Guerilla Greywater Goes Public Policy

Once guerrilla, now becoming policy, greywater reuse is picking up in cities across the country.

2 minute read

May 23, 2009, 9:00 AM PDT

By Nate Berg


"Now, the Guerrillas and other greywater advocates are taking their fight to state capitols and city halls. They want regulators to loosen plumbing codes that assume all wastewater flows straight to the sewer or septic tank. And they have a model for how to do it. Arizona now allows residents to install greywater systems without a permit, provided they use 400 gallons or fewer a day and meet certain performance standards. The city of Tucson has gone a step further. Last September, the city approved a regulation that, beginning in 2010, will require all new homes to include plumbing that enables greywater systems.

Similar laws are less likely in cold-weather climates where pipes freeze in the winter. But in the South and West, where populations are growing and water supplies tightening, increased household water reuse is a real possibility. New Mexico and Texas have approved laws similar to Arizona's. Now, California is looking at relaxing its rules, too. For greywater advocates, the change not only would legitimize plumbing work that thousands of people have done on the sly. It also would encourage others to install greywater systems-and make professional plumbers comfortable with taking jobs they otherwise can't touch without a permit.

An even bigger boost may be on its way in the next few years. The trade association that writes the Uniform Plumbing Code-a document that many states and localities defer to in their own codes-is looking at loosening rules for greywater and other alternative water sources."

Friday, May 1, 2009 in Governing

View of Mount Hood at golden hour with Happy Valley, Oregon homes in foreground.

Clackamas County Votes to Allow ADUs, Residential RVs

County officials hope the zoning changes will help boost the housing supply in the region.

June 18, 2024 - Mountain Times

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Aerial view of intersection in New York City with yellow cabs and zebra crosswalks.

Planners’ Complicity in Excessive Traffic Deaths

Professor Wes Marshall’s provocatively-titled new book, "Killed by a Traffic Engineer," has stimulated fierce debates. Are his criticisms justified? Let’s examine the degree that traffic engineers contribute to avoidable traffic deaths.

June 13, 2024 - Todd Litman

Digital drawing of person holding city skyline with wifi symbols and lines indicating smart cities or data.

Cities Awarded for Data-Driven Projects

The What Cities Works Certification recognizes cities for using data to solve real problems.

6 hours ago - Smart Cities Dive

The Basilica of St. Joseph in San Jose, California.

Faith-Based Housing Movement Grows

More churches and municipalities are saying ‘Yes in God’s Backyard.’

7 hours ago - Vox

Close-up of red and white BUS LANE sign painted in street lane.

Why BRT Can Benefit Cities More Than Rail

Bus rapid transit lines offer a less expensive, quicker-build alternative to rail that can bring other infrastructure improvements with it.

June 21 - Governing

City Planner I

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner II

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner Supervisor

Department of Housing and Community Development

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.