Gray water (or “grey” water) is wastewater discharged from domestic activities and appliances, including but not limited to washing machines, sinks, showers, bath tubs, dishwashers, or other sources but not toilets, urinals or any drains equipped with garbage grinders. A gray water system recycles this water for other uses, such as irrigation or toilet flushing.
Using gray water instead of treated, potable water reduces demand from water utilities and thus reduces water bills. Gray water systems ease strain on the public water supply, lower the use and increase the life of sewers and/or treatment systems, and save energy use from pumping and treating water.
- Read more about the benefits of gray water systems.
Challenge Participants Currently Adopting This Practice
- CB Richard Ellis, 1 Beacon (link to Project Story)
- BioMed Realty Trust
- Boston Properties, Inc.
- Community Servings
- KC Real Estate Management
- Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
- Save that Stuff
Financing Options, Incentives, And Rebates
Examples of Gray Water and Rainwater Reuse in the Boston Area:
- MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences Complex
- Cape Cod Community College Lyndon P. Lorusso Applied Technology Center
What you should know about Gray Water Systems in Boston and Massachusetts
- The Massachusetts Plumbing Code requires a special State-issued permit for gray water systems
- All permits are issues by the Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gasfitters via the “Special Permission Plumbing Request Application Form“
- The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) regulates gray water systems under state regulations 314 CMR 20.00
- Regulatory Provisions: Composting Toilets and Greywater Systems
A Small Sample of Gray Water Equipment Providers in the Boston Area
In The News
- “Grey Water Recycling in Boston Can Save Money” Boston Standard, March 2011
- “Grey Water Debate in Sacramento Steams Up” The LA Times March 2009
- “New Watering Source is Surfacing” The San Diego Union-Tribune March 2009
- “Seeing the Potential in ‘Greywater'” The Lexington Minuteman, April 2009
- “The Dirty Water Underground” The New York Times May 2007