Living off-grid is longer a preserve of doomsday preppers. In fact, many Australian homeowners are seeking a life where they no longer have to rely on municipal services to provide their electricity and water supplies. This is in part due to the ever increasing cost of utilities and in part due to an increasing awareness of the environmental impact of municipally supplied services.
If you're setting up an off-grid, self-sufficient home, then you've probably already installed a renewable electricity system and a system for collecting and using rainwater. However, to be fully off-grid, you'll need to manage your wastewater on your property too.
Modern wastewater treatment plants, such as Econocycle, have a come a long way from the basic septic systems of the past. They not only store your waste-water, but they also treat and filtrate it so that it can be re-used on your property to supply your garden with its water needs. Here are two popular waste-water treatment systems that you might like to consider for your off-grid home.
1. Aerated wastewater treatment system
Aerated wastewater treatment systems use a series of adjoining chambers to separate, aerate, and clarify the waste. This type of system provides superior recycled water that is safe and hygienic to use to irrigate your garden above ground level.
An aerated system is generally more expensive than a standard septic system and may require more maintenance. However, in some regions, they are the preferred options due to council regulations and restrictions on domestic wastewater treatment.
2. Septic system with sand filtration
Traditional septic systems work by collecting the water, separating the liquid and solid waste, breaking down the solid waste with special anaerobic bacteria, and releasing the partially treated water into the surrounding ground. This water is not suitable for above ground use without secondary treatment.
A sand filtration system used in conjunction with a septic system is a low-tech but environmentally friendly option for secondary treatment. The wastewater is released into a sub-strata of sand which absorbs the remaining effluent and bacteria before filtering down to a collection pipe and being redirected above ground for safe use in your garden.
Before deciding which type of wastewater system is the best choice for your home, it's vital to check with your local council to find out if there are any restrictions which will limit your options. It's also vital to use a licensed wastewater treatment contractor to install your new system to ensure that it meets all legal and health and safety regulations for your state.