Last updated 7/28/2009
Summary: A compilation of resources to help the California Department of Housing and Community Development make the most of its mandate in SB1258 to develop new greywater standards for California.
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Excerpt from: New proposed CA greywater standards
1603A.1.1 Clothes Washer System and/or Single Fixture System.
A clothes washer system and/or a single fixture system in compliance with all of the following is exempt from the construction permit specified in Section 220.127.116.11 and may be installed or altered without a construction permit:
1. If required, notification has been provided to the Enforcing Agency regarding the proposed location and installation of a graywater irrigation or disposal system. Note: A city, county, or city and county or other local government may, after a public hearing and enactment of an ordinance or resolution, further restrict or prohibit the use of graywater systems. For additional information, see Health and Safety Code Section 18941.7.
2. The design shall allow the user to direct the flow to the irrigation or disposal field or the building sewer. The direction control of the graywater shall be clearly labeled and readily accessible to the user.
3. The installation, change, alteration or repair of the system does not include a potable water connection or a pump and does not affect other building, plumbing, electrical or mechanical components including structural features, egress, fire-life safety, sanitation, potable water supply piping or accessibility.
4. The graywater shall be contained on the site where it is generated.
5. Graywater shall be directed to and contained within an irrigation or disposal field.
6. Ponding or runoff is prohibited and shall be considered a nuisance.
7. Graywater may be released above the ground surface provided at least two (2) inches (51 mm) of mulch, rock, or soil, or a solid shield covers the release point. Other methods which provide equivalent separation are also acceptable.
8. Graywater systems shall be designed to minimize contact with humans and domestic pets.
9. Water used to wash diapers or similarly soiled or infectious garments shall not be used and shall be diverted to the building sewer.
10. Graywater shall not contain hazardous chemicals derived from activities such as cleaning car parts, washing greasy or oily rags, or disposing of waste solutions from home photo labs or similar hobbyist or home occupational activities.
11. Exemption from construction permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any graywater system to be installed in a manner that violates other provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of the Enforcing Agency.
12. An operation and maintenance manual shall be provided. Directions shall indicate the manual is to remain with the building throughout the life of the system and indicate that upon change of ownership or occupancy, the new owner or tenant shall be notified the structure contains a graywater system.
Finding of Emergency
Statement of reasons
New, interactive Graywater Policy and Science Center launched...check it out!
60 seconds to have your opinion count!
The responses will be compiled and presented to the Building Standards Commission for the greywater hearing on July 30th.
Dear Greywater Stakeholders:
The greywater regulation revolution was started in 1989 in Santa Barbara, California. It spread from there to four other communities, then the whole state, via the Uniform Plumbing Code, in 1992.
Since then, while California's greywater innovation has been at a standstill, the rest of the west has left us in the dust (Greywater law history).
It is certainly true that "plumbers safeguard the health of the nation," and it is doubtless that building and plumbing codes have saved many, many lives.
However, California's greywater law not making a good example of the positive role codes can and usually do play in civil society.
There are about two million greywater systems in the state of California. One in ten thousand has a permit. There's been no reported cases of greywater-induced illnesses. (References follow below).
Perhaps you've heard the old English saying about "shutting the barn door after the horse is gone."
In California with respect to greywater, it is as if regulations have focused on keeping the barn door shut (pre 1992), and then very tightly regulated (since 1992 only a few hundred permits have been issued in the entire state).
Meanwhile, the barn has never had a back wall (there are two million unpermitted systems in the state; 15% of households), and it turns out that horses do just fine free range (there has not been a single reported case of illness).
Concern about public health is the oft-cited reason for keeping that barn door tight. It seems that concern about liability is the actual issue. This would explain why no one blinks about the absence of a back wall (not a liability issue), while few regulators dare open the door (could get sued).
The only people dissuaded by the tight control of the front door are building professionals—plumbers, builders, landscapers. It is hard for a homeowner to get help from a licensed professional to make an illegal system. So, they go out the back, and do it themselves.
The current greywater regulation approach hinders best sustainability practices, and undermines respect for codes in general.
Realistic greywater codes of the type adopted in Arizona (2001), New Mexico (2003), Texas (2005) and in process in several other states (NV, OR, MT...) are emblematic of the shift that occurs when the blinders come off and the full risk profile is taken into account in crafting policy.
If California regains its leadership position, the rest of the world is essentially certain to follow.
I look forward to working with you to get the new greywater standards headed towards this goalpost, as envisioned by the sponsors of the enabling legislation.
We've decided to put some resources behind this effort. Here's what we've come up with so far. We'll be adding more, including responses to HCD's and the Greywater Working Group's material.
Greywater law historyis interesting and bears on the present and future in many ways...check it out. Here's the current status:
The DHCD is holding stakeholders' meetings to review the greywater code. They are in the process of developing new building standards which will be submitted to the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) as part of the 2009 Triennial Code Adoption Cycle.
To be added to the Stakeholder's Group to have input into California's new greywater ordinance, contact James Rowland, the lead contact at the DHCD, email@example.com (916) 445-4782.
The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) needs letters e mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org especially from health professionals, and any other species of government bureaucrat or academic that say something like:
[Two sample action letters follow-please E mail us suggested improvements]
90 seconds to have your opinion count!
Re SB 1258: Please discard the UPC model and use the state-of-the-art Arizona/ New Mexico/ Texas tiered approach to greywater regulation
Dear Mr. Rowland,
I am an ecological systems designer, and the author of three books on greywater.
It seems that the main stated argument against California greywater standards following the lead of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas into the 21st century is public health concern. But...
1) Greywater has hundreds of times fewer pathogens than combined sewage. Logically, greywater systems could be hundreds of times less effective at sequestering pathogens from people and still be no more dangerous than septic or sewer systems. (average of values from calculations, U of AZ study--see http://oasisdesign.net/greywater/law/california/index.htm#references for complete list of citations and calculations)
2) The past several decades of greywater prohibition have inadvertently resulted in the construction of a rather large number of unpermitted systems. The quantity of those systems is vast (eight million in the US, 1.7 million in California) and the experience long term, going back to the founding of the country. (Soap and Detergent Manufacturer's Association Graywater Awareness and Usage Study, a nationally representative sample of 61,377 households; 13.9% of which were using greywater in CA, the highest proportion of any state).
This has in effect served as a large-scale, long term, and fairly conclusive experiment on the epidemiological danger from unregulated greywater reuse.
There have been approximately a billion greywater system-user-years of exposure in the US since 1950, plus exposure to guests and neighbors. If one greywater user in 100,000 got sick and mentioned why, there would be 10,000 incidents on record.
In fact, no record of a single documented instance of greywater-transmitted illness has been recorded in the US, according to the CDC. (By comparison, approximately 20,000 people were struck by lightning over the same time period).
It is certain that greywater risk is non-zero. It is possible that the risk from the average greywater system could be low enough to be unnoticeable in the background risk, yet still be of concern in the aggregate.
However, with such a vast quantity of systems, there must be outlier systems that are several standard deviations riskier than the average that still number in the thousands. If even these have escaped notice, the implication is that the inherent risk must be very low indeed. (One unfortunate Californian has been struck by lightning on seven occasions. That there is no analog for greywater incidents is quite instructive).
Of the 12 illnesses identified by WERF as potentially greywater-transmittable, 9 are reported to the CDC by legal mandate. Reportable illnesses have been tightly tracked by all levels of our public health system since 1925. This serves as a more tightly run subset of the general greywater experiment. There are over 100,000 instances of these 9 reportable sicknesses, per year, or several million total. If greywater were a significant transmission path, tens of thousands of alarms in the reportable illness system would have put public health officials on the track decades ago.
The absence of reports of greywater-transmitted illness fits with the simple logic of point 1, and lends support to the Arizona/ New Mexico/ Texas regulatory approach. This holds that permits and inspections are not necessary for simple greywater systems (the people of California seem to agree: only one system in eight thousand is permitted).
Unless HCD can:
A) Prove that greywater systems are dangerous, in light of a billion system-user-years of real-world experience to the contrary
B) Prove that tight regulation (which deters licensed professionals but not homeowners) is better for public health than realistic guidelines that professionals would follow to improve the state's stock of systems
C) Produce a risk assessment that shows that in a world which may be out of usable water within our lifetimes, rigorous permitting of greywater systems is a priority use of regulatory and citizen resources
please shift from the failed UPC-style approach to the state-of-the-art Arizona/ New Mexico/ Texas tiered approach to greywater regulation.
A slightly improved version of the Arizona code that is a suitable starting point for new California tier 1 standards can be found at: http://www.oasisdesign.net/greywater/law/#model
Re SB 1258: Support for Reality-Based Greywater Standards
I am writing to support the adoption of a new California greywater standard that uses a tiered approach; more regulatory oversight of greywater reuse scenarios that entail more risk, and little or no regulatory oversight of systems that have little or no actual risk.
This is the state-of-the-art approach that is spreading regionally, in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Malibu.
These jurisdictions recognize that a simple greywater system is beneath the threshold at which regulatory scrutiny is productive.
They all allow simple, tier 1 greywater systems that meet a short list of reasonable requirements to be installed without applying for a permit.
For tier 2, systems that don't meet these requirements, a permit application is required.
For tier 3, high flow systems, full-blown engineering is required.
The California Greywater Working Group has the skill set necessary to take the model codes from Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, and the process in Nevada, and craft a consensus state-of-the-art model code that would not only be optimal for California, but would be widely emulated worldwide.
At the first meeting of the Stakeholders group on February 25th, the decision should made to scuttle UPC chapter 16 and take the this course of action immediately above; adapting the AZ/NM/TX approach to California.
Latest greywater data and calcuations spreadsheet (xls), with citations. Note that as we refine the data the numbers in the spreadsheet and text may get out of sync; the spreadsheet represents our latest, most refined take.
Hats off to researcher Ed Hachfeld for the CDC reportable illness research and analysis.
California's past and current grey water laws were important steps, and certainly created as well as was politically possible at the time. Unfortunately they were steps not quite in the right direction, and they are being emulated all over the US and the world.
Some of the hardware recommendations are questionable. The mini-leachfield system, for example, is described in great detail as if it were a proven technology, but has been installed in no cases I know of and I can’t think of any application for which I would recommend it. Other issues are enumerated below.
Here's the complete text of the enabling legislation, with notes on its significance and Oasis's suggested actions inAll the emphasis is ours, as well. Our "next time" suggestions on SB1258 itself are moot at this point, but are things that could perhaps be done better in the enabling legislation for the next round.
SB 1258, Lowenthal. Building standards: graywater
An act to add Sections 17922.12 and 18941.7 to the Health and Safety Code, and to amend Section 14877.1 of the Water Code,relating to building standards.
legislative counsel’s digest
The California Building Standards Law provides for the adoption of building standards by state agencies by requiring all state agencies that adopt or propose adoption of any building standard to submit the building standard to the California Building Standards Commission for approval and adoption.
Existing law requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to propose the adoption, amendment, or repeal of building standards to the commission relating to hotels, motels, lodging houses, apartment houses, and dwellings, and the buildings and structures accessory thereto, except as specified.
Existing law authorizes a city or county to make changes or modifications in the building standards proposed by the department and approved by the commission, to provide for local variances relating to local climatic, geological, or topographical conditions, upon making certain findings and filing those findings with the commission.
This bill would require the department, at the next triennial building standards rulemaking cycle that commences on or after January 1, 2009, to adopt and submit to the commission for approval building standards for the construction, installation, and alteration of graywater, as defined, systems for indoor and outdoor uses. The addressing of indoor use is totally new. Unfortunately, DHCD doesn't know much about water, and there is no funding that goes along with this mandate to come up with new standards. The bill would terminate the authority of the Department of Water Resources to adopt graywater standards for residential buildings upon the approval by the commission of the standards submitted under the bill. DWR retains authority over non-residential systems—not obvious if this spreading out of authority is a good thing or not.
The bill would authorize a city, county, or other local agency to adopt, after a public hearing and enactment of an ordinance or resolution, building standards that prohibit entirely the use of graywater, or building standards that are more restrictive than the graywater building standards adopted by the department and published in the California Building Standards Code. There are those who argue that all greywater regulation should be local. I don't have a position on this. I do think that 1) if locals can make more stringent rules, they should be able to make more liberal ones as well—an option which this enabling legislation rules out,—or 2), the new state standards should be as liberal as appropriate for the most liberal jurisdictions—which is the only option open now. Next time the enabling legislation would ideally leave this question to be resolved in the implementation.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 17922.12 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read: 17922.12.
(a) For the purposes of this section, “graywater” means untreated wastewater that has not been contaminated by any toilet discharge, has not been affected by infectious, contaminated, or unhealthy bodily wastes, and does not present a threat from contamination by unhealthful processing, manufacturing, or operating wastes. “Graywater” includes wastewater from bathtubs, showers, bathroom washbasins, clothes washing machines, and laundry tubs, but does not include wastewater from kitchen sinks or dishwashers. Next time kitchen sink/ dishwasher water would ideally be defined as "dark grey" water, opening the door to appropriate management in specialized systems designed for this purpose, as has been done in Arizona.
(b) Notwithstanding Chapter 22 (commencing with Section 14875) of Division 7 of the Water Code, at the next triennial building standards rulemaking cycle that commences on or after January 1, 2009, the department shall adopt and submit for approval pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 18935) of Part 2.5 building standards for the construction, installation, and alteration of graywater systems for indoor and outdoor uses.
(c) In adopting building standards under this section, the department shall do all of the following:
(1) Convene and consult a stakeholder’s group that includes members with expertise in public health, water quality, geology or soils, residential plumbing, home building, and environmental stewardship. See contact info under current law, above to be added to this list.
(2) Ensure protection of water quality in accordance with applicable provisions of state and federal water quality law. This shouldn't be hard. It is all but impossible to contaminate groundwater with greywater, and difficult to contaminate surface waters without discharge directly into them...seeTreatment effectiveness vs. wastewater application depth(jpeg graphic, 300k). Greywater improves groundwater quality by relieving strain on septic systems.
(3) Consider existing research available on the environmental consequences to soil and groundwater of short-term and long-term graywater use for irrigation purposes, including, but not limited to, research sponsored by the Water Environment Research Foundation. I could only find one study, "Long Term Effects of Landscape Irrigation Using Household Greywater."
(4) Consider graywater use impacts on human health. This seems to be conjecture-based, as no one is known to have gotten sick from a greywater system, even though there are hundreds of thousands of systems in the US.
(5) Consider the circumstances under which the use of in-home graywater treatment systems is recommended. Almost none, in my opinion at they're doing in Arizona makes sense. also New Mexico.
— 3 — SB 1258
(6) Consider the use and regulation of graywater in other jurisdictions within the United States and in other nations. Arizona! what they're doing in Arizona makes sense. also New Mexico.
(d) The department may revise and update the standards adopted under this section at any time, and the department shall reconsider these standards at the next triennial rulemaking that commences after their adoption.
(e) The approval by the California Building Standards Commission of the standards for graywater systems adopted under this section shall terminate the authority of the Department of Water Resources to adopt and update standards for the installation, construction, and alteration of graywater systems in residential buildings pursuant to Chapter 22 (commencing with Section 14875) of Division 7 of the Water Code.
SEC. 2. Section 18941.7 is added to the Health and Safety
Code, to read:
18941.7. A city, county, or other local agency may adopt, after a public hearing and enactment of an ordinance or resolution, building standards that prohibit entirely the use of graywater, or building standards that are more restrictive than the graywater building standards adopted by the department under Section 17922.12 and published in the California Building Standards Code. SEC. 3. Section 14877.1 of the Water Code is amended to read:
(a) The department, in consultation with the State Department of Public Health and the Center for Irrigation Technology at California State University, Fresno, shall adopt standards for the installation of graywater systems. In adopting these standards, the department shall consider, among other resources, “Appendix J,” as adopted on September 29, 1992, by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, the graywater standard proposed for the latest edition of the Uniform Plumbing Code of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, the City of Los Angeles Graywater Pilot Project Final Report issued in November 1992, and the advice of the Center for Irrigation Technology at California State University, Fresno, on the installation depth for subsurface drip irrigation systems. This is an unfortunate step backwards...hopefully the 1997 revisions will be considered as well.
(b) The department shall include among the approved methods of subsurface irrigation, but shall not be limited to, drip systems.
(c) The department shall revise its graywater systems standards as needed.
(d) The authority of the department under this chapter to adopt standards for residential buildings shall terminate upon the approval by the California Building Standards Commission of the standards submitted to that commission pursuant to Section 17922.12 of the Health and Safety Code.
Here is the first official draft of the new standard, with suggested changes and the rationale behind them, in MS word. Turn on "track changes" to see the red changes.
I have only responded to part of it so far.
The general response among stakeholders to this draft is that adopting this language would set greywater regulation back to the stone age...that it is definitely worse than the code we have now and possibly worse than the pre-1997 revision appendix J.
Apparently this is by requirement, not design. That is, DHC is required by statute to use the IAMPMO language as its starting point, regardless of it's known shortcomings.
The best course of action would be to throw this language out at the first stakeholders meeting and start from scratch using Arizona's code or our improved version of the Arizona code, , as a base.
This is legally possible, and is in fact the intent of SB 1258. What DHC needs to be able to go this far is for you to TAKE EFFECTIVE ACTION, as described above, so they can defend this course of action against the entrenched greywater resistance in the state health department.
I hope to add an improved version of our improved Arizona code (Model Greywater Ordinance (doc)) to this space, incorporating your input. Please E mail us your suggestions and supporting data!
Unrealistic laws have poor participation rates. Santa Barbara, for example, has issued approximately 10 permits for grey water systems in the twenty years between 1989 and 2009 (!)
And this is in the birthplace of legal greywater. A place where our own door to door survey in 1990 (the only survey of greywater use rates that I'm aware of) indicated that during this severe drought over half of households in some areas, or about 50,000 Santa Barbarans were using grey water!
Something is clearly wrong here. If builders of 499 out of 500 structures refused to get permits, you can bet there would be investigation of all aspects of the permitting system, standards, and people's practices.
This dismal greywater permit participation rate is an issue for several reasons:
Why do health authorities think people will get sick from greywater?
So why aren't people getting sick from greywater? Two main reasons:
The actual, reported risk of greywater systems in the US, so far as we've been able to determine, is zero.
There is a long history of surface greywater reuse, with systems far, far less safe than those specified in the current law, which has not produced a single documented case of greywater-transmitted illness in the United States. In Australia, greywater is legally distributed through sprinklers with 6’ throw.
The City of Los Angeles Greywater Pilot Project showed that greywater makes a negligible contribution to the pathogens in soil, while dog feces, for example, contribute a significant amount of pathogens to the suburban environment. Even the worst illegal greywater systems don’t stand out among myriad sources that besiege our bodies with pathogens in the course of ordinary life. The actual health threat is plenty small enough to include ecological and practical considerations on equal footing with public health considerations.
It is my belief that simple greywater systems are to septic systems what under 120 ft2 sheds are to houses. Most jurisdictions allow small sheds to be built without permits, provided they meet guidelines as to height, setbacks, and other restrictions.
It would be a waste of citizen and regulator resources to inspect every woodshed, tree house and chicken coop. There is a recognition in the code that certain classes of structures are beneath regulator attention.
The same is true of greywater systems. Since people are not getting sick from them, why waste regulatory energy on them?
Rational allocation of regulatory resources is the clear trend for greywater regulation. Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas have all passed tiered greywater regulations, the simplest tier of which do not require a permit application.
California may not be ready to take this step for all systems, but I strongly suggest it take this step for laundry-only greywater systems.
One way of getting the participation rate off the ground and gaining some credibility as a source of guidance for greywater users would be to follow Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas's lead in the sensible regulation of greywater by providing a statewide permit for simple, laundry-only greywater systems that met reasonable guidelines (or allowing them without a permit, like small sheds. Or, allowing local jurisdictions to pursue reduced permitting and regulatory oversight for laundry only systems, as each local jurisdiction sees fit).
Relative to the status quo (hundreds of thousands of households doing this very thing outside the regulatory system), this can only improve public health and safety. Here's the rationale for handling laundry water differently:
If you can think of a disadvantage to this change relative to the status quo, please E mail us.
Info onLaundry to Landscape, a new design for the simplest, most ecological laundry only system currently known, which can be made easily from off-the shelf components.
Needed Improvements to CPC/UPC Greywater Law (from our Builder's Grey Water Guide (book), edited for the SB1258 round of improvements.
Wherever appropriate, require achievement of performance goals (e.g., ecologically and biologically safe treatment of wastewater), with explicit designs as options, rather than specifying mandatory techniques to be used. The field is evolving too fast for specific designs to be relied on exclusively.
Be more realistic about the quantitative health threat from greywater systems. (see above).
Regarding indoor greywater reuse, require achievement of performance goals and encourage cascading. I personally believe that there is no currently available system which is economical and ecological for indoor reuse. However, this was the case with outdoor systems when the first greywater law was passed. I think it would be a mistake to kill the nascent indoor greywater reuse industry by making impossible regulatory barriers. I suggest setting out reasonable performance criteria and leaving it at that. The economic viability barriers will keep this sector very small for the foreseeable future.
Base code: Start with Appendix G, the currently adopted greywater language in California, unless Chapter 16 2009 version is demonstrably better. In it's 2007 version it is a huge step backwards. (If this is not done, the list of needed changes is much longer, as all the problems remedied in the 1997 revision would be back on the to do list...see: UPC&CPC improvements)
Use the latitude mandated in SB1258 17922.12. c) 6, to use Arizona's greywater law as the base template for laundry only systems.
G-1-f Allow reduction in size or elimination of septic/sewer system if the alternative waste disposal system is capable of handling all wastes as well or better, at the discretion of the Administrative Authority. There are sites and regions where currently mandated treatment technologies cause more ecological and health problems than proven alternatives. Regulators are allowing this in practice, and they should have clear guidelines.
G-7 Allow greywater systems in areas with high groundwater at the discretion of the Administrative Authority. A proper greywater system design can provide better treatment and protect groundwater better than currently mandated systems. A specific provision requiring that a given amount of soil separate greywater from aquifers in Karst formations would be reasonable.
G-7, G-8, Table G-2, Table G-3 Explicitly allow reduction in system design loads with water-conserving fixtures. Projects with aggressive conservation shouldn’t be penalized by having to install the same size system as the worst water hogs. The current language allows local discretion in this area but the possibility is not mentioned explicitly.
G-8-b Allow greywater systems across a wider range of percolation rates, at administrative authority discretion. Greywater systems are safer at higher and lower percolation rates than septic systems, so it is foreclosing on the possibility of a real water quality and public health improvement to not allow the loading on septics to be reduced on a discretionary basis.
G-9-h Require below-grade tanks to be anchored against popping to the surface if conditions indicate this may be a problem. Unlike septic tanks, greywater surge tanks are often empty and experience tremendous buoyant lift under saturated soil conditions. This would protect consumers.
G-11-a-2 Modify the requirement that “system design shall be such that emitter flow variation shall not exceed plus or minus 10%” with the phrase “in instances where greater variation could result in flows high enough to produce per emitter ponding in the soil in question.” Greywater systems do not all require this level of precision.
G-11-a-6 Change wording from “pressure at pump shall not exceed 20 psi” to “pressure at any emission device shall not exceed 20 psi.” The current wording effectively precludes irrigation with adequate pressure at a location significantly higher than the pump.
G-11-a-5, G-11-b-2 Explicitly allow greywater to be distributed and emitted through lines covered by mulch at the discretion of the Administrative Authority. This would be a great step forward. This would support local discretion in greywater regulation, which is generally agreed to be a goal.
G-11-b-1 Allow smaller diameter pipe, half-pipes in Mini-Leachfields. Or better yet, delete mini-leachfields as a specific system (since few or none have ever been built, or ever will be built) and put in general performance guidelines for non-drip systems.
Table G-1 Allow installations on steeper slopes where environmental conditions are such that the water will not surface.
Table G-2 Take into account the higher LTAR of mulch basins by halving the required infiltration area for systems that use them.
Explicitly describe Laundry to Landscape to Mulch Basins, Branched Drain to Mulch Basins, Infiltration Beds, Leaching Chambers, and Box Troughs (see The New Create an Oasis with Grey Water (book)) as allowed system examples.
Figures: Show a greywater surge tank (usually a 55 gal drum) rather than a sewage ejector pump tank in UPC figures. Include a note that the running trap is only required in the rare instance that the fixtures lack traps.
Eliminate the requirement for backwater valves. These are an unnecessary expense and a maintenance issue. If they are not needed to prevent blackwater from pouring out the shower drain, they shouldn't be required to prevent blackwater from backing into the greywater system. There is likely to be more exposure to people unclogging the backwater valves than is avoided by having them.
Allow greywater surge tank to be vented back through the house vents (as is done with all septic tanks and sewers) as an alternative to a vent at the tank. A vent is necessary; a dedicated vent is not.
California Health And Safety Code Section 17958.5
Except as provided in Section 17922.6, in adopting the
ordinances or regulations pursuant to Section 17958, a city or county
may make such changes or modifications in the requirements contained
in the provisions published in the California Building Standards
Code and the other regulations adopted pursuant to Section 17922 as
it determines, pursuant to the provisions of Section 17958.7, are
reasonably necessary because of local climatic, geological, or
For purposes of this subdivision, a city and county may make
reasonably necessary modifications to the requirements, adopted
pursuant to Section 17922, contained in the provisions of the code
and regulations on the basis of local conditions.
SB 1258 c (6) Consider the use and regulation of graywater in other jurisdictions within the United States and in other nations.
Malibu p. H1-2 (Handbook 1, page 2) , top of second column: it appears that only the two more complex of four types of greywater systems require an inspection
p. H3-6, H3-19 H7-1, H7-8, "mulched watering moats"
H7-5 "for single fixtures, a soil can be determined by homeowner (Handbook 5). For two fixtures, the City Health Specialist may allow the homeowner test. For more than two fixtures, a professional soils analysis is required"
Greywater definition follows the EU, Australia:
Sec. 18.23.240 Greywater.
"Greywater" shall include all domestic waste water obtained from the drainage of showers, bathtubs, kitchen sinks, laboratories, and laundry facilities, exclusive of water utilized for the transport and disposal of body eliminations. (Ord. No. 3343, adopted 1981.)
Tiered regulation of greywater,
Montana's 2007 greywater law HB 259 follows the European Union and Australian definition of greywater, which includes kitchen sink water:
Section 1. Definitions. As used in this part, unless the context indicates otherwise, the following definitions apply:
(1) "Gray water" means wastewater that is collected separately from a sewage flow and that does not contain industrial chemicals, hazardous wastes, or wastewater from toilets.
(2) "Gray water reuse system" means a plumbing system for a private, single-family residence that collects gray water.
According to Regulators "must not require people to get a permit" (page 10).
This suggestion is for the DHCD to publish (for example, on the web) the list of studies and assumptions that their conclusions are based on, so other stakeholders have ready access to the the same, common set of shared data. This should save time all the way around, and facilitate communication.
These are points where more data (or more official data) would facilitate regulatory support for greywater best management practices:
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