A year and a half ago, I wrote about using greywater. In that post, I said that one of the problems facing homeowners was building codes that were outdated and did not allow for greywater systems. I’ll point out problems when I see them, but I’ll also give credit when it is due. I’m happy to report that the California Legislature has seen the light and modified state law to allow greywater systems. I offer a big thank you to the City of Santa Barbara for pushing this issue in Sacramento. Now California is catching up with a few other western state like Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Personally, I’m happy that the greywater system I’m thinking of putting in can now be put in legally. I’ll be able to save and use more greywater and it will be much easier, also. No more five-gallon buckets from the laundry room!
For more information on the legislation in California, visit this site. There are very helpful descriptions of what is allowed under the law and what is not. This is important, because there are a few safety precautions to take when designing and using greywater systems. For an introduction on greywater, go to the Wikipedia article. An excellent resource for greywater is the Greywater Guerillas. Their website has loads of information and photographs on greywater systems and also includes information on other cutting edge water conservation technologies such as rainwater catchment and composting toilets. For more information on greywater systems, go here. (You’ll notice this last site is in Australia. As is often the case, other countries, particularly Australia and many Europeans countries, are far ahead of the United States on environmental issues.)
In the U.S., Art Ludwig is the Godfather of Greywater and author of The New Create an Oasis with Greywater and Builder’s Greywater Guide. Art’s environmental design company, Oasis Design, includes plans for a Laundry to Landscape greywater system. For a laundry detergent developed by Art to be suitable for greywater use in irrigation, go to Bio Pac. If you’re in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, the Ecology Center in Berkeley sells it by the gallon.