Building Codes Are Last Obstacle to Wider Use of Graywater in Homes

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Building Codes Are Last Obstacle to Wider Use of Graywater in Homes

Use of graywater makes sense and saves a lot of water, so why isn’t it happening, or even mandated, everywhere?
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Green Builder Media

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 10:00am

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Today, the technology and know-how exists to take graywater from washing machines and showers—as well as rainwater collected from roofs—and use that water to flush toilets and irrigate landscapes. That same water can be brought back into the house, treated, and used yet again. It makes a lot of sense and saves a lot of water, so why isn’t it happening, or even mandated, everywhere?

“All water reuse scenarios are doable, and most of them are covered by the current code,” says Doug Pushard, founder of HarvestH2o and a designer of residential water management systems. “However, there are some holes—the codes have not been integrated. The rainwater code was driven by the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association, and the graywater code came from states doing it and publishing best practices.” (Learn about HarvestH2o’s Rainwater calculator here.)

Mixed Messages
An example of where adoption gets tricky is mixing graywater and rainwater in the same tank. “This practice is not yet covered in the codes,” Pushard notes. “The purification is almost identical, but I have a feeling when I go to do my first one this year in Santa Fe, they will not allow the mixing of these waters. I will have to have two tanks and two filtration systems.”

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Keywords: Energy | Cati O'Keefe | Code Watcher | Education | Environment | Graywater | Green Builder Media | KB Home | Nexus eWater | Rainwater catchment | Responsible Production & Consumption

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