There was an article in today’s New York Times about people who illegally re-pipe their houses to take advantage of graywater (any water that goes down the drain besides the toilet). Here is a link to the article and some excerpts:
The Dirty Water Underground
By GREGORY DICUM
Greywater Guerrillas, a team focused on promoting and installing clandestine plumbing systems that recycle gray water — the effluent of sinks, showers and washing machines — to flush toilets or irrigate gardens.
To her, this house is as much an emblem of her belief system as a home. Although gray water use is legal in California, systems that conform to the state’s complicated code tend to be very expensive, and Ms. Allen and her fellow guerrilla, Cleo Woelfle-Erskine, are out to persuade the world that water recycling can be a simple and affordable option, as well as being a morally essential one.
They are part of a larger movement centered in the West — especially in arid regions like Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California — that includes both groups that operate within the law and ones that skirt it. The goal is the reuse of home gray water as a way to live within the region’s ecological means. Using their own experience and contributions from others, they have just published a do-it-yourself guide to gray water systems that is also a manifesto for the movement, “Dam Nation: Dispatches From the Water Underground.”
Obviously, the point of plumbing codes is for public health reasons – you wouldn’t want gray or black water getting mixed in with drinking water or even with bathing water. I’m not sure I’d be willing to fiddle with my plumbing any further than running a pipe directly from my kitchen sink into the garden. But even that would be an act of “guerrilla” conservation.
How far would you be willing to go to live by your principles? Would you break the law?