California Greywater Corps



The average Los Angeles household consumes up to 250 gallons of water per day. ”Water is scarce, and becoming more so. Climate change, population growth, changing dietary habits and economic development all exacerbate local water scarcities.” Yet many residents are unaware that a method known as “greywater system” can reuse up to 80% of this water for irrigation, saving 73,000 gallons of water each year. And what is “greywater?” Greywater is wastewater from residential sinks, showers, bathtubs and laundry.

However, it is distinct from toilet and kitchen sink wastewater, known as blackwater. In America, greywater is typically considered waste and routed to sewer systems and septic tanks along with blackwater. Many are unaware that greywater can be reclaimed for a second use, usually landscape irrigation. The benefits of this are many: reduced consumption of water, reduced load on municipal sewer systems and treatment plants, recharging your local water-table, and lowering overall civic energy usage. Irrigating with greywater will lower your water bill; most installations pay for themselves within a few years.

California Greywater Corps was formed in 2009 by Leigh Jerrard, a leed-accredited architect and ecologist, in response to the growing concern over misuse of California’s limited water resources. Based in Los Angeles, the company specializes in residential greywater conversions. His team is composed of specialists in the fields of environmentalism, landscape design, and plumbing who install greywater irrigation systems that are custom designed for each house, taking into account the owner’s water use, irrigation needs, the topography of the site, soil conditions, and future maintenance concerns.  The systems are generally simple and low-maintenance, relying on gravity and nature to save water and turn the home into an essential part of a healthy ecosystem. 

Unlike a lot of ecological stopgap measures, greywater reuse is a part of the fundamental solution to many ecological problems and will probably remain essentially unchanged in the distant future.

The benefits of greywater recycling include:

  • - Lower fresh water use
  • - Less strain on failing septic tank or treatment plant
  • - Better treatment (topsoil is many times more effective than subsoil or treatment plant)
  • - Less energy and chemical use
  • - Groundwater recharge
  • - Plant growth
  • - Reclamation of otherwise wasted nutrients
  • - Increased awareness of and sensitivity to natural cycles

Water is the driving force of all nature. It is essential for the workings of our ecological systems. It is essential for our health and the health of our communities. It features prominently in our spiritual life. It binds us together through shared waterways and shared water sources. It shapes our relationship with nature, politics and economies-David Zetland.


via EM Staff, 8 January 2010 9:00am |