West Basin's Rainwater/Greywater Workshops will teach residents about the benefits of using rainwater and greywater in their household systems. Residents will learn how to reuse greywater, as well as harvest their rainwater through rain barrels and cisterns. It will be a two-in-one workshop that emphasizes the importance of reusing both rainwater and greywater.
Rain barrels collect and reuse rain water, reducing the amount of water flowing into storm drains and local waterways. Every gallon of rainwater that is collected in rain barrels saves one gallon of imported water that would then be used for irrigation. Cisterns function in a similar manner, but they can hold larger amounts of rainwater. Cisterns can collect water from multiple sources (ex. downspouts, roofs) , and then distribute the water wherever it needs to go.
What is Greywater?
Greywater is used water from sinks, showers, baths and washing machines; it is not wastewater and can be safely used for outdoor irrigation! By re-using laundry water, residents can conserving water and reduce the energy, chemicals, and costs involved in treating water to potable quality.
The easiest way to utilize greywater is with a Laundry-to-Landscape (L2L) system. Creating a Laundry-to-Landscape greywater system in your home can play a critical role in drought resilience given its ease in both installation and maintenance. In efforts to reduce imported water use, there have been recent changes to the California Plumbing Code regarding gravity-fed greywater that make it easier for residents to create their own L2L system.
Laundry-to-Landscape (L2L) Greywater Workshops
Given the recent demand for easy and convenient strategies by our cities and retailers to conserve water, West Basin is now offering free Greywater Workshops taught by greywater industry experts. During these workshops, attendees are able to obtain general knowledge about common types of systems, design considerations, plumbing codes affecting greywater, as well as resources that would be utilized for further research. Secondly, participants are introduced to the details of constructing a laundry-to-landscape system including an estimated efficiency of the system, installation, and the physical operation along with feasibility of the model. Finally, the workshops conclude with a hands-on and interactive exercise of putting together the components of the L2L system with instruction from Laura Allen. To enroll in these workshops, contact South Bay Environmental Services Center at (310) 371-4633, please keep in mind that these courses reach capacity quickly.
Basic Greywater Guidelines
Greywater is different from fresh water and requires different guidelines for it to be used safely:
- Don’t store greywater (more than 24 hours). If you store greywater the nutrients in it will start to break down, creating bad odors.
- Minimize contact with greywater. Greywater could potentially contain a pathogen if an infected person’s feces got into the water, so your system should be designed for the water to soak into the ground and not be available for people or animals to drink.
- Infiltrate greywater into the ground, don’t allow it to pool up or run off (knowing how well water drains into your soil (or the soil percolation rate of your soil) will help with proper design. Pooling greywater can provide mosquito breeding grounds, as well as a place for human contact with greywater.
- Install a 3-way valve for easy switching between the greywater system and the sewer/septic.
- Match the amount of greywater your plants will receive with their irrigation needs.
For more information about greywater guidelines and types of systems, visit http://greywateraction.org/contentabout-greywater-reuse/.
For a free downloadable greywater design manual, click here.