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Graywater System

On July 30, 2009, the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) adopted emergency standards pertaining to graywater for single-family applications. The emergency standards have been in effect since August 4, 2009. These new standards relax existing graywater installation requirements making it easier for homeowners to conserve water by installing small graywater systems.

State of California Graywater Press Release

What is Graywater?

Graywater is defined as untreated waste water that has not been contaminated by any toilet discharge, not been affected by infectious contaminated, or unhealthy bodily wastes, and does not present a threat from contamination by unhealthful processing, manufacturing, or operating wastes.

  Graywater includes wastewater from:  
  • Bathtubs
  • Showers
  • Bathroom washbasins
  • Clothes washing machines
  • Laundry tubs
 Graywater does not include wastewater from: 
  • Kitchen sinks
  • Dishwashers
  • Other plumbing fixtures such as toilets

What are the amendments?

Link to Emergency Standards Adopted Code 
Link to Emergency Standards Adopted Code Revised 12-21-2009

The emergency amendment modifies the existing graywater system standards and includes a new provision, which allows the installation of a clothes washer system without a permit. More complex graywater systems and/or systems that produce more than 250 gallons per day have very specific design standards and require permits. View a standard complex graywater system illustration.

These relaxed standards are intended to be cost-effective and encourage homeowners to conserve up to 250 gallons of water per day in irrigation costs and reduce the graywater disposed into the sanitary sewer system.

Please contact the Department of Community Development, Building and Safety if you have any questions or would like to learn more about installing a clothes washer graywater system in your home at (310) 285-1141.

What is a graywater “Clothes Washer System”?

A small system is also known as “clothes washer systems”.

  • A Clothes Washer Systemis a graywater system which uses a single domestic clothes washing machine in single family dwelling.

City of Beverly Hills Graywater Incentives

On September 23, 2008, the City Council adopted a voluntary single-family residential Green Building Program which provides incentives to include graywater systems in your home. Click Here to Learn More…

What code was amended?

These new emergency standards changed the 2007 California Plumbing Code which is currently in effect. Additionally, these standards are in the process of being incorporated as part of the 2010 California Plumbing Code, which the City of Beverly Hills will adopt by January 1, 2011.

What is the State of California Doing on Graywater?

The State of California has passed Senate Bill 1258, Lowenthal 2008, which requires the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to adopt building standards for the construction, installation, and alteration of graywater systems for indoor and outdoor uses.

The California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) has approved Emergency Standards pertaining to Graywater for Residential Application - Effective Aug. 4, 2009.

What is the estimated cost to install a small gray water system?
The small graywater system, commonly refered to as the clothes washer system is estimated to cost approximately $1,500 but varies on the scope of the work, property conditions, and compliance requirments identified by the new code amendments.

Web Page Updated: Wednesday, March 9, 2010

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