Cool Wind Powered Greywater Evaporator

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Cool Wind Powered Greywater Evaporator

Postby melodiousdirge » Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:21 am

This has probably been posted before, but oddly enough I couldn't re-find this with google last night (had the bookmark at work) so maybe it hasn't been posted much. Just sharing!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Gray-B-Gon-wind-powered-evapotron-for-graywater-di/
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Postby TomServo » Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:33 pm

So, does the nylon pully draw up and evaporate the water?
anything worth doing..is worth overdoing

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Postby melodiousdirge » Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:32 am

The nylon belt turns the big drum, which is partially submerged. The drum picks up water on it's surface in a thin film that evaporates very efficiently while the drum turns.
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Postby erbal » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:26 am

Does the drum ever get clogged with dust?
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Postby melodiousdirge » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:06 pm

I haven't actually built or used one of these myself, I just happened to find it on instructables. If you read through the entire instructable I believe that question is addressed somewhere. The answer goes something like

- because the drum is constantly dipping through the water, the dust ends up being washed off the drum and settling in the bottom of the tray -

Sounds reasonable enough. I'm just debating whether building and bringing something like this is really worth it for a 1 person camp.
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Postby erbal » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:21 pm

If it works then greywater disposal could be a fantastic gift to the camps around you ... I'd say it'd be a great idea to try it out!
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Postby Teo del Fuego » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:47 pm

we use one of these at Whisky & Dust and it works reasonably well. No real dust-clogging issues, either
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Postby melodiousdirge » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:54 pm

What IS the official ruling on sprinkling of treated, filtered grey water anyway? I have read a few places that if you filter it and bleach it you can sprinkle it on the playa, but I can't see how they could possibly police the treatment of grey water, so I'm thinking this would/should be a no-no. Anyone?

I ask because I was considering a different evaporation design that may have some mooping of grey water during windy times. Is this OK if it's treated, or no?
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Postby jkisha » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:05 pm

You can filter it and treat it with bleach and sprinkle it on the streets. If you sprinkle it in the camping areas it will make scars that you will have to deal with later.

Gifting the evap. system could end up biting you in the ass, especially if you are camping in the non-theme camp area with lots of people you don't know. Its hard enough to keep people from dumping crap in an evap. pond, even when in a theme camp, so your setup could become a cleanup nightmare.

I'm not saying don't do it, I'm just letting you know what to lookout for; especially since you are camping by yourself and won't be around to keep an eye on things.

That setup is way more than one person would need on the playa.
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Postby Sic Pup » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:26 pm

melodiousdirge wrote:Sounds reasonable enough. I'm just debating whether building and bringing something like this is really worth it for a 1 person camp.


Another alternative based on my experience:

Are you planning on cooking and showering?

I can tell you that without cooking/showering I was able to deal with the grey water issue with simply a 4'x4' black plastic station wagon liner.

I washed head to toe twice a day with wipes and a 1 gallon spray bottle and washed my hair (medium length / male) 4 or 5 times during the course of 8 days. I think I drained a cooler 2-3 times into it as well.

The liner (which I had salvaged from a prior vehicle) has a 1" lip around the edge, I simply bathed over it. Every time I passed it I moved it into the sun or tilted it to increase the exposed surface of the water.

On the day of departure I awoke early and was especially conscious of water use (knowing I'd be hitting a hotel room before days end), it was dry when I wrapped it in two garbage bags and packed up around 9-10am.

As it was I did carry out 3 containers of grey water that the camp used but I stopped off at the recycle station and they took it off my hands before I even hit Fernley.

The point being even with cooking/showering you could probably do just fine with a black plastic liner in a frame (2"x2"). Carrying out some grey water was really painless, anyway.

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Postby melodiousdirge » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:07 pm

jkisha wrote:You can filter it and treat it with bleach and sprinkle it on the streets. If you sprinkle it in the camping areas it will make scars that you will have to deal with later.


OK good to know. I was trying to work out a way to use my grey water for evaporative cooling for my dome... needs a lot more thought but it's good to know the do's and don'ts.

jkisha wrote:Gifting the evap. system could end up biting you in the ass, especially if you are camping in the non-theme camp area with lots of people you don't know. Its hard enough to keep people from dumping crap in an evap. pond, even when in a theme camp, so your setup could become a cleanup nightmare.

I'm not saying don't do it, I'm just letting you know what to lookout for; especially since you are camping by yourself and won't be around to keep an eye on things.


This is one thing I was already sort of mulling. I'd love to be able to help out my neighbors, but I'd like to be in control over who I help out, too (I.e. don't want any old yahoo dumping their nasty grey water in my setup). I'm planning on having a fairly large dome where I can pull this inside when I'm not around, but it would be a big hassle. I also am considering setting something like this up at the apex of my dome... pain in the ass to put water in but that's kind of the point - fewer people likely to sneak their crap into it.

jkisha wrote:That setup is way more than one person would need on the playa.


Oh I'm sure it is. I just don't know if it's worth building for:

  1. cool factor
  2. help out neighbors
  3. only have to use it part time, so it doesn't need to be guarded, isn't constantly smelling and mooping up my camp.


I was also considering miniaturizing it a bit to save travel space (2000+ mile road trip each way for me).

Here's a thought: anyone considered a mini grey water evaporator setup to attach to a trike? Might not be workable... will think further.
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Postby melodiousdirge » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:11 pm

Sic Pup wrote:I can tell you that without cooking/showering I was able to deal with the grey water issue with simply a 4'x4' black plastic station wagon liner.


This is great feedback - thanks for that.

I'm a serious mechanical geek, so things like wind powered evaporation devices really get me going, however I have a *lot* of big ideas with only a few months between me and the burn, so keeping it simple has a lot of value.

I think I will put this project at the bottom of the list, and if I don't get to it, a little pond it will be. Thanks again.
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Postby melodiousdirge » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:23 am

Also very cool. Perhaps cooler than the bicycle wheel version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ximAfbAHF9M
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Postby some seeing eye » Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:44 pm

Serious thanks melodiousdirge. Been responsible for greywater in a few camps and a big fan of the grey b gone, but the vertical axis wind system is better in collecting wind from any direction.

Would be great to get some gallons/day data v wind exposure, wind vane area and evap cylinder area.
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Postby melodiousdirge » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:56 pm

Also noteworthy... some of the evaporative cooling systems discussed over in the swamp cooler thread:

http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?t=33842

Use up to 2 gallons of water per hour. If you were diligent about disinfecting your grey water before evaporating it, you might be able to use some of the designs for disposing of grey water instead of cooling.

Ideally one could combine the two functions, but the designs of most of those coolers would mean you're smelling grey water all the time in your quarters.
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Postby dragonpilot » Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:26 pm

Not all of those reading the OP are mechanical geeks and may get the idea that in order to have a decent shower setup one must go thru all this evaporation pond, etc hoohaa...

People! if you need to clean up whilst on the playa a 3-gal garden sprayer, lotsa baby wipes, and a plastic storage bin to stand in will do the job...as long as only 2-3 folks are using it. You'll use very little water and still feel reasonably clean. What little water collects in the bin can easily be funneled into an empty 1-gal water bottle...take it home with you and dump it. Easy!

OTOH, if you have lots of people in camp, you will need a more elaborate setup. Just to let the smaller camps of 2-4 folks know you can keep it simple.
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