Get our free book (in Spanish or English) on rainwater now - To Catch the Rain.

Sanctuary greywater system

From Appropedia
Jump to: navigation, search
ENGR215 Project Page in Progress
This page is a project page in progress by students in Engr215. Please refrain from making edits unless you are a member of the project team, but feel free to make comments using the discussion tab. Check back for the finished version on 12/16/2016.

Team Four Squared: Top: Baylee Carson, Middle: Jennifer Turk, Juliette Cortez, Bottom: Christopher Bautista


Fig 2: Overview of Greywater system
Fig 1: Overview of CAD

The purpose of this project was to build a greywater filtration system to reduce fresh water use and inspire other to create reusable water resources. Our client hosts large parties and events regularly meaning many people from the community spend time at the site. Our team made the system look as inspirational as possible so that when community members see it, it may inspire them to create one of their own. A "How To" Manual can be found below to allow others to recreate our system at their own homes. This system specifically filters water from two kitchen sinks, however, it can be modified to filter washing machine runoff or showers. Below is a description of the final project team four squared built at the Sanctuary.


Team Four Squared is a group of Humboldt State University students who are a part of the Engineering 215 - Introduction to Design class of Fall 2016. Our client, The Sanctuary, located on J street in Arcata, CA is a community building dedicated to offering a creative space where members of the community can grow, create and build not just physical things but experiences and memories as well. This greywater system will serve not only as a water filtration station but also as inspiration for others to build their own greywater filtration systems.

Problem statement and criteria

The objective of this project was to reduce the amount of city water that the Sanctuary uses outdoors. Our system filters the kitchen sink water from the neighboring house allowing the Sanctuary to use recycled water for outdoor use. The recycled water that will be coming from our system will be primarily used for irrigating the sanctuary's garden.

Criteria Importance Constraints
Aesthetics 10 People need to be inspired to want to replicate this project.
Reuse of materials 9 90% of the materials used must be reused or upcycled.
Cost 8 No more than $400 may be spent
Maintenance 7 The system needs to be able to be maintained by 2 adults.
Ease of use 6 The system needs to be able to be used by any adult.
Safety 5 Humans or animals may not come in contact with the greywater.

Description of final project

Cost Table

Total Costs of Grey water System:

Quantity Material Source Cost ($) Total ($)
2 bathtubs 25.00 50.00
1 2.5" Plug 5.43 5.43
1 2" plug 0.00 0.00
1 2" hole to elbow adapter 8.99 8.99
1 2" hole to hose adapter 13.99 13.99
6 1 foot long 2" wide pipe 0.00 0.00
20 Plants 0.00 0.00
6 baffles 0.00 0.00
2 elbow pipes 6.99 13.98
10 5 gal pea gravel 0.50 5.00
10 5 gal larger gravel 0.50 5.00
2 screens 0.00 0.00
Total Cost $102.39

Testing Results

The Sanctuary will not be using this system during the winter. So in February we will have more data. This video describes how the water would flow if the system was working properly.

This page or section needs work on grammar, spelling, clarity and/or layout. You can help by editing.
This comment was left: would be awesome to see a video

How to build

This section gives a step by step explanation on how to build this system, explaining piping and materials used.

This page or section needs work on grammar, spelling, clarity and/or layout. You can help by editing.
This comment was left: Is there a reason why there is a link to how to? Give overview of section. In explanations, be clear of instructions i.e. think as the reader can you follow along. Introduce this section.
Greywater system HOW TO
Example picturesExplanation
Caption Step 1 : PIPING INTO GREASE TRAP: First, cut a hole 2" below the rim of the bucket. It should match the size of the pipe coming from the house(greywater input).

Two buckets that are side by side are used to divide the grease. In the first bucket, grease floats to the top while less greasy water flows to the next bucket.

Caption Step 2 : FIRST GREASE TRAP BUCKET: Inside this bucket is a screen 3"-4" deep. Grease is trapped at the top of the screen which contains straw and other grease absorbing plants. Less greasy water remains at the bottom of the bucket and passes into the second bucket through a pipe 1" above the bottom of the bucket.
Caption Step 3 : PIPING & SECOND GREASE TRAP: A hole should be cut 1" above the bottom of the second bucket. A 5" long pipe connects the first and second buckets together. Less greasy water then flows into the second grease trap bucket. Another hole should be cut 1" below the rim. Once water rises to the top of the second bucket, it will flow into tub 1.
Caption Step 4 : CONNECTING PIPE & PLANTER BUCKET IN TUB 1: The pipe from the second grease traps connect to an ABS elbow pipe that allows the pipe to go towards the bottom of the tub. This pipe resides 5" deep inside the planter bucket. Right underneath the output of the pipe is a screen 5" in depth so that they fit snug in the planter bucket. The planter bucket contains a series of small holes on the sides so water can seep out.
Caption Step 5 : TUB 1: Contains a planter bucket. Around this planter bucket is large gravel that fills the tub past its overflow hole. Vertical baffles are to be placed on opposite sides, about 4" apart from one another. Baffles should be touching the bottom and sides of the tub. Plants can be arranged in any way but should be 5" deep in the tub.
Caption Step 6 : PIPE REDIRECTING WATER TO TUB 2: Inside the overflow hole is a "rubber layer" that goes around a 2" diameter ABS pipe. An ABS elbow then connects to a 2" diameter pipe that leads to tub 2.
Caption Step 7 : PLANTER BUCKET IN TUB 2: The pipe connects to an ABS elbow that allows the pipe to go towards the bottom of the tub. This planter bucket is similar to tub 1.
Caption Step 8 : TUB 2: Contains planter bucket and small gravel the fills the entire tub, over the overflow hole. Horizontal baffles are placed 4" apart from each other and large rooted plants are inserted 6" under the gravel.
Caption Step 9 : CONNECTING OVERFLOW HOLE TO HOSE: Inside the overflow hole is "rubber layer" that goes around a 5" long pipe. this pipe connects to a male adapter with a brass female hose and male pipe. Then the hose attaches and is ready for irrigation.


It is important to properly maintain this system otherwise it may not work properly. The majority of time maintaining this system is only done every few years, with small amounts of cleaning on an as needed basis.


This maintenance schedule will provide steps that can be taken on a daily,weekly,monthly,and yearly basis to ensure proper functionality of the system.

  • Check for clogs or build up in the input tank, empty and wash out the filter as needed (3 min).
  • Check for clogs or leaks in the outputs of tub 1 and 2, empty and wash out as needed (2-10 Min).
  • Take out any plants that may have died as needed(2 min).
  • Clean out any build up that may have formed in the input buckets of tub 1 and tub 2 (5 min).
  • Replace the hay filter in the input tanks and remove excess grease (5 min).
  • Check to make sure there isn't any build up of debris in the pipes of inputs (5 Min).
  • Replace any buckets or pipes that may have been broken or cracked during the winter months
Every 3 years
  • Run copious amounts of water through the rocks and plants to clean out all of the nutrients and debris that have formed over time (1 hour).
  • If necessary replace any rocks, buckets, or pipes that need to be replaced due to damage or malfunctions (1 hour).


This is how to maintain. The step by step how to template {{How to}} is most likely best for this part.

How to Do Something
Backpack frame bike trailer Step 1 : Do something.
Aleiha's parabolic solar cooker Step 2 : Do something really complicated but made simple, etc.


This is only how to troubleshoot basic operation.

Problem Suggestion
Water is not flowing freely through the system Check for clogs and debris buildup in the output pipes of tub 1 and tub 2.
There is a clog in the piping After knowing where a blockage is present. You have to disassemble the pipes connections using a flat head screw driver to be able to remove the blockage.
The system has objectionable odors Run enough water through the system to ensure the system's water is not still

Discussion and next steps

This page or section needs work on grammar, spelling, clarity and/or layout. You can help by editing.
This comment was left: use this section as discussion and next steps after testing that improve the system. Include thoughts for the overall system
  • Connect the grey water system to the drain of the sink inside the house.
  • Attach a garden hose to the overflow water outlet of tub 2 so plants can be watered with the greywater in the system.
  • Allow the roots of the plants in grey filtration system to grow to better absorb nutrients in the greywater
  • Use the system to inspire spectators in ways to conserve water and live sustainably


No Author, Watershed Protection Plan Development Guidebook. (n.d.) Appendix B Description of Commonly Considered Water Quality Constituents. Retrieved from Authors, Roslynn Brain, Jeremy Lynch and Kelly Kopp. (2015). Defining Terms: Greywater, Blackwater and Clearwater. Retrieved from

CCAT greywater marsh (2008), Last modified: September 6, 2011. Retrieved from

Samoa Hostel grey water island, Last modified: March 23, 2013. Retrieved from Grey water Ecuador La lagrima purificadora, Last Modified: January 11, 2012. Retrieved From AEF greywater, Last Modified: September 18, 2015. Retrieved from Arnold, J. (2016, September 23). Personal Interview. Broome, Jencks, Jurosek, Kehoe, Kraai, Ortiz, Rhodes, Allen, Knott, Day, Panelli, Weintraub. 2012. San Francisco graywater design manual or outdoor irrigation. Retrieved from City of Arcata Environmental services, retrieved from Tricia Edgar 2013, Phytoremediation: Marsh Plants that Clean Grey Water, retrieved from Emergency Regulations Filed with the Secretary of State on August 4, 2009 2007 CPC (Title 24, Part 5, Chapter 16A, Part I) – Non-potable Water Reuse Systems retrieved from Certificate of Compliance with Final Express Terms Filed with the Secretary of State on January 27, 2010 (2007 CPC, Title 24, Part 5, Chapter 16A, Part I – Non-potable Water Reuse Systems retrieved from Allen, Laura and Erskine, C.W. (1999).”Greywater Action.” <>(Sep. 25, 2016) Pinderhughes, Raquel. (1969). “Ecology Center.” <> (Sep. 25, 2016) Ludwig, Art. (1989). “Oasis Design.” <> (Sep. 25, 2016) California Plumbing Code. (2013) “alternative water sources for non-portable applications,” California Building Standard Commission, California, Chapter 16

No Author, (2010).” Northeast Region Certified Crop Adviser (NRCCA) Study Resources.”<>(Sept. 27, 2016)