Gray Water can be used for landscape irrigation, which helps conserve our drinking supply and decrease water utility bills. Gray Water systems that collect gray water from a residential clothes washer must be installed properly according to the California Plumbing Code Section 1502.1.1. An approved three-way diverter valve is required to divert water to the sanitary sewer when used to wash diapers or may otherwise contain hazardous chemicals.
Gray Water should not be allowed to come in contact with humans or pets and should not be used to irrigate garden vegetables intended for human consumption. The design should distribute the water into a subsurface or subsoil dispersion field or mulch basin.
Soaps, shampoos, detergent and cleansers that are used in Gray Water systems must be biodegradable and safe for gray water use. See a guide for gray water compatible cleaning products.
If there are no modifications to the plumbing or electrical systems, a single residential clothes washer gray water system does not require a building permit. Otherwise, all other Gray Water systems require a Building Division plan review and permit. Please check with the Building Division to see if your Gray Water system project requires a permit. To contact the Building Division, you may call 408-535-3555.
To learn more about gray water visit the following links:
- Santa Clara Valley Water District Graywater Resources
- Santa Clara Valley Water District “Graywater Laundry to Landscape Rebate Program”
- San Jose Water Company Water-Wise Tips for Lawn and Garden Care
Visit the Environmental Services Department's Water Conservation page to learn more about what you can do to conserve water.