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Graywater in Long Beach
January 2010, the California plumbing code was updated to include new specific
guidelines governing the design and installation of all graywater systems. For
a system that uses a clothes washer, no City permits are required if State
guidelines are followed.
A typical washing machine
uses 15 gallons of water a day per person. Water discharged from washing
machines, bathtubs and sinks is considered graywater, dirtier
than potable water but cleaner than sewage water or "black" water.
Graywater irrigation systems are safe for watering most vegetable gardens,
though are not recommended for root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots.
For more information regarding
graywater systems and resources please visit the following:
"Laundry to Landscape"
On August 23, 2011 the
City of Long Beach unveiled a pilot program for residents to conserve resources
by using water from their washing machines for simple irrigation systems for
trees, shrubs and gardens. Through a lottery, 33 homes were selected to have a
graywater system installed that diverts water from the clothes washing machine
into mulch basins where it irrigates the landscape.
The systems installed include a valve
to manage the flow of the graywater from the washing machine, and can divert
the graywater 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
The installations in approved homes were performed
by Office of Sustainability Staff and a contracted plumber, with the help of
Workforce job trainees between February 2012 and June 2013.
Larry Rich, Sustainability Coordinator 562.570.5839
Jason Gallup, Project Lead 562.570.6281
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