Great news for greywater!
Yesterday the Building Standards Commission voted to pass the new California greywater code (Chapter 16 in the CA Plumbing Code).
This was passed as an emergency measure due to the drought and water shortages faced in the state.
The code will be going through a public review process for the next 45 days. The opposition (the plumbing union, and some building officials) will be writing in negative comments about the code. People who support having a simple, safe, and accessible code will also need to write in comments to help ensure the code is not changed during the comment period.
We’ll send you more info in the upcoming weeks about how to provide input into this process.
Thanks you again to everyone who has written and called in to the Department of Housing and Community Development to share your view point. They listened and responded in this new code. We couldn’t have done this with out the huge amount of support for simple greywater regulation coming from you all.
Importantly, the CA department of Public Health spoke in full support of the code, citing water shortages and degrading quality of fresh water being a much greater health concern than any potential issue with greywater.
Lastly, local jurisdictions will be allowed to make greywater more restrictive, which many will want to do. Now is a good time to start conversations with your cities and counties about how they can help support safe and accessible reuse of greywater.
Summary of the new code (as it’s written now)
* no permit needed for a washing machine system if the system followed health and safety guidelines outlined in the code
* no permit for a singe fixture (one shower) if guidelines are followed
* mulch basins allowed (instead of gravel)
* other systems are separated into “simple” and “complex” depending on the quantity of water. There are less requirements for “simple” systems.
* depth of discharge is 2 inches under mulch (it used to be 9″ under dirt)