how we made our grey water leach field


Two weeks ago we finally finished work on the grey water leach field. It’s officially done. No more work needed. Yeah! It feels good to have a finished product, with only one pile of loam leftover instead three small ones scattered around the half finished project.  Our leach field, which is only made to handle grey water, just exceeds the legal minimum size for our state, but will be more than adequate for us, not only for grey water from the camper, but from our future house as well.

The leach field was one of the two projects our town said we needed to complete in order to legally live in our camper. But while every state and town is different, and the specs of this one may not meet the needs of your family, I thought you might be interested in a break down of exactly what it took to build ours.

We started the project in the spring with my grandfather bringing his small tractor and rototiller over to loosen up the top soil. Papa used a shovel to remove it from the dirt from the 25’x18’  area. Next we had 14 yards of 1.5” rock trucked in and dumped in the middle of the cleared area, and 12 yards of loam dumped right next to it. My uncle brought his big tractor over (he’s a landscaper/yard maintenance guy) and leveled out the rock for $35 an hour.

The hard part came next. On one Saturday morning Papa and I went out there with a pick ax and hoe and dug a square trench in the rock, big enough to bury a 4’x10’ section of PVC (three 4” wide 10’ pieces cut to fit, five 4” elbow pieces, and four 4” caps). He drilled holes along the pipe to allow water to leak through, fit the pieces together creating a rectangle shape with a section on one corner pointing up to be the only part above ground, and then set the whole thing at the bottom of the trench.

Papa pushed the rock back into the trench and covered it with 600sq’ of landscape fabric before my uncle came back with his tractor and covered the whole leach field with the loam. Papa finished it off with a gallon of grass seed and two bails of hay so it will almost blend in with the rest of the field next summer.

The whole project cost about three hours of tractor work, 15-20 man hours, and $1,500 cash.

And so ends homestead project #1 for 2012.

6 responses

  1. Mama says:

    Papa didn’t drill the holes it was already perforated.

  2. Allie says:

    It must feel like a great accomplishment that you were able to complet this project on a cash budget, way to go! Thanks for sharing this and giving those of us the push we need to do such projects like this one!

  3. Adam says:

    Great job! Way to help the environment.

  4. [...] the final coat of paint applied, the second of the two projects we needed done this summer are officially complete. Interested in building your own privy? (as Papa fondly calls it) [...]

  5. [...] the other hand, we have a new outhouse, a new grey water leach field, the ground is broken for our new house, we’re currently revising house plans that the code [...]

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