Greywater Reuse for the Pacific Northwest

2:45 pm, Room 210 - Action and Advocacy

Laura Allen, Greywater Action

Greywater reuse is an increasingly popular method of water conservation in the west. As temperatures rise and droughts become more commonplace, greywater reuse can offer an affordable, low-energy solution to keep landscapes green and productive throughout the summer months—without consuming precious potable water. It's time for greywater reuse to be an viable option for residents of the Pacific Northwest. What are the barriers here to implementing these systems in our homes and landscapes? Are they codes and policies? Lack of education? The “yuck” factor? And how can we overcome these barriers? This talk will highlight the current, tried-and-true systems available, and discuss the codes regulating them. The talk will include: Overview of popular residential greywater systems, including their costs, complexities, capabilities, and limitations. Regulations in Washington and Oregon, as compared to California andincentives and education programs for greywater in the Pacific Northwest. Laura Allen, author and co-founder of the California based organization Greywater Action, has been on the forefront of providing public education and policy change activism around sustainable water practices for over a decade. She has worked with homeowners, design professionals, installers, city governments, and water agencies to mainstream greywater use in the west.

Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees will learn about five types of common greywater systems and understand their general costs, capabilities, and limitations.

  • Attendees will understand the requirements of the greywater code in Washington and Oregon, and the pathway to obtaining a greywater permit in these states.

  • Attendees will understand the existing regulatory challenges and barriers to obtaining permits in Washington and Oregon and suggestions for improving the code.

  • Attendees will learn of existing efforts to increase awareness and implementation of greywater systems through incentive programs in California and Oregon.

Laura Allen is the co-founder of Greywater Action. She was the lead author of the San Francisco Graywater Design Manual for Outdoor Irrigation and the author of the how-to books Greywater, Greenlandscape and The Water-Wise Home: How to Capture, Conserve, and Reuse Water in Your Home and Landscape, which includes technical instructions for design and installation of greywater systems. Laura has worked with many cities and municipals in California and Oregon on greywater programs including: Oregon DEQ, City of Ashland, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, City of Oakland, City of Santa Rosa, Los Angeles Building Department, Pasadena Water and Power, and West Basin Municipal Utility District. Laura has worked on the state plumbing code regulating greywater since 2009 and with multiple jurisdictions in California to streamline their process for permitting greywater systems. She is on the technical advisory committee for the International Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Officials’ (IAPMO) Water Efficiency Standard (We-STAND). Laura developed the first greywater training for professionals in California and leads classes and workshops on greywater systems design and installation.