The City of Long Beach is proud to announce the Laundry to Landscape Graywater pilot program. The Office of Sustainability is encouraging residents to conserve resources by using water from their washing machines in backyard irrigation systems for trees, shrubs and gardens. This program is intended to raise awareness throughout the community, change attitudes and encourage greater participation in sustainability efforts. This program is funded by the Long Beach Water Department.

The application deadline has now passed. On Thursday October 27th, four winners and four alternates were randomly selected during the opportunity drawing for each council district. In the weeks following, each property drawn will have an assessment conducted to determine their suitability for the project. The installation of the 36 laundry to landscape systems is expected to commence in February 2012.

A typical clothes washing machine uses 15 gallons of water a week per person in the household. Water discharged from washing machines, bathtubs and sinks is considered graywater, dirtier than potable water but cleaner than sewage water or "black" water. The systems installed will consist of a valve to manage the flow of the graywater from the washing machine, and can divert it to the sewage system when necessary - for instance, when bleach or harsh detergents are used in the laundry. Benefits include reduced water consumption, natural purification of graywater and reduced stress on the sewage system.

The Laundry to Landscape graywater system directs wastewater from the washing machine to the landscape through a system of pipes, diverter switches, valve boxes and mulch basins. In Long Beach, residents are encouraged to use their graywater system to irrigate native coastal landscapes. Graywater irrigation systems are safe for watering most vegetable gardens, except for root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots. Graywater is not recommended for watering lawns.

In January 2010, the California plumbing code was updated to include new specific guidelines governing the design and installation of all graywater systems. In a laundry to Landscape system, no City permits are required if State guidelines are followed. A licensed plumber will install the systems with assistance from Green Job Trainees with the Office of Sustainability.

Larry Rich, Sustainability Coordinator 562.570.5839
David Magdangal, Designer 562.570.6356