Graywater is a part of the water used in a residential, commercial, or industrial building that may be collected after the first use and put to a second beneficial use. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Water Quality Control Division (WQCD) is working with stakeholders to develop a regulation change proposal for the Water Quality Control Commission, expected to be completed by August 2023. For current information, please visit the CDPHE graywater web page.
The Environmental Health staff for Delta County are participating in the stakeholder engagement process with CDPHE in a way that make graywater implementation in Delta County cost effective and water efficient. Staff are also participating in the “Laundry-to-Landscape (L2L) subgroup” to write specific language into the regulations that make simple, low-cost systems possible. Current state regulations, as written, result in a rate-of-return of more than 30 years. It is hoped that the efforts of our staff and other stakeholders will reduce the cost while keeping efficiency in the design.
Voluntary Local Graywater Control Programs
Each local city, city and county, or county has the discretion to decide whether to adopt any of the graywater uses along with the associated minimum design criteria and control measures set forth in this regulation.
Delta County doesn’t have a graywater ordinance at this time, but Delta County Environmental Health is looking at the feasibility of this type of program, its costs, and the appropriate mechanisms for implementation. Municipalities currently have the ability to draft their own regulations, and the Health Department would support that effort.
Is graywater capture and use allowed in unincorporated Delta County?
In short, no. Regulation 86 provides for an "opt-in" program for local jurisdictions and not a statewide program. Adopting a county ordinance now would not take advantage of planned changes in the State regulations, and would require re-adoption again after new changes took effect at the state level.
What are appropriate sources of graywater?
Graywater sources may include water discharged from:
- Bathroom and laundry-room sinks
- Laundry machines
Graywater may not include water discharged from:
- Kitchen sinks
- Non-laundry utility sinks
I have a composting toilet; can all my other water go to plants and landscaping?
The short answer is no. Current Onsite-Wastewater Regulations state that “...an incinerating or composting toilet may be used for toilet waste where an onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS) is installed for treating wastewater remaining after removal of toilet waste.” All other appliances that produce wastewater will be connected to the septic system unless sewer is available.
If I can’t use graywater, can I capture rainwater?
- Most homeowners in Colorado are now allowed to use rain barrels to collect rainwater.
- A maximum of two rain barrels with a combined storage of 110 gallons or less are allowed at each household.
- Collected rainwater may be used to irrigate outdoor lawns, plants or gardens.
- Untreated rainwater collected from roofs is not safe to drink.