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What are the building code requirements for gray water reuse in Florida?
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Gray water systems are allowed only for flushing toilets and urinals, and setting up one is not a simple project. To start with, the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC) has specific limitations on what water can be reused:
Kitchen sink waste water is not on the list because of the high organic content from bits of food waste, which would increase bacterial activity in the water. Florida does allow clothes washer water to be recycled, although some other states do not. The likelihood of small amounts of fecal matter in underwear, and significantly more fecal residue in diapers, getting into the gray water is the problem that concerns the states that prohibit it.
Additional requirements of the code include:
- Gray water must be collected in an approved reservoir constructed of durable, non-absorbent, and corrosion-resistant material. The reservoir should be closed, with access openings for inspecting and cleaning the interior.
- The reservoir should be vented.
- Gray water has to first pass through an approved filter before entering the reservoir.
- A full-open valve needs to be installed downstream of the last plumbing fixture before the water enters the reservoir. A “full-open” valve is one that does not restrict the flow of water when open all the way.
- The reservoir must have an overflow pipe of the same diameter as the inflow pipe. The overflow must be trapped and indirectly connected to the home’s drainage system.
- A drain should be installed at the lowest point of the reservoir, of the same diameter as the outflow pipe, and indirectly connected to the home’s drainage system.
- The collection reservoir is required to have a capacity of at least twice the daily volume of water needed for flushing the fixtures, but a minimum of 50 gallons.
- The reservoir must be of a small enough size to limit the retention time of the gray water to 72 hours.
- The gray water needs to be disinfected by an approved method, such as chlorine bleach, and tinted blue or green with vegetable dye.
- Potable water must be supplied for makeup water as necessary, and the potable water connection will have a backflow prevention device.
- Both the reservoir and pipes shall be clearly marked as containing non-potable water.
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