Speak Up to Ensure Greywater and Rainwater Catchment Are Part of California’s Code!

We were passed on the message below from Greywater Action, a fiscally-sponsored project of the Ecology Center. With the EcoHouse, we went through the process of obtaining a permit for the greywater system there, shown in the picture, which was the first in Berkeley. We know the difficult hoops homeowners have to jump through with permitting. The state should encourage water-saving activities by making these systems easy for everyone to implement. For a less water intensive future, send in your thoughts to policymakers, and spread the word!

“Your help is needed! A new state proposal is set to adopt more a restrictive code which will move California backward and prevent more widespread use of rainwater and greywater.
As part of a triennial code adoption process the recent (2009) California greywater code is being thrown out and replaced with a more restrictive and cumbersome code. This new proposed code also includes rainwater- with overly stringent requirements- which would make many back yard rain barrel and cistern systems illegal. ”

“Even if you don’t live in California your voice is needed. This proposed code is part of the ‘Universal Plumbing Code’ which is adopted by many states in the US. If California rejects the restrictive components it can help other states do the same.
For a more sustainable water future for California we need to change this proposed code! Please send comments (example letter below) and spread the word.”

Send to:
Shawn Huff, Department of Housing and Community Development
Enrique Rodriguez, Building Standards Commission
Governor Jerry Brown
emails: shuff@hcd.ca.gov, enrique.rodriguez@dgs.ca.gov, governor@governor.ca.gov
Your assembly person and/or state senator

Example letter:
Dear Shawn Huff and Enrique Rodriguez,
I am writing to express my concern over the proposed adoption of Chapter 16 of the Uniform Plumbing Code for California. I believe we need a code that will encourage and support water reuse so we can protect California’s water resources and reduce our consumption of fresh water supplies.
I want California to support low cost, safe and legal systems. Please do not adopt the proposed code until it has been changed so it can benefit, not harm our water future.
I urge you to make the following changes to the code:
1) Restore any text present in the current greywater code that is missing in the proposed code.
2) Don’t include more restrictive and prohibitive language in the new code for greywater systems.
3) Allow for simple and legal back yard rainwater harvesting systems including gravity fed rainwater irrigation systems with no permit and no treatment of the water (i.e. chlorine)
4) Greatly increase the size of rainwater storage that doesn’t require a permit. Other states allow safe types of cisterns up to 5,000 gallons with no permit. The proposed 360 gallons is much to small, that is only the size of 7 rain barrels.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this issues.
(your name)

Other things to include:
* If you have greywater or rainwater systems in your home
* If this could affect your business
* Local water issues that make this important for your area

If you are able to attend a March 7th stakeholders meeting in Sacramento, please see details here.
The complete text is also available for download at www.greywateraction.org

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