Everyone is required to stay home, except for essential needs. When out, protect yourself and those around you by wearing a face covering, staying 6 feet away from others, and washing your hands often. Learn more at cityofberkeley.info/covid19. City offices are closed to the public. Some services are available remotely.

The City of Berkeley Health Officer has ordered all residents to shelter at home, leaving only to receive or provide essential services, starting 12:01 am on Tuesday, March 17. See details of the Order, frequently asked questions, and recommendations from Berkeley Public Health at https://www.cityofberkeley.info/coronavirus.

City Council Live Stream: Please visit https://www.cityofberkeley.info/CalendarEventWebcastMain.aspx

ZAB Live Stream: Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx.

The City of Berkeley web site is undergoing scheduled maintenance starting on Friday night, September 13 and ending on Saturday afternoon, September 14. During this time, most web pages should be available, but some resources may become unavailable for short periods of time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 5/9/19, at 7:00pm? Please visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1UAnZ8kU8EWllREyOY7rwQ/. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 2/28/19, from 6:00 to 11:00 PM? Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same date and time.

PG&E is reporting a widespread outage affecting thousands of customers in Berkeley and many City buildings, including the Finance Customer Service Center and the Permit Service Center. Call respective City services for further details, or check the PG&E outage page. Power is expected to return by 12:45pm. Traffic lights that are not working should be treated as a four-way stop sign.

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Office of Energy & Sustainable Development (OESD)
Office of Energy & Sustainable Development (OESD)

Home Graywater Collection Systems

What is graywater?
 is untreated household wastewater generated from hand washing, laundry and bathing. This wastewater can be diverted from the sewer to irrigate outdoor plants and landscape.  Graywater cannot include any wastewater from toilets, kitchen sinks, dishwashers or washing machines laundering soiled diapers or other sources of contamination such as darkrooms.  Graywater cannot be stored for more than 24 hours. Graywater is different than potable tap water and requires specific measures for its safe reuse in your garden. 

Why is graywater beneficial?
Using graywater reduces your reliance on potable water for outdoor irrigation throughout the year.

How graywater systems work:
Graywater systems directly reuse “wastewater” to irrigate your plants.  Do not  use any detergents or bleaches in your sink, bath and laundry that may ultimately be harmful to your plants.  To further ensure safety, graywater cannot be used on the edible portions of vegetables and must be used for sub-surface irrigation in order to reduce human contact or ponding.  You cannot store graywater, only divert the amount needed to water your garden. All systems must be installed and maintained according to the California Plumbing Code.

Types of Graywater Systems:
There are three types of graywater systems that vary in complexity, volume of water produced and permitting requirements. In order to determine which system is right for you, you need to know your irrigation needs, including yard size, soil type, groundwater level and budget. The easiest, most low-tech system uses a washing machine and gravity to move laundry water directly out to the garden. 

Clothes Washer System (no permit required)   Laundry-to-landscape systems divert graywater from the washing machine to your garden without cutting into existing plumbing.  Washing machines have internal pumps which can be used to pump water directly out to the garden.  No permit is required as long as no pump (other than the washing machine itself) or surge tank is used and as long as all code requirements are met.

Simple System (Less than 250 gallons a day) These systems include reusing water from a bathroom sink or shower. Simple systems require permits and involve altering plumbing and can include surge tanks and pumps.

Complex System (Greater than 250 gallons a day) These systems supply a large volume of water. Complex systems rely on pumps, surge tanks, filtration systems and are expensive to install and require ongoing maintenance. Complex systems must be designed by a qualified professional.

  Permitting Requirements:

System Type

Plumbing Permit

Electrical Permit

Building Permit


Health Review

Clothes Washer System No* No No No No
Simple (<250 gallons) Yes Yes, if pump No** No No
Complex (>250 gallons) Yes Yes, if pump No** No Yes

*A permit shall not be required for a clothes washer system that does not cut or alter the existing plumbing piping as long as it is in compliance with the Graywater System Requirements (2013 California Plumbing Code Section 16).  Clothes washer systems with a tank and/or pump will require a permit.
** If the tank height is greater than twice the width of the base and over 5000 gallons, a building permit, plans and calculations for foundation and anchoring of tank are required.

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