Marin County Seeks Ways to Make Use of Graywater

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In the face of worsening drought conditions, the Marin County Board of Supervisors this week has decided to authorize participation in the Mill Valley/Marin County Sustainable Water Pilot Project in conjunction with WaterNow, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting sustaining water technology.

The program’s goal is to demonstrate the potential to save water by making us of graywater, conserve energy, lower water bills, enhance economic development and increase water supply security.

< p>Graywater is often defined as household wastewater that does not contain serious contaminants. Most of it is generated by baths, showers and clothes washers. Wastewater generated by toilets, kitchen sinks and dishwashers is called blackwater.

“Given our current drought conditions, this collaboration could not be more timely,” said Marin County Board of Supervisors President Kate Sears. “Graywater and water capture systems allow us to use water more efficiently and be better stewards of our water and energy resources. I’m excited about the launch of this pilot project.”

Other participants are the Marin Municipal Water District, the City of Mill Valley, the Tamalpais Community Services District and the Marin Builders Association.

The Board of Supervisors has been encouraging water conservation since 2011, adopting local regulations that allow residential property owners to obtain County approval for graywater systems without the time and expense of a conventional permit review process.

More recently, the County Community Development Agency has ramped up efforts to actively promote the benefits of graywater and the relative ease in which consumers may install and use simple graywater systems for outdoor irrigation.

The Sustainable Water Supply Project would be led by WaterNow, and the County’s role would focus on helping identify priorities and needs, providing data, securing resources, identifying new partners and promoting the effort.

Rebecca Ng, Marin County Deputy Director of Environmental Health Services at the county, presented the pilot program to the Board of Supervisors.

“We are not sure how things are going to be next year, so we’re trying to just encourage people to conserve and safely reuse water when they can,” she said.

To learn more about the project, contact WaterNow Executive Director Cynthia Koehler at [email protected] or (415) 515-0511.

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