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.
Using graywater provides multiple benefits:
- 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 brass three-way diverter valve at your clothes washer, 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 clothes washer, and up to 11,200 gallons a year if you have an older top loader. A rebate is available for the brass diverter valve.
If you go through your city permitting 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 the following situations:
- Watering vegetable gardens
- If drain pipes are not accessible
- If your soil is too permeable or impermeable
- If the amount of water use does not justify the cost of installation
- If you live 100 feet (and up the hill) from a creek
EBMUD offers a rebate of up to $50 for the purchase of a brass three-way diverter valve that is used for a laundry-to-landscape system. If the cost of the valve is less than $50, only the actual purchase price will be rebated. The rebate will be issued as a credit on your water bill within two billing cycles of rebate approval.
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 is 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 fulfill the following requirements:
- Be an EBMUD customer
- Within 90 days of purchase, submit a completed Graywater Rebate Application and copy of the receipt for the brass three-way diverter valve
P.O. Box 24055, MS 109
Oakland, CA 94623