Updated: Dec 1, 2021
Diminishing water supplies is a world-wide problem. In the United States, with population increase and an increasing decline in water supply, the best current solution is a reduction in water use. To address this problem, many states and communities are imposing water use restrictions. Restrictions to landscape watering is the most common. A great solution to reducing water use in landscaping is greywater irrigation! Using water twice makes sense!
WHAT IS GREYWATER?
Greywater is all wash-water waste generated by a home or business. This is water from the washing machine, the sinks, bathtubs and showers and can be reused! Blackwater, on the other hand, is toilet waste and waste from garbage disposals and dishwashers and contains high levels of nitrogen and pathogens and cannot be used in irrigation.
GREYWATER CAN BE USED FOR IRRIGATION:
Yes, greywater can be used for irrigation; but the codes and regulations on this process varies from state to state. Californians, for instance, have used greywater irrigation systems illegally for many years. Due to these practices, the California Greywater Code was re-written with significant changes. This code designates three types of greywater systems:
Clothes Washer System: This is probably the most commonly used as it is the easiest to implement, but there are restrictions on its use. It can use only a single washing machine in a family dwelling, and must be a domestic, not a commercial machine. This system may only use gravity or the pump from the washing machine itself to irrigate the desired areas in the yard or garden. The washing machine system may use up to 15 gallons per day per person in the household. It does not require a construction permit as long as it does not require cutting of the pipes that exist.
Simple System: This system also serves a one or two family residence. The discharge of greywater is greater than the clothes washer system, and discharges up to 250 gallons per day. A construction permit is needed for a simple system.
Complex System: This is a greywater system that uses over 250 gallons per day, and also requires a construction permit. The simple and complex systems are subject to inspection and possible percolation tests until they are approved.To install a whole-house system is a fairly simple matter in new construction, but is difficult in existing buildings.
BASIC REQUIREMENTS FOR USING GREYWATER:
Two inch covering regulation: The irrigation system using greywater must be covered by 2” of material to avoid contact with the greywater.
Drip system of greywater irrigation: The drip system works the best with greywater irrigation. Spray irrigation is not to be used with greywater. Also, greywater is not to have run-off or ponding, and cannot reach any body of water or storm drain.
No irrigation of crops intended for human consumption: Greywater may not be used for this; and, in addition, human contact with the system should be minimized.
GREYWATER IN THE GARDEN:
Plants can respond better to greywater and the nutrients within than potable water
Don't store greywater for more than 24 hours
Distribute graywater evenly across the garden, don't over water any one area, drip systems are perfect for greywater
Avoid any cleaners containing Boron or high levels of salt, this is toxic for plants.
If using a water softening system, opt for adding potassium instead of salt.
CALIFORNIA'S GREYWATER CODE:
California’s greywater code is found in Chapter 15 of the California Plumbing Code (CPC). (You can download it here: https://greywateraction.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Chapter-15-CA-Plumbing-Code-2016.pdf)
It includes regulations for both “HCD” – the residential code, and “BSC”- the commercial code.
Pacific Vista Landscape Services is focused on water conservation. Re-using your greywater to irrigate your landscape can not only result in water reduction, but is a great way to keep a beautiful garden during drought conditions. Our professional team are experts with the latest irrigation technology and can implement a greywater system for your property. We will even evaluate your current system for free! Contact us and see how we can save you water AND money now AND in the years to come!
Is your landscape smart? It can be. Technology originally developed for golf courses and park departments, smart irrigation controllers and rotating sprinklers, are available for all types landscaping from commercial to residential. They do a great job keeping your landscaping healthy, and they also save money!
Smart Irrigation Controller
A smart irrigation controller automatically adjusts watering schedules in response to changing soil and weather conditions. It gathers information about temperature, rain, wind, humidity, soil moisture, and figures the right amount of water to keep your plants and landscape looking healthy.
They work a variety of ways. Some controllers are connected to sensors and measure solar radiation, temperature, humidity, rainfall or soil moisture. Some use historical weather data for your area to project the amount of water needed. Other controllers receive data by satellite or the internet from a network of weather stations.
Rotating Sprinkler Nozzles
Sprinkler technology has evolved too. The latest nozzles rotate, have greater coverage, and are more uniformed in their spray. Their spray is less likely to evaporate in the air from wind, reducing water run-off. In many cases, you can update your existing sprinkler heads with rotary nozzles without having to replace the entire sprinkler body.
New Irrigation Design and Build / Irrigation Retrofit
Pacific Vista Landscape Services can design and build and irrigation system for your commercial or residential project. We establish baseline data based on a digital base plan of existing/original irrigation and landscape in support of the planning process and ROI measurements. This provides an accurate digital record of the location of the existing irrigation equipment [valves, lines and heads] to allow the designer to accurately depict the configuration of the new more efficient system.
We then have an accurate digital record of the location of the existing plants, which allows our irrigation and landscape designers to accurately depict which plants will be retained or replaced. As cost reduction strategy, irrigation designs may include use of existing infrastructure when possible.
Contact Pacific Vista Landscape Services today for smart irrigation installation or retrofit!
Updated: Oct 5, 2021
When backflow protection is necessary, customers are required by their local water company, for instance LADWP, to have an approved backflow prevention assembly installed and tested annually by a certified company. Pacific Vista Landscape Services is proud to be certified in installation, repair, and testing of all approved backflow prevention assemblies in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Protecting the public water system from contamination is essential for the safety of our water supply. Cross-connections of pipes between the public water system and private water systems can lead to backflow issues in which untested and possibly unsafe water goes the wrong direction due to backpressure, and can contaminate the public water supply system.
To protect against this, there are Backflow Prevention Programs like LADWP's Backflow Protection Program by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the County of Ventura's Resource Management Agency's Backflow Prevention Program.
As explained by the Los Angeles County Waterworks District, "A cross-connection is any connection between a safe drinking water system and any other untested water source, system, or equipment that may contain unsafe substance. LACWD’s public water systems are designed to keep water flowing in one direction—from LACWD’s water main to the customers’ connections. When an undesirable condition known as backflow occurs, water is allowed to flow in the opposite direction and may bring contaminants or pollutant into the public drinking water supply through a cross-connection.
Backflow is caused by a back siphonage or a back pressure condition in the public water system. Back siphonage may occur when the pressure in the public water system drops below atmospheric pressure and creates a vacuum that may pull unsafe substance into the public water supply. Back pressure may occur when the pressure from a private water system becomes greater than the pressure in the public water system. This difference in pressure may allow unsafe substance from the private water system to enter the public water system. Approved backflow prevention assemblies are designed to prevent backflow of contaminants or pollutants from entering the public water systems."
AT Pacific Vista Landscape Services, we offer low rates to our clients with backflow requirements and also specialize in custom protective cages for the backflow assembly, repairs to existing devices, and offer a free annual reminder for testing and certification. Emergency and after hour service is also available. Contact us today for installation, repairs, and testing by our professional, certified backflow prevention service team and let us ensure your property is in compliance!