ReWater Systems has led the legal greywater irrigation industry in the US since 1990. We support architects, engineers, plumbers, and landscape professionals across the US with our complete single-family, multi-family, and commercial systems, all of which are backed up by potable water, some of which are also backed up by rain.
REWATER® SYSTEM BASICS
Once your shower, tub, bathroom sink, and laundry water (greywater/graywater) is separated indoors, the ReWater filter package captures and filters the water for reuse in a ReWater irrigation package. Together, they are a ReWater System. From an average 3.2-person home, this is 46,000 gallons of water, year after year. Over a 30-year mortgage, that’s 1,380,000 gallons of water! Large families, apartments, dormitories, and barracks, all produce far more.
DRIP IRRIGATION EFFICIENCIES
Once captured, the water is used in ReWater’s code-approved underground drip irrigation network, which is at least 30% and up to 60% more efficient than even properly adjusted sprinklers. This efficiency factor increases your usable water to 59,800 - 73,600 gallons for the average home, year after year, and far more for larger systems.
Drip systems also protect your fences, walls, and windows from spotting, discoloration, and moss. Because it’s underground, you don’t have to look at unsightly black tubes laying around your landscape. Using it underground allows the soil’s microbes to break down any organic matter, literally turning it into plant food.
Underground irrigation leaves the soil’s surface dry. The first time it rains, accumulated fertilizers, animal feces, pesticides, and silt that would have run into the watershed are instead absorbed by the soil. This virtually eliminates irrigation run-off, one of the leading causes of water pollution in the Western US.
ReWater's systems keep up to half of your wastewater stream from being turned into sewage, thereby avoiding treatment costs and environmental impacts. Whether you’re trying to protect your leach fields or be part of a big-picture solution, our systems significantly reduce wastewater discharges.
Pumping this benign source of water around your landscape significantly decreases the water-embedded energy costs associated with delivering water to your home from distant watersheds and for treating wastewater from your home. The farther you live from the real source of your water, the more energy you save compared to using fresh water for irrigation.
Graywater Irrigation FAQs
Can I retrofit my home for graywater irrigation?
Probably not, for the following reasons -
1) If your home sits on a slab, it's not cost effective to cut into the slab to capture greywater.
2) If you have a raised foundation, but the master shower is on the top floor, that water is already plumbed into a sewer pipe going down a wall and it's not cost effective to tear out walls just to reuse greywater.
3) Because a complete greywater system has both a filter unit and underground irrigation, you will have to tear up existing landscape to install the underground irrigation, and that’s not cost effective if your irrigation system was already working.
However, some unique situations mitigate those factors, such as -
1) You were already going to cut into your slab as part of a major remodel.
2) You were already going to tear into those exact walls and plumbing as part of a major remodel.
3) You were already going to do either #1 or #2 and extensively remodel your landscape and you need a new irrigation system anyway.
We’ve been designing, installing, and/or supervising the installation of legal greywater irrigation systems for over two decades and have repeatedly seen what real obstacles you’ll be facing to legally retrofit a system. We hope this helps.
Isn't greywater too salty for plants?
No. Greywater isn't too salty for the vast majority of plants if you switch from powdered laundry products to liquids. Powdered laundry products are full of salts; they rely on salt's negative ions to loosen debris from fabrics, whereas liquids rely on enzymes to loosen debris. It doesn't really matter which liquid you switch to, as any are better than every powder. For acid-loving plants (that probably should be grown in the tropics and not the arid West), you will either need to add gypsum to the soil or "liquid gypsum" to the greywater itself.
Will graywater drown my drought-proof species?
No. Just like with potable water, your drought-proof species won't drown unless you over-irrigate them. Such vegetation is genetically accustomed to receiving lots of water only in the winter, but all plant life needs some water throughout the year. Try running your greywater valves once a week for drought-proof varieties instead of more often, as you would for other types of vegetation.
Is greywater irrigation legal?
Yes. Nowadays, most jurisdictions don't even require permits for clothes washer-only systems, and some jurisdictions don't require permits for systems that don't exceed a certain daily volume of greywater (usually about 250 gallons per day). Permits for other systems are obtainable in every jurisdiction in California, and in most Western states. Various local permit jurisdictions have various permit processes, but with a ReWater system, and a legal site, you can almost certainly obtain a permit. (A "legal site" usually means there is sufficient landscape to irrigate.) We offer a code compliance form with each system to expedite the permit process..