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Permits May Not be Needed for Some Greywater

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The California Department of Housing says people should be able to install small gray water systems without a permit.

— The California Department of Housing says people should be able to install small greywater systems without a permit.

Greywater is the water you drain from your bathtub and washing machine. Reusing it to water landscaping is one way to stretch California's water resources. But installing a greywater system requires a permit and many people have complained it's too highly regulated.

In response, the housing department has proposed allowing homeowners to install greywater systems without a permit, provided the system produces less than 250 gallons a day.

Doug Hensel is Assistant Deputy Director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

"There was a need for less complex systems to have less oversight," he said.

The proposal goes before the California Building Standards Commission at the end of July. Hensel says local governments would still be able to require permitting of greywater systems if they choose. But he hopes they'll follow the state's lead.

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