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

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Oregon Graywater Recommendations Hit the Streets

Against all odds, the Graywater Advisory Committee finalized their recommendations to the Oregon Environmental Quality Council. Here are all 26 pages of recommendations. A far cry from Wyoming's one page of standards. Moral hazardprotecting the public, or Wisconsin rewrite? Only time will tell.

I am glad I won't be a closet Hughie user any longer. And the Moon brothers can finally finish their "living building", too. Perhaps the Oregon Sustainability Center design will move forward once again.

Thanks for your hard work, folks. Buy a Hughie and save a salmon.


  1. Todd,

    I agree it is a little long, although there is much repeated information. The recommendations are sensible, balancing need for simple registration for single family households, through to site review / permitting for multi family and commercial.It certainly beats the current proposal for Washington State.

    The million dollar question is whether the DEQ will create rules in line with the recommendations. After all it is an advisory committee, and the DEQ can ignore if they see fit.

    Overall the committee should be congratulated, their recomendations are practical and will result in a significant shift towards water saving if adopted by the DEQ.

  2. Paul,

    Here is different interpretation on the recommendations from someone living in Arizona:


  3. Sadly jurisdictions seemingly are leaving it to the vendors to create public interest, and this is in all states that I have visited. "Build it and they will come" sure doesnt apply with graywater.

    But at least the Oregon proposals allow sensible outcomes, so promoters can design education campaigns without too much risk.

    Washington, on the other hand, requires irrigation in accordance with ET, a good thing, but is practically impossible for branched drain / laundry to landscape - even though they mention these methods in the code, and they have made subsurface dripperline much more difficult and expensive by requiring it to be 2 inches below soil surface.

    It simply doesnt make sense that mulch basins need to be 250 square feet (on average - 8 basins are the practical maximum), fed by a single pipe / emitter hole, covered by 4" mulch - no soil (and therefore effectively flood irrigation), while dripperlines with 300+ emitters must be covered by soil.

    One wonders where logic fits in some code development.

  4. Holy coliform, Batman! Their disinfection requirements are more stringent than those for sewage! And this is for drip or subsurface distribution, not surface (spray)?!?!

  5. OK - so I read the disinfection requirement too quickly... but there does seem to be a lot of work involved in the pretreatment, particularly because there is nothing required for flushing toilets and urinals and there is documentation of aerosols being generated by toilet flushing, especially with flushometer types.

  6. OWT:

    I agree with you. And that was the focus of my posting on *The Testing Trap*. Lots of numbers. Who measures and keeps track? Will there be greywater testing kits someday soon? Who will enforce?