-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Thursday, October 16, 2008

update on wastewater plans

We're in the throes of trying to sort out the wastewater treatment system.

Even though it will be years yet before we install, we have to get the plans in place now in order to be get the building permit for the old house.

It's a little frustrating given that technology will no doubt advance in 4 years, but given that we've had no luck getting responses from local plumbers in Maryborough, it looks like we'll have to go with getting people up from Melbourne to quote and ultimately do the work.

(The way I figure it, if people aren't interested in helping us out now with a quote/plan even when we offered to pay for their time to do it, then they don't deserve our business in 2-3 years when we come to install).

We're in discussions with Septech, the company who won major brownie points nearly 2 years back by being the only one of 5 to respond acceptably to an email.

Dad has been to see them this week and I've had a phone conversation too, with a nice guy called Michael Pound. Michael needs to call the Amherst health officer (John Kelly) to clarify what the precise requirements are, and make a site visit before he can give a final quote. We'll then need to pay 20% deposit before he'll work on drawing up the plans.

The one hiccup is that in speaking to him it became clear that the system didn't do precisely what I'd understood it did. Although it does recycle everything: greywater and blackwater, treating it so it is safe for irrigation; because of stupid council regulations it isn't allowed to be stored!!

So you currently can't do what I'd envisaged, which was to store it in a special tank that could use to selectively irrigate the garden. It just waters it 24/7 along the 400m of irrigation pipe. And the pipe has all these restrictions on how far away from the house it needs to be etc so I can't even use it to water the courtyard garden which is the area that will need water the most. It's *very* annoying.

It's not a total writeoff though: there are trials underway with some councils in which they are letting people store the treated water to re-use on their property, and Michael said he was confident that by the time we come to live there it will be allowed. Fingers crossed.

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