Water | Ecotrope

Graywater Recycling Not As Popular As Expected

Ecotrope | Aug. 22, 2012 12:30 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:30 p.m.

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A new state program that allows people to install graywater recycling systems in their homes has gotten only four applications since April.

A new state program that allows people to install graywater recycling systems in their homes has gotten only four applications since April.

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission is scheduled to get an update on the state’s new permits for graywater recycling systems at meeting tomorrow.

Graywater is reusable water that has already been used once in a bathtub, shower, sink or laundry. Under state rules approved last August, Oregonians can now get permits to install a graywater recycling systems. Recycling graywater conserves water resources by reducing demand for fresh water.

Oregon started accepting permit applications for graywater recycling systems in April. According to this staff report, though, there hasn’t been as much interest in the program as the state anticipated.

“Oregonians continue to express some interest in graywater use,” the report says. “DEQ has received calls from individuals interested in the graywater program, although interest is generally less than had been expected.”

So far, DEQ has received only four applications for graywater permits – one in Clackamas County, two in Jackson County and one in Polk County. 

According to this Q&A from DEQ, you don’t need a permit to reuse graywater if you’re just taking it from the bathtub in a bucket and pouring it on your garden or using it only to flush the toilet.

If you have a graywater system that uses the water in an irrigation system or treats used water so it can be reused for something other than just toilet-flushing, then you need a permit.

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