Will Plans to Ease Recycling of Household Water in S.F. Go Down the Drain?

San Francisco may be getting greener with the city's new mandatory composting rules, but that doesn't mean it's getting any “bluer.” While the state is doing everything it can to make water recycling easier for homeowners by dumping restrictions, San Francisco appears to be doing just the opposite. Water conservationists flooded City Hall today for the Building Inspection Commission meeting to voice their opposition to code changes that would require anyone seeking to install a basic (single source) “greywater” plumbing system — which recycles run-off from water-using appliances, like washing machines, to use in the garden or elsewhere — to obtain a $160 permit first.

San Franciscans hoping to install such a system don't have to pay any state or city permitting fees — for now. In August, the state loosened their regulations to facilitate greywater use by allowing the systems without permitting. The state ruling specified that local agencies may pass tighter constraints on greywater rules if they so choose. Looks like San Francisco might so choose.

San Francisco Plumbing Inspector Steven Panelli proposed that greywater systems should be inspected by city employees — and called for the aforementioned permitting fees. The Building Inspection Commission punted on the matter today, leaving the door open for such fees to be implemented in the future.

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