Supe seeks to make it easier for residents to recycle water

A San Francisco supervisor is hoping to make it easier for The City’s residents to install simple recycled water systems for irrigation.

Supervisor Scott Wiener is introducing legislation at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting that will eliminate the need for residents to get a permit before they install systems that capture and reuse greywater, water that is recycled from sinks, showers and bathtubs.

State law currently requires a permit for the installation of residential greywater systems, but allows local agencies to make an exception for systems discharging 250 gallons a day or less. Marin County has already adopted a similar exemption and Santa Barbara County is considering it, Wiener said.

The City needs to empower residents and make it easier for them to recycle water, Wiener said in a statement.

“Frankly, we are so far behind on water recycling and it’s absurd that so much pristine Hetch Hetchy water is used for irrigation and flushing toilets,” Wiener said.

Wiener previously introduced legislation, adopted unanimously by the board in June, that requires new developments of 250,000 square feet or more to use water-recycling systems for non-potable uses such as flushing toilets and irrigation. All developments 40,000 square feet and above will need to go through a water reuse analysis.

The earlier legislation also requires city departments to switch to using only recycled water for irrigation and cleaning of public spaces within five years.

San Francisco residents are currently required to obtain a permit from the city’s Department of Building Inspection for all greywater systems except a “laundry-to-landscape” system, according to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

The SFPUC offers a rebate of up to $225 toward the cost of a permit for the installation of a residential greywater system.

 Board of SupervisorsgreywaterHetch HetchyPoliticsrecycled waterSupervisor Scott Wiener

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