastewater into the stream/river network than recharge the ground aquifer network. The soil constituent provides tremendous additional treatment process due to soil dynamics and the rivers do not.

    Here in my state it is complete opposite-we'd rather the treated effluent recharge aquifer and not discharge into surface water.

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