Greywater Permit!

The drawing of the connection between the house greywater/blackwater sewer system and the greywater wetlands. Stamped “Approved for Construction”

The other exciting news from the week merits its own blog entry.


This is EXTREMELY exciting.  As you could have guessed from previous blog entries, (“Grey is Green” and “Landscaping Plans”), we expected that we would be putting in our greywater wetlands system long after we were done with the house because we expected the planning and permitting to take a long time.

But two things happened.  One, is that in June of this year, our Governator signed the “FInding of Emergency for Proposed Building Standards of the Department of Housing and Community Development regarding the 2007 California Plumbing Code (CPC) California Code of Regulations, Title 24, Part 5 (Graywater Standards)”.  Translated from extended legalese, it essentially said: “we’re in an extended drought, there should be no onerous regulatory red tape in the way of people putting in grey water systems, so get on with permitting them!”.  With one stroke of the pen, he changed the permitting climate entirely, and even exempted single source greywater systems from even needing permits.  This is a pretty major sea change in California.  The current emergency regs can be found here. These will be changing rapidly in the next few months as the wrinkles get ironed out.

The other happening was that Catherine went with our builder to meet with the head of the building department at Mountain View City Hall to review the proposed greywater plan prior to submission.  The plan was to walk through what we would be submitting with his department, and make sure we had all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed before submitting so that we would have as complete a package as possible, and so that we could gauge how receptive City Hall was going to be to our plans – that meeting couldn’t have gone better.

He looked at everything, was very interested in the way we had set up the greywater wetlands, reviewed all the details on Catherine’s hand-drawn “linker drawing” between the architectural house plans and the landscape plans, and predicted that we should have “no problem” getting this system permitted.  We walked out wondering “did we hear what we thought we just heard???”

Yes we did.  Two weeks after submitting the plans, they came back stamped “Approved for Construction”

As Nemo and Dory would say: “We did it! We did it! Oh yeah, yeah, yeah!”

1 reply
  1. ScottBlogs
    ScottBlogs says:

    I LOVE the whole grey water thing. I don’t recall seeing it in your TEDtalk today, but it is something I would love to do should the day come where I build a house.

    I didn’t see anything about a solar hot water heater, but I suppose its probably something you have noted somewhere.

    I had a dream once about having solar “shingles” on my roof. Woke up thinking it was a brilliant idea… then I looked it up to find that of course it exists… not sure how well they work though…


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *