What is Graywater?
Graywater is water from indoor sources that is captured and reused. Sources of graywater in the home include the laundry, bathroom faucets, showers, and bathtubs.
Not all indoor water is suitable for reuse. Water from kitchen sinks, diaper soiled water, and "blackwater" (toilet flush water) are not acceptable sources of graywater.
Why use Graywater?
During water shortages or drought, graywater used for landscape irrigation can be a reliable supply of water for your plants. In some cases, with permitting, graywater may also be used for toilet flushing or laundry.
- reduces the use of fresh water
- lowers water bills
- puts less strain on treatment systems and septic tanks
- reduces energy and chemicals used for wastewater treatment
- recharges groundwater
Using graywater at home
An easy way to incorporate graywater is to install a three-way diverter valve at your clotheswasher, redirecting the water from your laundry to your landscape.
A laundry-to-landscape solution saves around 3,600 gallons a year if you have a water-efficient clotheswasher, and up to 11,200 gallons a year if you have an older top-loader. Rebates are available for the diverter (see below).
If you go through your city permit process, you may also be able to use other sources of graywater like showers and bathroom sinks for your landscape.
Tips for using graywater:
- In the winter, plants get their water from natural rainfall. To prevent overwatering, turn off your diverter during the rainy season.
- Use environmentally-friendly detergent.
Graywater is not recommended:
- For vegetable gardens.
- If drain pipes are not accessible.
- If your soil is too permeable or impermeable.
- If the amount of water use doesn't justify the cost of installation.
- If you live 100 yards (and up the hill) from a creek.
EBMUD offers a rebate of up to $50 for the purchase of a three-way diverter valve, used for the laundry-to-landscape system. If the cost of the valve is less than $50, only the actual purchase price will be rebated. Rebates will be issued by check or in the form of a credit to an EBMUD account.
Tax Notice: All rebates that, individually or in combination, total $600 or more in a tax year require submittal of a W-9 form to the District prior to payment. All personal information provided within the W-9 are kept confidential in accordance with the Privacy Act. If your total rebate amount is $600 or more, you will receive a 1099 form to comply with Internal Revenue Service requirements. The determination of whether your rebate is taxable or not may depend on several variables. You are recommended to contact your tax professional.
To be eligible for the graywater rebate, you must:
- Be an EBMUD customer.
- Submit a completed Graywater Rebate Application (see below).
- Provide a copy of the receipt for the three-way diverter valve within 90 days from the date of purchase.
Eligible customers must complete and sign an application. Mail completed applications to:EBMUD Water Conservation Division
P.O. Box 24055, MS 109
Oakland, CA 94623