Playa Tested Greywater Evaporator

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.

Postby Oldguy » Mon May 04, 2009 5:24 pm

My christmas tree holder is a round plastic cone, it even has a round hole in the center to hold a water hose. Screw attachments to hold tree/hose can be adjusted to move hose off-center to high-side for even flow off edge of plastic picnic table top ,which also has ready-made hole in center of table. I think burlap potato sacks are better than hardware cloth because they can wick up water from baby pool even when pump is off.

I was gifted a box of a dozen aquarium bubblers with hoses this past year from a craigslister. I've been trying to think of a way to use them. They would just oxygenate the water I think ,and just cause an algea bloom. But bubbles are pretty, maybe throw in some soap to do the Lawrence Welk thing. I've got a generator and a power strip to run 110v. for the fountain pump and bubblers.
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Postby DrPeffer » Tue May 05, 2009 4:11 pm

Oldguy: Excellent suggestion. I'm gonna look into the christmas tree base. Thanks!

Even MORE excellent is the potato sack idea. You'd still need a hardware cloth or equivalent skeleton for it, but...Brilliant! I was just wondering about how to incorporate some wicking elements into the design.

And dragonpilot: Yup...Sounds like you had a world-class douchebag next to you there. Sorry it sucked so bad for you. We're always cool to our neighbors with our generator. The fault isn't with the evaporator, or the use of a generator. The fault is with selfish asshole burners, of whom I'm glad to say I've only met a fleeting few.
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Postby OmlessWanderer » Wed May 06, 2009 2:11 pm

Why not use a solar still instead of, or to supplement an evaporator?

A solar still will allow you to safely reclaim the water from just about any source, except a vehicles radiator. No generator needed, and it will reduce your overall water need and consumption. A large enough, and/or multiple stills will keep up with your evaporator, too.

Hell, now that I think about it, it would only make sense to combine the two into a super still - you would be approaching a commercial "water maker" that boaters use to turn salt water into drinking water when out to sea!
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Postby mdmf007 » Wed May 06, 2009 4:42 pm

Problem with distilling greywater is in the fact that some of the soaps, cleaners and other agents that makes greywater will evaporate and condense below the temperature that water will.

Distilling water to purify it is usually done to remove mechanical adultrants, not water soluble chemicals. Dirt and bacteria do not evaporate, and stay in the heated chamber. You may only concentrate the goo in the water.

Water makers at sea, turn seawater (relatively clean and only adulterated with salt) into freshwater by reverse osmosis. They pump it through a mesh so fine that only water molecules, and not salt makes it through. Bacteria, plankton, and the other bits go overboard in the brine.

later
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Postby Elorrum » Wed May 06, 2009 5:14 pm

re: the bubblers. I used to have a simple aquarium filter that used an air stone and tube to raise water from the bottom of the filter resevoir back into the aquarium. It hung on the outside of the tank. Water going into the top of the filter was moved by a simple syphon tube from the bottom of the tank. I don't think that single bubbler could handle a large rise, but it did lift the water above the water level of the tank, and about 8 inches from the bottom of the filter resevoir. I always wanted to experiment with that and see what the maximum rise and capacity would be for a pump application. I don't think it would be too practical, not a huge improvement over just using gravity really... but the bubbles would look nice.
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Postby EspressoDude » Wed May 06, 2009 6:30 pm

OmlessWanderer wrote: you would be approaching a commercial "water maker" that boaters use to turn salt water into drinking water when out to sea!


3 - 6 gallons per hour at $3000.00 - $5000.00 12volt models draw about 18amps.. That means a generator or 300-400watt solar panel plus a battery bank.


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Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu May 07, 2009 9:46 am

How about trucking the grey water back in the same container that you trucked it in with? Wouldn't that be greener?
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Postby heikediguoren » Fri May 08, 2009 3:34 pm

[quote="mdmf007"]Problem with distilling greywater is in the fact that some of the soaps, cleaners and other agents that makes greywater will evaporate and condense below the temperature that water will.

Distilling water to purify it is usually done to remove mechanical adultrants, not water soluble chemicals. Dirt and bacteria do not evaporate, and stay in the heated chamber. You may only concentrate the goo in the water.
later[/quote]

Which cleaners will become concentrated "goo"? Soap ends up as a scum on evap ponds after the water vaporizes, so that's not it.

Maybe ammonia or bleach? But those would evaporate out of the water if you let it sit around in the open air for an hour or two, with minimal loss of potable water.

I guess I'll find out if I bring a solar still out there.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Fri May 08, 2009 3:56 pm

How about distilling beer?

No, that's not helpful, is it? 8)
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Postby DrPeffer » Mon Jul 20, 2009 3:28 pm

I've completed building-out of our camp's water evaporator based on Mr. Polando's design. Because the problem of keeping the disc level seemed to be a major sticking point for lots of people, I came up with what seems to be a really good solution:

The design is as shown in the original post, very straight-forward. But I've added a piece to the wood disc: A roof vent pipe with a mushroom cap. As you can see in the pic, the water flows up the vertical PVC conduit, where it hits the 'roof' of the cap, thereby dispersing evenly around the circular disc. There are steel bands about 1 inch wide that secure the cap together, so there are a couple of gaps in the flow...Meaning, not all 360 degrees are active. But I think this will go a long way towards evenly distributing the water over the horizontal surface.

Two more things: You'll note that instead of stapling the disc edges to the hardware cloth, I skewered two dowels across the diameter of the hardware cloth, and the disc simply rests on them. No stapling necessary, and should it need to be leveled-out on the playa, that can be done using shims or something at the TOP of the unit, rather than having to prop up the whole column by digging your hands into the nasty water. In addition, for what its worth, I sealed the board with two coats of DryLok waterproofer, then painted with multiple coats of a matte black vinyl paint. I then put a coat of spar urethane on the edges and a 3 inch band around the outside of the disc, since that's where most of the handling (and threat of scratching/chipping) occurs. With any luck, that will keep it from soaking up water and warping. We'll see...

Seems I can't get the images to imbed in this post. But the link below should work.

http://s942.photobucket.com/albums/ad270/drpeffer/
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:28 pm

One of the reasons people use hardware cloth is that the wind passes through it. If you use burlap over the outside it will catch the wind much more and possibly become airborne in a minor wind storm.

I just shim under the plastic pool to level out the top.
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Postby Oldguy » Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:06 pm

Nice solution, Dr.P.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:41 am

WTFBBQ?
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water evaporator

Postby MsLynn707 » Mon Sep 14, 2009 3:28 am

Well I do believe that after spending the last 1.5hrs reading this whole thread that our camp next year will covered as far as getting rid of our grey water and I do have to say that this is really the reason for e-playa inasmuch as this is community working together to get the job done. BRAVO TO ALL INVOLVED :lol: :lol: Hugs, ~~MsLynn707~~
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:11 am

Our camp did OK without a generator. Kudos to Wolfe on this!
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grey water improvements

Postby wetspot » Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:40 am

I copied this basic design 2 yrs ago for our home brew camp, Camp Above the Limit. The black tarp pond I did the year before that was a complete failure. Showers and toothpaste spit are one thing but when you start taking on flat beer, soda, mixers, etc., from 50+ camp members, an in-camp bar, and what-ever you find on your art cars in the morning, you've got a real challenge on your hands. Wind was an issue with misting 2yrs ago. The tarp I used this year was at least 6' bigger than the 2- 60" pools in all directions. I really attacked the educational part of the job. When I saw a new camp member headed for it, I would introduce myself and give them my speel on how they can make my life easier. I put a fence around it this year (broken glass last year, and I wasn't even on the road like this year. Also my neighbors used it a bit last year and I wanted to control that). I arranged the evaporator area so that the was only a narrow opening to it. You had to literally walk through my "yard" to get to it. I felt this would create sense of respect in it's users. I made signs this year saying which pond to use and when and to strain out the chunks. I provided strainers, filter cloth and 5 gal. buckets to eliminate solids that rot and add to the smell. Without the solids ours pretty much smells like a brewery town. The single BIGGEST IMPROVEMENT was swamp cooler pads on the top disk. You can run the pump for 30 sec., charge the pad with at least 1 qt. of water and then let it bake in the sun till the next time you feel like you want to turn it on. This year I thought we'd be running generators at night like the year before, so I made a heat exchanger off of the exhaust to try to utilize waste heat and wind so as to evaporate at night when these thing typically won't work well. We didn't need the generators, so when I ran it for 6hrs or so on the last day, it more because I wanted to see if it would work. Visible water vapor off of the 2"alum. flex conduit exchanger proved it at least helped. I used some left over burlap squares from landscaping (around tree roots- $4 ea. new) draped over the top and sides as additional "buffers". Both pads and burlap were rinsed & dried when I got home and I'll use them again next year. When I ran the generator for the heat & wind, I used the pwr. to run a 20" fan aimed at the burlap. As the burlap dried, I moved the external hose (different than above model) from the pump around to areas of the burlap that weren't saturated. The burlap would solve wind issues with the 1/4" mesh. One pond was 12VDC the other was 110VAC. 2 yrs.ago I burned up two car batteries and a charger walking away from non-automatic charging features of my small generator. I didn't want to repeat that one. This year I added some little toy frogs for effect. Next year I'd like adding a killer sound system to play frog and cricket sounds (for some Techno relief). I like funtional art. I'd like to figure out a way to have a big bass driver drive a stretched, wet piece of burlap causing a micro- droplet explosion that goes to the sound (of the frogs?). What makes water evaporate is small droplet size (more surface area/gal.), breaking the surface tension (oils), higher water temp, purity of the water. Most important is to not create any gray water in the first place. I really want to thank the original designer of this system. Everybody who sees it for the first time treats me like I'm so smart. I'm always quick to point out that I copied it from the internet. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC took my picture spitting toothpaste into mine this year for a upcoming piece on worldwide water use, if they pick that photo, I'll be famous because of you. Thanks- Wetspot/ Camp Above the Limit
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Postby Sage Venkman » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:09 am

DrPeffer wrote:Regarding Mr. Polando's evaporator design, which seems to be pretty popular...With me, too. I'm about to build mine to test it out a bit before taking it to the Playa this summer. A thought:

Seems one of the difficulties with the design is keeping the top disc perfectly level, to allow water to cascade evenly down the hardware cloth column.


Once you got that licked, the next problem is how to keep hippy kids tripped out on acid from playing in your sewage (i.e. "Oh my god look, a fountain! I want to play in the fountain!").

Yes, it's happened...every fucking year.
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Postby jkisha » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:45 am

Here's what we are taking next year. We'll pre-filter the water first through burlap or cotton cloth; then we can reuse all the grey water...even drink it and whatever we don't reuse can be safely dispursed on the playa.

http://www.nitro-pak.com/product_info.php?cPath=40_292&products_id=155

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Postby wetspot » Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:59 pm

jkisha- I've been a plumber for 20yrs. I would really suggest that you not ingest anything considered gray water after running it through a ceramic filter. That's not what your filter is for. If a salesmen for the company told you it is, I'd get a second & third opinion. Like your local health dept. Clean running water from a stream it may clean-up and make safER. But throw some starchy pasta water in that thing and I bet it clogs in a heart beat. Try this- bring more water so you don't have to take such an un-nesessary risk with your health (and others- you have a responsibility to label "sketchy" water supplies to their users). If you don't have room do something nice for someone in a big camp in trade for some POTABLE water. We dumped out over 100 gal. of potable water this year due to a mister mis-calculation. I can understand bringing too much water, evaporating down the waste (gray only), hauling off excess, and treating and dumping. I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would filter and then drink their gray water. Its not the space shuttle after all.
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Postby Sage Venkman » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:29 pm

Just to echo what wetspot said, places like phoenix that have regulations for grey water use, won't even allow well filtered grey water to be used on misters, whether they are used at an eating establishment or not. I do know there are some acceptable guidelines BMORG has for how filtered the water needs to be if you want to spray it behind an art car to wet down the road (same guidelines the water trucks use), but that requires some serious apparatus to treat and distribute.
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Postby Jiva » Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:19 pm

Sage Venkman wrote:Just to echo what wetspot said, places like phoenix that have regulations for grey water use, won't even allow well filtered grey water to be used on misters, whether they are used at an eating establishment or not. I do know there are some acceptable guidelines BMORG has for how filtered the water needs to be if you want to spray it behind an art car to wet down the road (same guidelines the water trucks use), but that requires some serious apparatus to treat and distribute.


Can you post or pm me a pointer to those guidelines? The water trucks just suck up water out of Frog Pond as far as I know. I got the impression from here that water that was contaminated only with biodegradable soap and people-funk could be strained, treated with bleach and scattered. Discouraged, but not prohibited.

Our camp did this this past year. Twenty gallons (we took good small showers :-) required only about 40 linear yards of road to scatter fairly sparsely. All dishwashing was done in an RV and that gray water was disposed of post-event.
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Postby Barbie » Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:27 pm

Sooooo this year my Virgin wanted to build us a evaporation pond...

I told him skip the Stupid People Step!

Every year I see all these Evap. pond and by the end of the week people still have a Pond and are looking for ways to scoop the grey water out of said pond... Skip the Stupid Step People- as my favorite boys sing fuck it or fight it it's all the same- WHY OH Why do you bother???? figure out a way to catch water and put it back in the bottle take it the FUck home. I have a bathtub- I use the water from my bath to soak my feet at the end of the night and then I put the grey water back in the bottle and take home to dump. Skipping the the Stupid Step. Just a thought! It works for me!
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Postby ygmir » Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:00 pm

wetspot wrote:jkisha- I've been a plumber for 20yrs. I would really suggest that you not ingest anything considered gray water after running it through a ceramic filter. That's not what your filter is for. If a salesmen for the company told you it is, I'd get a second & third opinion. Like your local health dept. Clean running water from a stream it may clean-up and make safER. But throw some starchy pasta water in that thing and I bet it clogs in a heart beat. Try this- bring more water so you don't have to take such an un-nesessary risk with your health (and others- you have a responsibility to label "sketchy" water supplies to their users). If you don't have room do something nice for someone in a big camp in trade for some POTABLE water. We dumped out over 100 gal. of potable water this year due to a mister mis-calculation. I can understand bringing too much water, evaporating down the waste (gray only), hauling off excess, and treating and dumping. I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would filter and then drink their gray water. Its not the space shuttle after all.


sound advice, wetspot.....and, welcome to eplaya.......
we're neighbors, sort of.........
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Postby jkisha » Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:20 am

wetspot wrote:jkisha- I've been a plumber for 20yrs. I would really suggest that you not ingest anything considered gray water after running it through a ceramic filter. That's not what your filter is for. If a salesmen for the company told you it is, I'd get a second & third opinion. Like your local health dept. Clean running water from a stream it may clean-up and make safER. But throw some starchy pasta water in that thing and I bet it clogs in a heart beat. Try this- bring more water so you don't have to take such an un-nesessary risk with your health (and others- you have a responsibility to label "sketchy" water supplies to their users). If you don't have room do something nice for someone in a big camp in trade for some POTABLE water. We dumped out over 100 gal. of potable water this year due to a mister mis-calculation. I can understand bringing too much water, evaporating down the waste (gray only), hauling off excess, and treating and dumping. I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would filter and then drink their gray water. Its not the space shuttle after all.


I doubt that I'll be drinking anything that filter filters. Unless maybe I decide to buy a good test kit and see for myself.

We bring plenty of water and buy plenty of ice; I'm primarily trying to find a way to recycle shower water rather than using an evap pond, which inevitably has people dumping dirty kitchen water in and becomes gosss by the end of the week.

But that filter is recommended to treat and make any water potable--like for disaster use.

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Postby Sage Venkman » Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:30 am

Jiva wrote: I got the impression from here that water that was contaminated only with biodegradable soap and people-funk could be strained, treated with bleach and scattered. Discouraged, but not prohibited.

Our camp did this this past year. Twenty gallons (we took good small showers :-) required only about 40 linear yards of road to scatter fairly sparsely. All dishwashing was done in an RV and that gray water was disposed of post-event.

I'm checking for you, the BMORG gave an art project that recycled grey water (from bio-soap and people funk as you say) into an acceptable form for road dust abatement a special recoginition one year for doing that, but after looking I don't think it was a formal recognition (i.e. they included it in some press stuff and gave them free tickets for the next year). I'll have to ask the creator the low down on that.

It was a giant bug that acts as a recycling shower named ENTMO. Really fantastic creation, and practical too.
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Postby HeironymousJosch » Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:14 pm

DrPeffer wrote:Regarding Mr. Polando's evaporator design, which seems to be pretty popular...With me, too. I'm about to build mine to test it out a bit before taking it to the Playa this summer. A thought:

Seems one of the difficulties with the design is keeping the top disc perfectly level, to allow water to cascade evenly down the hardware cloth column. In thinking about it, I'm wondering whether a cone-shaped top would solve that problem. The cone would taper to a point at the top, where the water comes out. Maybe helpful would be the previously-suggested addition of an inner tube at the 'bottom' of the cone (where it meets the hardware cloth) to pool the water before allowing it to cascade down the sides.

Sounds like it would do the trick to me. The only question I have left is: What kind of device or material would be suitable for making such a cone? I suppose you could cut some thin plastic sheeting and form one. They don't make 4-foot diameter funnels for any industrial applications, do they?


I know I'm responding to an old post but...

I agree that a cone shape, and it wouldn't take much relief from the center to the outer edge, could solve a lot of the dispersion woes. I'm thinking an easy solution would be to apply a layer of closed-cell polyurethane foam to your top and shape it out with a "cheese grater" shaping tool after it dries.

I've used this sort of foam for lots of fiberglass fabrication projects and it's pretty dynamic. You could then paint it with a strong exterior black paint and voila! Your top with cascade water more efficiently.

I'll be building one of these this year for my camp of about 30 people. I don't like the idea of a round structure, seems like a nightmare to transport. I'm thinking a square design with four 4' x 4' sides that can be lashed together on-site with a conical square top. Anyone see drawbacks to this design?
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Different Evaporator design

Postby StaceyS » Thu May 27, 2010 10:55 am

Hi all,

I followed this thread many years ago and came up with my own evaporator design based on information I gleaned here. I built my design and have taken it to the playa 2 years in a row and it seems to perform pretty well.

Here's what I built:

Image

This picture was taken on year 1, in the middle of a raging dust storm. Note: not much water dripping around!

Bascially, the idea is this:

5 Gallon buckets hold your greywater. The large green flower pots are where you dump your greywater into the system. The big black filterfabric "coffee filters" strains out the solids (and most of the playa mud). The solar powered fountain pump pumps the grey water up to the top of the towels (it can only lift about 4' or so), then it dribbles it out, keeping the towels constantly wet. There are some plastic coat hangers behind the towels that keeps them spread apart at the top, allows for good airflow too.

I found this contraption would evaporate about 5 gallons per day, depending on conditions.

You don't need FLOWING water for evaporation, just WET SURFACE AREA! As long as the towels are wet, water is evaporating. On some days, light overcast, light breeze, the pump was barely pumping, but none of the water was going back into the buckets, it was evaporating before it got to the bottom of the towels.

Pros:
1) The system is easily expandable: you can start with just one bucket, and add more as you need it (by turning valves on the connector hoses at the bottom of the buckets). I usually have 3 buckets connected together, but you could easily add more, and even add more pumps and towels too.
2) Very little dispersion, even in high winds.
3) The greywater is pretty much contained in closed spaces, and constantly goes through the filter fabric to keep solids out.
4) Easy to add greywater: just dump it in one of the flowerpots and it filters it and adds it to the system, gravity fed.
5) When you're ready to go home, you can sprinkle the filtered greywater on the street (the bucket with the valves on it in the picture makes this very easy), or you can put a lid on the bucket and truck it out. Also, just toss the towels in another bucket, wrap up the filter fabric and chuck it in a trash bag, and throw all the hoses and pumps in with the towels. Keeps the "yick" factor somewhat better contained on your way home. Then wash everything really good when you get home.
6) Packed up, it doesn't take much space. The buckets nest, and the open bucket has enough room for the hoses, pump, panel, towels, rope and clothes pins. The frame comes apart too.

Cons:
1) Its not the quickest evaporator out there!
2) Performance relies heavily on the solar powered pump.
3) Cleaning up any greywater evap system sucks.

This year we're thinking of splurging on an RV, and if we do, I'm directly connecting our RV's greywater tank to this system. I might not even need to touch greywater at all! YAY!
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Postby some seeing eye » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:08 am

http://www.instructables.com/id/Gray-B- ... ywater-di/ No electricity. Also known as the evapotron. Check the http://ae-zone.org/
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Postby illy dilly » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:59 am

So two reasons for this post.
1) Bump from page 5

2) We're gonna need an evap pond this year.
Wicking really seems to be the key word to a succesful evap pond, with out motors and pumps and stuff.

I'm thinking, I'm gonna building a sorta frame that will sit over the evap pond, to hang fabric too. One end of the fabric will sit in the water, while the other end is hung so that wind will blow across it.
I'll either build it out of some PVC pipe, or some 2x4.
I thought an image would help.... and this is what I found.
Image

I'm thinking something very similar. Differences would be, not as tall and it would hit the ground out side of the pond.

For fabric I'm thinking of cutting up old jeans into strips. Or cutting up some old towels. I think I'll cut the fabric into 3 or 4 inch wide strips so that when it gets real windy, they have less surface area, but the over all surface area exposed to the sun, will be about the same.

Thoughts, tips, tricks, and snark?
Why don't ya stick your head in that hole and find out? ~piehole
Plan for the worst, expect the best. Make the most out of it under any conditions. If you cannot do that you will never enjoy yourself. ~CrispyDave
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Postby Oldguy » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:06 pm

Lost and found at community pools sometimes give away beach towels. Thrift stores have cheap flannel sheets, fabric stores have yards of jersey and toweling for cheap. roll ends or scraps are thrown out...
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