how much water will i save?
the typical los angeles household uses 243
gallons of water per day. a greywater system
can reuse 50-80% of this water for irrigation,
saving up to 50,000 gallons of water each year.
at today's ladwp rates (including "sewer service
charge") this translates to savings of around
$400 per year.
how much does it cost?
our greywater irrigation systems are custom
designed for each house, taking into account
the owner's water use and irrigation needs, the
topography of the site, soil conditions, future
maintenance concerns, etc. we strive to make
each system as simple and reliable as possible.
laundry systems can cost as little as $1000; we
also install self-flushing filtered dripline systems
that can effectively disengage an entire yard
from the dwp grid.
can i use greywater to water my lawn?
greywater is much better suited for trees and
close groups of plantings. our favorite use of
greywater is for fruit trees, but greywater is also
perfect for shade trees, ornamental shrubs,
perennials, food forests, and flower beds.
are rebates or tax incentives available?
not in los angeles, however the ladwp has
rebate programs for several related items such
as drought-tolerant landscaping ($1/sf), high
efficiency washing machines ($300 rebate) and
high efficiency toilets ($100 rebate). see
http://ladwp.com for more info.
can you install systems for tenants?
yes; a "laundry drum" system is ideal for rentals
- low cost, low maintenance and minimally
disruptive to the building.
do you install rainwater storage systems?
yes we do! l.a. receives around 15 inches of
rainfall per year (that's 10,000 gallons for a
1000 square foot roof) but it is concentrated in
the winter months; holding this water through
the year requires large tanks. that said, there
are many innovative systems available, from
rainwater-filled pillows in the crawlspace to
architectural ferrocement cisterns and ornametal
will it work on a flat lot?
yes; laundry systems can almost always be
configured to work on a flat lot. we also design
pumped systems that can work in any
is greywater safe?
absolutely. there is not a single documented
case of an illness in the developed world caused
through graywater. basic sanitary measures
should be met: don't discharge greywater above
ground where childeren or pets could access it,
avoid watering the edible portion of food crops,
and don't store it for more than 24 hours.
is greywater legal?
in 2010 california approved chapter 16a of the
plumbing code, allowing simple residential
greywater systems to be legally installed.
laundry systems do not even require a building
permit; greywater corps was installed one of
the first legally permitted systems in the state
and we have continued to work with building
officials and agencies to ensure a smooth
do i have to use special soap?
yes, you will have to pay attention to what you
put down the drain. all our systems keep the
original plumbing intact, with a diverter valve to
direct flow to either the sewer or the landscape
- so if you run a load of laundry with bleach
you can send it to the sewer instead of to the
garden. when using greywater everything that
goes down the drain should be reevaluated with
the understanding that it will end up in your
soil. in general you should look for natural,
biodegradable laundry detergent and personal
soaps; there are hundreds of new
greywater-friendly products now on the market.
is there a lot of maintenance involved?
we try to make our systems as maintenance-
free as possible, with the understanding that
anything involving regular hassles for the owner
will ultimately be abandoned. branched- drain
and laundry-to-landscape systems have no
filters to change, chlorine tablets to buy, wiring
or additional pumps to worry about. like any
waste plumbing you will need to clear
occasional clogs. mulch shields in the yard will
need periodic inspection to monitor proper
system functioning; cleanouts are provided for
easy system flushing.
where does my water come from?
los angeles tap water comes from the following
35% is from the los angeles aqueduct, which
delivers water 419 miles from the sierra nevada
53% comes from the los angeles metropolitan
water district, which draws water from both the
sacramento river delta (around 400 miles via
the california aqueduct) and the colorado river
(242 miles via the colorado river aqueduct).
11% comes from local groundwater.
1% is recycled for irrigation, recreation, and
from there it receives preliminary screening,
primary and secondary filtration, then tertiary
filtration in sand beds or anthracite coal and
chlorine disinfection; then advanced treatment
through microfiltration or reverse osmosis and
additional disinfection using ultraviolet light or
how much water do you use?
here at greywater central our family uses
around 39 gallons per person per day, despite
having a 9000 sf lot with 3 peach trees, a plum
tree, avocados, loquats, kumquats, ruby-red
grapefruits, two apple trees, pineapple guavas,
lemons, tangerines, a fig tree, artichokes, and a