Water Water
Greywater (also known as graywater) is wastewater originating from bathroom sinks, showers, bathtubs or laundry.  A greywater system collects this water to be used to water plants through drip irrigation.

New Greywater Standards

As of January 1, 2014, there are new standards regulating greywater systems in the State of California. These codes are found in the 2013 California Plumbing Code, Title 24, Part 5, Chapter 16.


No permits are required for clothes washer greywater systems as long as the 12 state requirements are met. (See page 3 - State Greywater Standards pdf)

Permits are required for multi-family and commercial property greywater systems and single-family greywater systems that include wastewater from more than one plumbing fixture (such as clothes washer plus bathtub).


A few rules of thumb:

  • For minimum hassle, the things you want to water should be downhill from the lowest point in your greywater system. Simple systems cost less and will be cost‑effective in a shorter period of time.
  • No matter how much greywater you produce, you will probably still need a conventional irrigation system on at least part of your property.
  • Putting in a greywater system is not something that is going to save you a lot of money. But it is one of the most effective things you can do to cut your exterior water use and reduce the waste stream from your home.
Questions?  Call city’s Watershed Management Section at 310.458.8459


Last updated: Monday, 10/17/2016


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Santa Monica Office of Sustainability and the Environment
1685 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90401 · (310) 458-2213 · TTY (310) 917-6626