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©2019 by BackToLaTierra

reed bed filter

Unfortunately, in our house we can´t separate black and grey water. The whole water recycle system (reed bed filter) could be a lot smaller if we could..

Our tubing for waste water is for black and grey water combined, so we don´t have a choice.

Or do we?

Yes, a compost toilet is the answer.

It would mean, no more black waste water and a valuable gain for the compost heap. Another project for the future.

So, for the time being, we have mixed waste water that needs to be cleaned.


Water...After love, the most precious thing on earth.

Yet we use it to flush our toilets. Actually by doing so we throw away two valuable things.

At Finca La Tierra we have our own well, that, up till now, has given us sufficient water. 

Nevertheless, we live in an area where every drop counts, so we decided to clean the water as much as we can and use it at least twice. Have a look at how we made a Reed Bed Filter 

We built a 9 m3 bassin, laid all the tubing and filled it with rock wool as substrate for the plants.

We got the rock wool from a green house in El Ejido, Spain´s largest agriculture area close to Almería.. It meant two long journies with a van to one of the most depressing landscapes you have ever seen: plastic, plastic and more plastic, as far as you can see.

the ochre room

All our waste water first goes into a classical 3 chamber septic tank.


Solids and grease stay behind and out comes dirty water, that runs into a deposit with a pump.

From there it goes in small portions and short time intervals on to the filter bed.

Terrace in front of the rooms leading to pool and garden


Chlorinated swimming water is not clean but dead. Natural living water is full of micro-organisms and waterinsects that in symbiosis with the water plants keep it clean. It gives lovely soft swimming water.

the sienna room

Above you see a trial run of the (very) smelly water. The aquatic plants love this though , the bacteria around their roots live of the nutrients in the water.

The smell isn´t noticeable once the filter is covered with shells or gravel.

And out comes cristal clear odourless water, ready for a second life...

The Sienna Room

The Sienna Room


Garden and Pond

Garden in Winter