A non-partisan, neutral perspective supporting diversity in the color of water

Thursday, March 10, 2011

OK Okays Greywater & New Color of Water?

Another state joins the ranks of greywater friendly states in the US. According to this article in the Oklahoma newspaper Bixby Bulletin:

House Bill 1575, by state Rep. Scott Martin, defines gray water as untreated household wastewater that has not come in contact with toilet waste or water from a kitchen sink. The legislation directs the Department of Environmental Quality to exempt private residential gray water reuse systems that meet a series of rules including that they make use of less than 250 gallons of gray water per day. A gray water system would be used for gardening, composting or landscape irrigation.
Gray water systems that would be exempt would have to:
  • provide for overflow into the sewer or on-site wastewater treatment and disposal system;
  • include cover for any gray water storage tank to avoid the creation of a habitat for mosquitoes and other insects;
  • be located outside of a floodway and five feet above the groundwater table;
  • clearly identify gray water pressure piping as a non-potable water conduit;
  • be used on site and not run off the property;
  • minimize the potential for contact with people or domestic pets;
  • minimize standing water and ensure the hydraulic capacity of the soil is not exceeded;
  • avoid spraying or discharge into a waterway; and
  • be in compliance with municipal or county ordinances.
Martin noted that gray water systems could incorporate the use of rain water. That is big news as some states, like nearby Colorado, are very restrictive on rainwater harvesting. Mixing of greywater with greenwater? Been there before when the Italians had gallons of green paint and grey paint left over from WWII. The result? Vespawater!

Water is quickly becoming the new oil,” Scott Martin, R-Norman. That is saying alot because Oklahoma is one of the US states that is addicted to oil for state revenues. Is Rep. Martin implying that water is important to Oklahoma's economy?

WaterWired looked at how Oklahoma is doing their water planning, and the answer is YES. And they recently opened the Oklahoma Water Survey - which the Rainbow Water Coalition thinks is a first in the US. 

With all colors of water, it appears the Sooner way is the better way.


  1. Hi Todd,

    thanks for keeping up to date with all of this. It's getting harder to keep up with all the changes.

    A nice code, very simple. I note it doesn't restrict graywater use with edible crops.

    Re rainwater harvesting - This already reasonably common in Australia; connecting a limited diverter from downspouts into a greywater pumping system - it helps build up soil moisute during spring months before a hot summer, and also helps to flush the soil. Diverter must be limited (or equipped with an automatic shutoff valve) to avoid stormwater overflowing to septic / sewer in times of heavy rain.

    I would say Oklahoma and Wyoming now lead the way in the USA. Congratulations to those involved.

  2. Thanks for the clarification, Paul. Both states also have connections with *cowboys* who know the value of hard work and equal rights when it comes to water. Talk about your cowboy, go pokes!

  3. First rated blog! It is my understanding that greywater is perfectly acceptable for use with edibles as long as it is a subsurface system and utilized on fruit-bearing plants where the root and leaf structure is not directly eaten. thanks all!~ Monica L.