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

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The End of the Oregon Graywater Trail?

The Graywater Advisory Committee is meeting September 9 in Portland.  On the basis of the agenda, this might be the last meeting for the group. On the basis of the topics, it appears that graywater reuse in Oregon is going to be a little more complicated than in Wyoming. Kudos to the group for sticking it out even though it was fairly clear to me that the trail had already been blazed by DEQ with few options for taking exploratory routes off the beaten path. On the basis of the DEQ workplan, at least a year will be required to share with the Environmental Quality Commission, then write the rules, then go through public comment period.

Now the public will be protected from this dangerous product we manufacture ourselves on a daily basis.


  1. Todd, here's hoping it will be less complicated than the direction Washington is headed!

    I think the challenge for the DEQ in Oregon, as in quite a few other states will be how to control products that are sold as rainwater harvesting systems, but which are greywater capable, and can easily be self installed, at mass market level.

    The same thing happened in Australia (although it didnt take as long - the regulation forming process is much quicker - and not governed by the need for permit revenue).

    At the same time, DEQ's are being challenged as to why less efficient re-use systems (with higher risk) are being allowed without permits or site tests, while higher efficiency systems (less likely to pollute) need permits and expensive site testing.

    When the regulations become too illogical, Joe Public just does his own thing.

    Interesting times ahead!

  2. Haven't enough states and countries across the world definitively concluded that both rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling are essential in avoiding world wide water scarcity?

  3. I agree! From my perspective, there is a fundamental lack of communication between the states and the national bodies (IAPMO / ICC). For example NSF350 (related to treatment systems, which we dont manufacture) is curently being worked on at a national level, yet individual states are developing their own different requirements.

  4. Alje and Paul:

    The list of places encouraging greywater reuse are certainly growing, but there still is much in the way of misinformation about the safety of greywater. It appears driven more by politics than science. Paul is correct regarding the lack of communication, but countries like Australia, Canada, and Israel and the US state of Wyoming appear to be overcoming this challenge. Thanks for your comments and continued reading.