What is Graywater?
Water used for bathing and laundry may go down the drain, but it doesn't need to go to waste. You can put it to good use on your landscape -- safely and legally.
Up to 40 percent of your indoor water can be captured and reused as graywater. Sources of graywater in the home include the laundry, bathroom faucets, showers, and bathtubs. Kitchen sink, diaper soiled water, and "blackwater" (toilet flush water) are not acceptable sources of graywater.
Using graywater at home
An easy way to incorporate graywater is to install a three-way diverter valve at your clotheswasher and water your plants with the rinse water.
How much can you save? A laundry to landscape solution saves about 3,600 gallons a year if you have a water-efficient clotheswasher, and up to 11,200 gallons a year if you have a top-loader. Rebates are available for the diverter (see below).
If you go through your city permit process, you may be able to use other sources of graywater like showers and bathroom sinks for watering plants.
Graywater is a reliable supplemental water supply, especially during drought. Graywater also provides plants with added nutritional benefits. In some cases, with permitting, graywater may also be used for toilet flushing or laundry.
Capturing graywater reduces use of fresh water, energy, and chemicals for wastewater treatment. In addition, it recharges groundwater and reclaims nutrients.
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.
- A rebate of up to $50 per graywater system three-way diverter valve. 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, you must
- Be an EBMUD customer.
- Submit a completed Graywater Financial Incentive application form (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 form (see below). Mail to:EBMUD Water Conservation Division
P.O. Box 24055, MS 109
Oakland, CA 94623