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State Eases Restrictions On Graywater Systems

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Aired 1/18/10

The California Building Standards Commission has loosened up restrictions on the use of residential graywater systems to help ease the state's water shortage.

— The California Building Standards Commission has loosened up restrictions on the use of residential graywater systems to help ease the state's water shortage.

Graywater is dirty water that comes out of your clothes washing machine, your tub or your bathroom sink. Installing a system to reuse that water for irrigation has required a permit. That's caused most homeowners to either not reuse graywater or do it illegally. But last week the state building standards commission removed the permit requirement for systems that are hooked up to clothes washers.

Dave Walls, the executive director of the commission, said, "Permits are generally required if you're cutting into the plumbing system."

However, he said with laundry graywater systems, "The line is direct to the outside."

A spokesman for the state's Department of Housing said homeowners can reuse up to 22,000 gallons of water a year from a laundry graywater system.

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