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Old 06-16-2018, 08:47 PM   #1
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Gray Water w/ Reverse Osmosis?

Thinking of doing some extended boondocking next summer, and looking to do some modifications prior to this, first of all being solar. Next I am looking at a composting toilet.

I was wondering if anybody has hooked their gray water into a reverse osmosis system. Pump out the gray water, pass it through a sediment filter that can be emptied out, possibly a carbon filter, and then finally reverse osmosis feeding back into the freshwater tank?

Would love to hear the nays and yays of doing this if it is even possible or somebody has tried it.
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Old 06-16-2018, 09:19 PM   #2
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JMHO...
Solar.....
Yes if you can..(but they do have limitations even if you go overboard with battery banks.
Compost toilets systems.....
I am not a big fan of the idea.... manually removing/servicing the solid waste is not a fun thing to be doing..
AND...... just where do you propose to dispose of that "solid/ composted" waste???
Human waste is a bio/hazmat designated material.... and most if not all areas in the US have strict rules for disposal..
WAY more trouble than it is worth..
also don't expect to sell your RV after the conversion...as most prospective purchasers will not be willing to buy it and then have to convert it back to the factory layout..
This also applies to the propane fired "turd burners"
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Old 06-16-2018, 10:09 PM   #3
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The swap would be pretty easy, and putting it back just as easy but I don't plan on selling it anyway.

As for disposing of the poop/compost, I can find no regulations about throwing it away in the trash in a compostable bag. I throw my dogs poop in a trashcan every day (and so does everyone I know) and I'm pretty certain that big dude poops more than I do. By the time I would dispose of it, it would already be respirated and starting the process of composting.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:37 AM   #4
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I am guessing that the goal you’re trying to accomplish is extending your boondocking time via the composting toilet and recycling the grey water. I wonder if the big limiting factor might be solid waste. If you solve the water question and then go with a composting toilet won’t you still have trash to dispose of? I know you might be able to burn some but not everything. We can go two weeks pretty easily if we are reasonable with water use especially showers but we always have more trash than we want. Is the expense worth the return? How big are your tanks? How many people in your party?
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Old 06-20-2018, 01:33 AM   #5
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A misconception about RO membranes is that they are efficient. In fact they waste about half of the input water which is expelled through the "brine" port otherwise the cycles of concentration within the housing increases dramatically, lowering product quality and volume. Plus, premature fouling of the expensive membrane pores quickly. Can't imagine the pre-filters would last very long either. We order nominal .6 micron charcoal block type wholesale by the dozen. Not cheap.

Point two, the RO membrane require adequate fluid pressure to operate properly. 50-60 psi as a minimum, 100psi near ideal. Gravity feed won't cut it, so plan on a booster pump. [Desired volume x 24 hrs. @ 75 psi =GPD, [12DC (120VAC)x Amps = watts]

We run a 90 Gal per day @ 100 psi RO unit, [120VAC x 6A. booster] which might, almost fill the 100 gal. holding tank over-night with adequate CG pressure. Potable water in that is.
You might want a dozen survival ceramic drinking straws in your bug-out bag for that grey water smoothie. Or one of those Prison Planet* tabletop model filters.

Most wilderness' do best with runs to a spigot and a 50 Gal bladder in their truck bed, low pressure high volume transfer pump, and a couple Blueboys.

Best of luck
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Old 06-20-2018, 10:43 AM   #6
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Before installing a composting toilet watch this video
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Old 09-15-2018, 02:45 PM   #7
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RO for grey water

RO can operate at high recovery, if the system is designed properly. Most Home drinking water RO systems have a single 1,8” diameter x 12” long RO element that will typically operate at around 50% recovery(ratio or purified water to feed water). Commercial or industrial Systems use multiple elements in series, operating at 100-200 psi, to achieve higher recoveries and improved permeate water quality. While the RO unit will remove most of the dissolved solids and large molecular wight organic molecules, typical industrial or municipal systems that recycle wastewater also have some type of oxidation post treatment to remove smaller weight organic molecules. I would not recommend drinking grey water from a home drinking water RO system.
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Old 09-19-2018, 08:21 PM   #8
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RE: Compost toilet


Why not just go outside?
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Old 09-19-2018, 08:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ByeTheWay View Post
RE: Compost toilet


Why not just go outside?

I agree, if you are boondocking away from other campers, just go bathroom outside (outhouse tent easy to move). You can use a shovel and bury any solids. It's not bio hazard waste, human waste is no different than animal waste which is valuable to plants. Rural cities with sewer systems dispose the solids onto farm fields and the corn plants love it. What do Amish do with their waste, outhouses aren't highly regulated.
Recycling gray water to drink is what is done on the space station, why not in a RV?
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Old 09-20-2018, 08:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ByeTheWay View Post
RE: Compost toilet


Why not just go outside?
Planned on that too, but don't always have that option, boondocking walmart parking lots, harvest hosts, etc.. trying to keep it cheap.
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Old 09-20-2018, 02:16 PM   #11
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I use an RO in my maple syrup production to get rid of some of the water in the sap so I know a little about the subject. I think what you're talking about is doable but as other people have pointed out, they are not 100% efficient. So while you'll be able to "recover" potable water, it won't be the entire contents of the tank. It be more like 80% of it each time you ran it.

There are systems from places like Water Guy in Ohio that use commercial membranes that will give you a higher return rate or you could always buy your own components and build your own.

You might find that you might need to change the pre-filter more often but I'm sure that the RO maker would have some input on that. Other than that, there is technically no reason why you couldn't get pure water from grey water. Keep in mind too that you'll need a decent power supply to run the high speed pump you'll need to get the pressure for the membrane. You'll need access to the components for maintenance and have to keep the membrane from freezing in the off season.
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Old 09-20-2018, 04:14 PM   #12
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How about catching rain water/heavy dew with the awning or large tarp which would be easier on the osmosis system vs using grey water?
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Old 09-21-2018, 05:59 AM   #13
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How about catching rain water/heavy dew with the awning or large tarp which would be easier on the osmosis system vs using grey water?
I'd be concerned about the potability of the water if you did that. Rain water is not as pure as you would think and everything it touches needs to be food grade.
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Old 09-21-2018, 07:49 AM   #14
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I'd be concerned about the potability of the water if you did that. Rain water is not as pure as you would think and everything it touches needs to be food grade.

Even after running through a osmosis system?
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