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    “Greywater? Just do it!” Larry Korn

    Roman Law (Statute Law): Everything prohibited unless there is a law that allows it.

    “Anglo-Saxon” (Common Law): Everything allowed unless there is a law to prohibit it.

    For those who have not seen Michael Reynolds in Garbage Warrior, it is a salutary tale of how an eco-architect clashes with the laws of the land and corporate filibustering.



    In California, greywater is legal in some cases. your washing machine water can be sent straight to the garden without a building permit. The shower/tub and bathroom lavatory can be used for greywater with a building permit. Kitchen sinks are not allowed by code. Even with the rules as such the one tub/shower permit we got in the city of los angeles was not finaled by the inspector. so just do it with that said
    read the California code it has excellent design guidelines that will help with figuring out how to configure the drain area, here is the link

    good diggen

    P.S. grAywater is the spelling that the code uses.



    Video 061 leads here: (Somebody might also write a consumer critique comparing products out there with SmartWater in terms of technical information provided / value for money.)

    Art Ludvig

    Laundry to Landscape DVD only $19.95 Produced by Art Ludwig, published by Oasis Design, 2010. 90 minutes. Soy ink color printed in a recycled cardboard case. ISBN 0-9643433-8-X.
    New Greywater Book and Video Set: Create an Oasis, Builder’s Greywater Guide, Principles of Ecological Design, Laundry to Landscape instructional DVD $49.80 ($13 savings)

    Greywater Action (formerly Greywater Guerillas)



    DHARMAYALA – Building codes

    “The inclusion of naturalized and edible landscapes, grey water systems, composting toilets, renewable
    energy technologies, and rainwater catchment systems, are a few examples of sustainable practices that are as of yet either frowned upon or illegal in American urban centers. In Eugene, Oregon, Dharmalaya, a popular yoga studio turned eco-community center, has gotten into trouble for construction without a permit and violating land use codes:
    Because of the high level of use, which came to include overnight guests, Logan and Renee had
    built a bathhouse for Dharmalaya. The bathhouse includes three composting toilets and two
    showers with a graywater system. The system pumps used water from the showers through the
    root systems of marsh plants, where microbes purify the water. The water then drains into a
    backyard pond (Sylwester 1).
    Although the founders of the Dharmalaya house knew their bathhouse would be in violation of building
    codes, they decided to build it anyway. Why did they choose to ignore these legalities? According to one of the founders, Ron Logan, “The reason was not that we wanted to avoid building permit fees or to get away with building a structure that was not well designed. … The reason it happened was that we feel we are trying to design to a higher standard than is in the Oregon building code” (Sylwester 1). Logan has publicly criticized building codes for not taking into account pollutants and harsh chemicals in building materials, or how far the materials have to travel in order to be put to use. These are issues that permaculture practitioners, including ecovillage members, think about when making choices regarding which building materials, techniques, and plans to follow. Indeed, they are considerations that are included in LEED, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council, and ideally, such a rating system could be gradually integrated with mainstream building codes. The problem in the case of the Dharmalaya fiasco is that there was no
    communication between officials and the founders prior to construction. Despite the restrictions that current Oregon building codes represent, and the fact that they ignore many environmental and quality of life considerations that green builders and permaculturists take into account, an open dialogue and appeal to residents and politicians may have saved the founders some trouble in the long run.”



    Dharmalaya would never have been built had they engaged the city ahead of time in dialogue. :o)



    In our country (Puerto Rico) we have a saying;” It’s better to say your sorry than to ask for permission.”
    We need to push the rules in order to make change, specially if it means a better life for our children and grandchildren.



    Wow Adrian, thanks for the Garbage Warrior link, I hadn’t heard of Michael Reynolds before. What an amazing man.


    Big Ears

    Grey water recycling for toilets and garden has been mandatory for new housing for quite some time here in Australia. Just about to start using it on my old house. Our water bill is over $100 per month. So are my neighbours.



    I agree 110% with several things put forth above.
    First, that the current standard building codes are, for some of us, in moral and ethical violation to preserving the sanctity of the land and the conscious stewardship of such land so that it might still be viable for future generations. Everyone who has ever dealt with bureaucracy knows that it is at least decades behind the current research and opinion of those who are working every day to make things better for everyone. Why would one willingly submit to a backwards way and just hope for a change in legislation? Sometimes it is only by the inability of the established order to squash a social revolution that that revolution gains momentum and becomes the norm, forcing forward thinking prerogatives to be incorporated into standard civil “law”.
    This leads to my second agreement with the above, that Dharmalaya would never have been able to build their bathhouse had they informed or otherwise attempted to work with the city before or during construction.
    Thirdly, I wish to state that in order for such a social revolution to take place, individuals must take it upon themselves to do what they know and feel is the correct thing to do/way to go about things, even in the face of violations, fines, and potential jail time.
    Build your tiny houses on your property instead of on a trailer where they meet building codes, and get everyone you can together to do the same. Build your bathhouses and greywater and water catchment systems, your composting toilets and compost pits, and don’t be afraid that “the man” is going to come and fine you if and when they find out. Have yourself a detailed argument in place, as Dharmalaya, that states your reasons for conscientiously objecting to the established building codes and regulations and have your research handy that shows what benefits this system brings above and beyond what is currently acceptable by law. Build it right so that you can challenge them to test your system for the pathogens that they worry about, and ask that all of those who question your methods have their home systems tested as well– guaranteed that their runoff looks ten times worse at least! Also make sure that it is built to a higher standard, and compare the maintenance and repair costs of both systems over the long term, both in terms of finances and consumption of materials.
    Do what you know is the right thing to do, and do your research so you know how to build it sustainably. Sometimes you have to consistently break the law in order to change the law, and there is nothing wrong with that when the purpose of such defiance is the betterment of all living organisms and systems.

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