Total Water Recycling

Another trip to the hardware store, and a few minor mishaps with PVC glue, later and we had the pump (with a nice new cord courtesy of Noel) connected to the tank. So we attached a hose to the top outlet of the pump and gave it a whirl.

Pump attached to tank

And it worked!

Water from the tank, to the pump, and back to the tank again

Noel got a little excited with the hose, there, but it had been a long day.

Sump water coming out of the pump

We cycled the water through the hose for a while and then decided to try attaching it to the irrigation system via the hose connection currently on there. And that worked, too, so here you have it, the very first complete cycle of water through the system, from groundwater to the sump to the water tank and back out to the ground again.

Sump water in the sprinklers

Now to deal with the fact that we have over 1200 gallons of water coming into this tank every day, so it will be completely full to overflowing in the middle of the night. I see some late-night lawn watering in my future.

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posted by ayse on 03/22/08


I've would really like to doing something like this at my house. But I think living in a cold climate would pose some problems like having to completely drain the system etc. before winter.

Also because the water is recirc. through your lawn back to the tank and out again, do you expect to use less fertilizer (organic/chemical)?

Yeah, in a cold climate you would either need to heat the tank to above freezing (most people in cold climates bury water tanks, actually) or drain it for winter. On the other hand, you would not have to irrigate during the winter (which we sometimes need to do), and you could refill it before irrigation needs started up again, so it'd workable.

As for the possible fertilizer thing, if we used a lot of chemical fertilizers I'm sure they would show up in the water and either save us reapplying them somewhat or worse, burn the heck out of the plants. However, we use them very rarely, and they didn't show up in the water when we had it tested, so as far as I know the ground filters any chemical fertilizers out at this level of use.

And if I were using them heavily enough that they showed up in the groundwater, I could save more on fertilizer by just using less, because sure much more of it would be lost somewhere in the soil column along the way.

The water is clean, and safe to drink. We had it tested because there's a former naval base not far from here, so we were concerned that the toxic plume from that sort of site was in the island's groundwater. If it is, it hasn't gotten here.

What a great setup. If I had a sump pump, I would totally consider that, even in this cold climate. We have to blow out our sprinkler systems anyway before the ground freezes, so it wouldn't be any more work.

But not having free groundwater available makes it moot. Rain barrels, however, are a possibility.

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