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Old 08-02-2008, 01:04 PM
45 posts, read 180,022 times
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Are there any Texas laws against using the gray water (water from tubs, sinks) to water your yard?
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Old 08-02-2008, 03:45 PM
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newer homes with grey water systems have something that does some type of purification I think vs just running it into a cistern that you draw from for irrigation

I don't know that anyone could prevert you from using water in your bathtub to water your plants/grass but the soap might not do them anygood...
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Old 08-02-2008, 03:56 PM
Location: A little suburb of Houston
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You can use gray water for this purpose. The state law regarding gray water usage/disposal can be found in Title 30 of the Texas Administrative Code Chapter 285 subchapter H (tried to link but it would not work).
Counties/cities may have more stringent rules or ordinances in place as well but generally follow the state on this issue.
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Old 08-02-2008, 06:41 PM
Location: North Texas
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I found this on that web site: <Try This Link>

(d) Graywater from a graywater system as described in subsection (a) of this section may only be used:

(1) around the foundation of new housing to minimize foundation movement or cracking;

(2) for gardening;

(3) for composting; or

(4) for landscaping at a single family dwelling.
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Old 08-03-2008, 10:40 AM
Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas)
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The biggest challenge with grey water is catchment on an existing home. Since most homes are built with slab foundations and therefore provide no access to drainage plumbing, it is simply not an option on most existing homes.

I have written emails and letters to the city of Dallas to request a change in building code to require separate grey and black water drainage systems. If they were combined AFTER they came out of the foundation, the option to go with grey water reuse becomes a feasible option. The cost of separating grey and black water upon construction is very minimal. Please write your local building code offices to try to get the change made.

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Old 08-03-2008, 05:43 PM
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Thanks all of you for your comments.

I read the link, Korel, it was very informative... To my understanding, IF you have a washing machine draining gray water into your yard, you can use it to water ground cover, (within certain criteria) using a filter on the line, but it had to be in existance before the law was intact. Otherwise to use gray water, you have to have a on-site sewage facility (OSSF) system.

I read another thread on here that certain laws restricts bathtub water use or any water that has been in contact with humans or food particles. In the explanation ,it said that washing the human body introduces pathogens into the gray water--therefore bath water can't be used.

I mean I understand that we don't want to spread disease through sick people bathing and draining it out in their back yards. But if you're healthy, I really can't understand it, and it just seems a little out of focus, when my dog's "pathogens" get on my yard everyday.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:54 AM
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The change in Texas law was in relation to flood irrigation. You can still re-use the graywater from the laundry, but just have to do it in the proper way. It doesnt have to be expensive. A simple kit can be as low as $245 + a barrel. That kit distributes water evenly over a large area. Laundry to Landscape is another possible method, but this is highly labor intensive in setting up, and puts the washing machine under stress.

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I agree that Texas should be encouraging separate plumving systems for new houses, and it does include that in the code. Tucson Arizona has gone a step further - it is now mandatory for the plumbing to be separated.

Last edited by SouthernBelleInUtah; 09-16-2010 at 12:46 PM..
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:47 PM
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In Korel's link to the Texas State site states that:

a) Permits and inspections are not required for the domestic use of less than 400 gallons of graywater each day

We use less than that much for all of our water usage combined. So, for you home owners that would have 400 or less gallons of graywater per day - double check with your city but it looks like you don't need a permit or inspection - therefore no special treatment.

By the way, plants love phosphates.

A couple of things to keep in mind though:
No run-off onto other's property
No sprinkler delivery (which is silly since my buddy's septic system uses a sprinkler to deliver the filtered water)
The term graywater is not a casual term - once in a while you might want to wash it into the ground with your water hose.

I'm not sure just how I'm going to accomplish running a graywater line from my shower, tub and washer without a whole lot of renovations but I'm going to look into it for sure.

Saying of the day: Saving the planet is not always cost effective.
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:28 AM
Location: East Dallas
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I would think that it would be much cheaper to catch rain and use it than gray water?
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Old 03-16-2012, 11:50 PM
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That all depends, Pete, on how much you spend on your barrels. I've looked high and low for free ones to no avail. Yes, you can buy them ready made for $250. 55 gallons won't catch very much rain. Unless you are only watering a tiny garden you would need much more water than 55 gallons.

My 2200 sqft roof can produce 500 to 1000 gallons in a really good long rain storm or a fairly rainy season. Thats 10 to 20 barrels to catch it all for saving towards the drier summer. To catch all 1000 gallons it would cost me nearly $5000 by Just's calculations. I would still need to water some during the worst droughts and plastic barrels do slowly decay in sunlight and will need to be replaced eventually. I can BUY a whole lot of city water for $5000. Even with the water restrictions you can still water in most cities as long as you use soaker hoses and no water enters the street.

As for washing machine gray water: at first I figured that a simple valve should be able to divert the gray water from my washing machine but to where? Here we go with barrels again. And barrels have almost zero water pressure unless you use an electric pump. Even if that pump is solar powered it adds to the expense.

A while back I found only one source for 55 gallon plastic food-grade barrels for under $20 each but the minimum order was 300 barrels.

I recently called Dr Pepper, here in Dallas. They go through hundreds of those things a day. But they won't give or sell them - against company policy. They shred them and sell to recyclers. I'm guessing the ingredients would be easy to discover if they gave or sold the barrels to the wrong people.

My long-term plan is simpler. I visited the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin this week. They have quite a program there. While they do harvest all of the rainwater that falls on the buildings, they have many species that do not need that water. I'm planning to tear out my current lawn and plant a native grasses mix which is lush and drought tollerant. I'll also plant only drought tollerant perenial native plants and flowers in my gardens with some drought tollerant native anuals for a bit more color. I'll need to water only a little bit and then only in the middle of the worst drought to keep them alive. I can plant for maybe $500, and I figure that while I'm taking a very long time to spend the other $4500 on city water your $250 each plastic barrels will have decayed and been replaced once or twice and your pump(s) will have been serviced many times and perhaps even replaced.

So, good luck with the gray water. Good luck with barrells. Good luck with water pumps. For now I'm going a different and hopefully less expensive route towards the same end - a pretty, lush, relitavely inexpensive landscape.

For now I'm putting "gray water useage" up there with rain barrels, solar power, wind power, electric cars and such as being pie-in-the-sky, warm-fuzzy, I-helped-save-the-earth-and-it-cost-me-my-retirement-check, do-gooder-friendly things to do that cost more than they save.

I'll say it again: Sometimes saving the earth is just not cost effective.
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