[Interested readers will want to revisit this post on greywater regulation and this one on health standards. Also get more information from the Greywater Alliance or Greywater Guerrillas.]
In this update (via DW), we get an idea of the silliness surrounding greywater regulations:
The vast majority of gray water systems in California don't have permits, making it difficult to quantify the phenomenon. State rules and local permitting requirements for using gray water are complicated and costly to follow, so most residents don't file the paperwork.Yeah -- let's go GET those renegades, those LAWBREAKERS who are trying to move water from inside their house to outside their house -- without a PERMIT!
“You would be hard-pressed to find a law that is as widely flaunted,” said Art Ludwig, an ecology consultant in Santa Barbara. His Web site, oasisdesign.net, offers gray water tips and project plans.
Ludwig estimates that California has 1.8 million gray water systems.
County officials said it's illegal to divert washing-machine effluent for landscape irrigation without obtaining a permit, which involves filing detailed documents, submitting soil percolation data and completing an inspection.
“Gray water is untreated wastewater that has the potential to contain high levels of bacteria,” said Tom Lambert at the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health, which regulates gray water in the region. “Our first and foremost objective is to see that it is used in a way that will not create any public health risks.”
His database shows 41 permitted gray water systems countywide, but he acknowledges that unpermitted ones are widespread. Lambert said county agents don't go looking for renegade users.
I wonder what's next, a law forbidding a couple from sharing the same fork while eating cake?
Here's a challenge that I suggested to the greywater folks at the PG&E thing: Give a bunch of people new, plastic water bottles and tell them to drink, refill and reuse the bottled for 10 days. Then measure the bacteria. Then compare the results to the health codes of allowable bacteria, etc. in drinking water systems.
I am guessing that there will be PLENTY of nasty stuff growing on those bottles but -- you know what -- NOBODY CARES because those germs are THEIR germs. It's the same thing with greywater: If I want to pee in my garden or dump MY shower water on MY plants, well then let me. I am just spreading my germs all over MY PROPERTY.
So, if someone does that study, please send the results to me AND to those health fascists who are regulating the wrong things...
Bottom Line: Health officials, regulators and politicians should let us take care of the germs we knowingly inflict on ourselves and spend their energy protecting us from the things we cannot see, detect or avoid -- like pollution of groundwater, air, food, etc.