Let’s talk graywater!

Did you know that Encinitas code requires that all new homes be preplumbed for graywater? This is a huge step in the right direction to push water conservation in residential building. As we all know, water is a precious resource that can’t be wasted, especially in a drought-prone area such as San Diego.

Graywater systems can save your household tens of thousands of gallons of water a year. They can be tied into the lavatory faucets, showers, tubs, and clothes washers. There are three levels of graywater reuse in residential building in San Diego – the first is the simplest and it is for laundry water to be reused in subsurface landscaping irrigation. This does not require a permit and is very easy to achieve. The second level is when you go beyond laundry and would like to incorporate other graywater sources such as lavatory faucets and showers, in which case a permit is required. In both cases, the water does not need to be treated if it is used for subsurface irrigation. The third level incorporates the indoor use of graywater for toilet flushing. This requires a permit and tertiary treatment.

The downside of graywater is the long-term investment of the system. The simpler systems can, however, be relatively inexpensive and San Diego County currently offers rebates for newly installed graywater systems.

At our Neuhaus project, the graywater system pulls relatively ‘clean’ water from lav faucets, showers/tubs, and the clothes washer, pumps it through two filters, and distributes it through the subsurface irrigation system. See the diagram of how it works below or check out this video of environmental consultant Bill Wilson walking through the system.


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