Hello, I've been working designing and getting permitted a greywater system here in Indiana for 4 years now. I was recently turned down on getting an experimental permit for a branched drain system by the health department and now i'm looking at constructed wetlands as my next best option. Does anyone know what indiana requires for constructed wetlands? I know there are some over-built designs which include septic tanks (over-built if you're not putting blackwater in it) and some that have stringent ways of disposing of the effluent. We want a system that's simple and where the water can go from the constructed wetlands to mulch swales to irrigate fruit trees. If anyone has any advice it'd be extremely helpful...
If your wetlands in inside a greenhouse and does not "discharge into US waters" it is not governed since the only thing which is governed is that which IS discharged into US waters. We have a closed system in a greenhouse attached to our living quarters.All gray water flows into the greenhouse, travels through and is purified by the plants/microbes.fungi and then flows (via gravity) into our white water tank, From their it is pressurized, travels through a carbon filter, and is reused inside the living quarters. We have no outside water connection to a well or commercial mains. We lose some water due to evaporation and plant transpiration. This lost water is replenished by capturing rain water from the steel roof. I tied to get a permit and even talked with the engineers from the gov but they wouldn't even visit or discuss the matter since we are not governed by their rules and regulations. Our toilet waste and garbage are composted. DO NOT speak with local health department officials. They are not in a position to hep you. Go to the top if you need to talk with anyone. If you need more info feel free to call me at 812-360-2549 after 10 AM daily.
If you wish to learn more about such "closed systems", please feel free to join the discussion at our sustainable systems and communities think tank located at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/andorprojex where many people have gathered to discuss the fine points and particulars. I did research on CELSS (closed Ecological Life Support Systems) parallel to NASA, aiming at producing a "living machine" which not only recycles waste organics, water, and air but also produces a continuous food supply, clean water, and fresh air. I designed for the moon and Mar but we need them here on Earth, ASAP. I've built 2 homes as "test beds" for this ecotechnology, working out the details of how to best do it, trying any number of methods to discover the best.
I've got a constructed wetland in Northeast Indiana. Mine is for our on farm processing plant. Our system is way overkill/overbuilt for what you are wanting to do. I think you will find that constructed wetlands are an experimental system in Indiana. We had to call our state Senator to get state approval for ours. Ours works great. I could easily see how you could build one for grey water where you could re-use the water in the house for non-potable uses.
We're a startup food business in Indiana also interested in a greywater system. Our food processing facility, which may be based in an office trailer, will have no toilet, no garbage grinder, no chlorine or any other chemical will be used. We'll sanitize with ozone, which degrades to oxygen in 30 minutes (FDA approves this). We'll use only biodegradable detergents that we'd be glad to pour directly on our garden. So the drain water from this facility will be completely suitable as is to irrigate, or just let it run on the ground, at least as far as environmental safety is concerned.
We need to be as low budget as possible, yet the facility itself must comply with health regulations. We have a food establishment permit and do not intend to sell our products 'underground', but rather take the route of compliance. What I'm wondering is how to approach the sewage aspect of this project. One question is do different regulations apply to a movable facility? And that question aside, how can we approach the regulation authorities we will have to work with on a proposal to do without any sewage system at all, and either irrigate or just let the drain water run on the ground? Does running it on the ground constitute discharge into US waters? I gather irrigation does not, even though it will still end up in US waters.
Andrew, I'm not sure what county you are in because it is in all likelihood going to differ from county to county. One thing you might check with is look into whether IDEM still has its small land application program. I know when we were in the initial steps of wanting to build our on farm (meat) processing plant Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) had a program for land application of waste water of I believe less than 250,000 gallons per year with some pretty reasonable requirements. In our situation, our county required that all waste water go through some kind of treatment process and not be land applied. In order for us to have meat inspection, its required for the county health department to sign off that our waste system was approved.
I'm just guessing that any kind of drainfield, irrigation, etc is going to be considered discharge and require plan approvals from either the county or state department of health (or both) and/or the approval of IDEM.
I get lots of calls from people wanting to build meat processing plants and the one thing that virtually everyone doesn't include in the plans is the high cost of treating and handling the wastewater.
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In June, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the Clean Power Plan that will “maintain an affordable, reliable energy system, while cutting pollution and protecting our health and environment.” Sounds like a winner!