William and I have been constantly mentioning the Hydraloop in our blogs and diagrams, but I don’t believe we ever wrote a blog about how it works…
So! Being better late than never…This is that blog, fulfilling that duty we take upon ourselves to explain the mesmeric methods behind all this magnetic madness.
The Hydraloop is about the size of a fridge…so it is rather large. But it needs that space to do the magic that it does! It is designed to clean water from the shower, bath, air conditioning and washing machine without the use of any filters or chemicals. Instead of using filters to treat this greywater, it uses a combination of sedimentation, floatation, dissolved air floatation, foam fractionation, an aerobic bioreactor, and disinfection of the cleaned water with powerful UV light.1 Phew…lots of big words that work cohesively to make this thing work. We are going to break ‘em down, don’t worry!2
But! Before we do, we need to keep in mind the inputs to the Hydraloop and what kind of ‘debris’ they may contain. The water is coming from your shower, bath, air conditioner, and eventually laundry machine. Therefore, the debris will consist of hair, soap scum, dirt…etc. All of this ‘sludge’ was designed by Hydraloop to be discharged to a sewer or septic tank. However, as of now, and as you may already be perfectly aware: We. Won’t. Have. One! No sand mound. No public connection to a sewer. But we do have our composting toilet tanks, of course!!3
Lightly used greywater from the shower, bath, air conditioning and (optionally) from your laundry machine enters the Hydraloop from the top…
First Step: Sedimentation
Any debris that falls to the bottom of the tank will be discharged. Again, the design intends for these debris/sludge-like substances to be discharged to a sewer. Because we will not have a sewer hook-up, this debris will be sent to the Clivus Multrum composting tanks.
Second Step: Floatation
The dirt, soap, and hair that floats to the top of the tanks is skimmed off and discharged…to our composting tanks!
Third Step: Dissolved Air Floatation
Air is pushed up through the tank, creating millions of air bubbles which collect suspended solids and organic matter, and carry them to the top. Once at the top, the ‘sludge’ is skimmed off and discharged…to our composting tanks!
Fourth Step: Foam Fractionation
In combination with forced air, the soap, shampoo, and hair conditioner will naturally start to foam and collect other solids and organic matter with it. Once all nice and foamy, condensed, and at the top, the skimmer will remove and discharge…toooooooo our composting tanks!!
Fifth Step: MBBR (Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor)
Inside the Hydraloop’s outside chamber, there are little plastic chip/wheel things that allow biofilm to grow on them. Air pushes the chips around and allows aerobic decomposition to take place.
Sixth Step: UV Disinfection
UV light disinfects the water going to the lower tank. Once in the lower tank, the water is circulated past the UV light every four hours to be re-disinfected.
From the lower tank, the water is sent to either flush toilets (in our case, our foam flush Clivus Multrums), do the laundry, fill a swimming pool (we will definitely NOT have one of those…), irrigate the garden…or to other non-potable uses.
Now, let me explain how doing the laundry with greywater from the Hydraloop works…a procedure definitely exists for this one. Well, rather than a ‘procedure,’ let’s call it a ‘circular’ relationship….
When the laundry machine pulls treated greywater from the Hydraloop for a load of laundry, the Hydraloop will begin to run a 3-cycle algorithm. For the first two cycles of washing clothes, the Hydraloop will use treated greywater. For the third and final cycle, the rinse cycle, the Hydraloop will pull freshwater from our rainwater pillow and send it to the laundry machine. Even though the treated greywater is safe to use to rinse clothing, the Hydraloop is still designed to pull freshwater instead4 ~ perhaps because people feel funny about having their laundry rinsed with treated greywater? Or, it may be a code thing. Not totally sure!
Anywho. The greywater used in the first two laundry cycles is designed to be discharged to a sewer. Ha, but, as we have mentioned once or twice, we will not have a conventional sewer. We intend to send that laundry effluent to our indoor leach fields and greenhouse for filtration instead. The freshwater used in the third cycle to rinse the clothes is sent to the Hydraloop for treatment and reuse.
The Hydraloop’s lower tank has the capacity to hold 80 to 160 gallons of treated greywater. In the event that the Hydraloop treats more greywater than the lower tank can hold, we will have that excess water go to a greywater pillow. This pillow will be specifically for outdoor hook-up (as in: washing cars, irrigating gardens, etc.). This greywater pillow should not be confused with our rainwater pillow. Rainwater pillow is for potable usage…Greywater pillow is not.
As far as maintenance goes, the Hydraloop is self-cleaning. If something does go awry, the Hydraloop will switch to back up water (in our case, the water from our rainwater pillow) and send us and our Hydraloop installer a notification through email.
This filtration system is indeed NSF certified! You can check out the results from their NSF/ANSI 350 testing period here: NSF | hydraloop US/UK. NSF/ANSI 350 certification is also of course helpful for meeting PA DEP code!5
William and I are eagerly awaiting the day to officially begin using the Hydraloop, as well as officially integrate it with all of our other mesmeric methods: composting toilets, indoor leach fields, indoor greenhouse, rainwater collection….all of this accumulating into some marvelous magnetic madness 🙂
Until next time our little minions!
1. If you thought that sounded complicated…you should read about wastewater treatment facilities…so many “-ation”s.
2. All of this information was obtained from the Hydraloop Technical page on their website: Technical | Hydraloop | Recycling Water | Smart water saving. Accessed on 24 March 2021. They have a wonderful video on how it works that I suggest watching!
3. As long as we attempt to use natural hair, hand, and body soaps, and we abstain from pouring any chemical nasties down the drain, we have been cleared by Clivus Multrum to discharge our Hydraloop sludge to the composting tanks.
4. This information was verified by a Technical Support Expert from Hydraloop in an e-mail conversation with multiple inquiries, 9 April 2021.
5. Which is great news for code! Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. “Title 25- Environmental Protection. Chapter 73- Standards for Aerobic Treatment Tanks, 73.32.” 31 Oct. 2020.www.pacodeandbulletin.gov/Display/pacode?file=/secure/pacode/data/025/chapter73/s73.32.html&d=reduce. Accessed on 1 February 2021.
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© 2020 Sustaining Tree
© 2020 Sustaining Tree
Where do you get the electricity to run this magical hydraloop ? . . .and no swimming pool?
Haha, Hey Granann! Thanks for reading; no, no swimming pool… there’s a creek not too far! And we’ve been running some initial calculations to figure out the amount of electricity we’re going to need so we can figure out the size of our solar array – but it’s a very complicated math problem. We can share more about that conundrum later.
Hey would you have an estimate of how much sludge-like water it releases to the sewer? I am planning on fusing this system with a SepticJohn for sewage. The deciding factor on how big I go for SepticJohn would be on how much wastewater this makes. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
I also saw on the website that you can mix this water with rainwater, with an Aqualoop filtration system on top of the Hydroloop it should make it all drinkable…. maybe I am getting ahead of myself but this could definitely make a neat closed-loop system.
Hello! Thank you so much for reading our blog! 🙂
We actually had similar questions about the sludge! Although, our questions were oriented around the feasibility of composting the sludge remains. Our response from Hydraloop was that the systems produce a very small fraction of solids, and that it was not worth it to consider composting them. For us, since we will not be connected to a sewer, we will be composting them anyways.
For a more specific response for your purposes (since I don’t know the exact ratio of treated greywater to sludge production from the inputs), I would contact Hydraloop directly with your sludge questions (firstname.lastname@example.org). Since the sludge is a direct result of showering, laundry, etc…the quantity of sludge varies according to how often the ‘inputs’ are used.
I would also talk to Hydraloop about your potable plans! The Hydraloop is meant to treat water to non-potable standards. I don’t think either manufacturer would allow recycled greywater to be considered potable.
The Aqualoop is a great resource, however! William and I have added it to our ‘product’ page 🙂
Thank you again for reading!!