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Do I need a Permit?

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The simple gravity systems and laundry to lawn systems do not require a building Permit. This is because the gravity flow system does not require electrical connections, pumps, and switches as long as the plumbing does not interfere with existing framing, electrical or mechanical systems.

Laundry to Landscape systems are the simplest and least expensive way to resume grey water directly to your garden.

A permit is not required under the following conditions: 

The system must contain:

  • Grey Water comes from the washing machine only

  • Grey water system does not alter the household plumbing ( you access grey water from the hose of the machine, not by cutting into the plumbing).

  • Grey water system is for a one/two unit residential building. You have an easy way to direct flow back to the sewer/septic (like a 3 way valve). The valve must be labeled.

  • Send the water to irrigate landscape plantings and keep the water on the same property it is produced and follow set-backs listed in the code and discharge greywater under a 2” cover of mulch , plastic-shield or stones.


The system must not contain:

  • Diaper water

  • Hazardous chemicals ( such as from a home photo lab)

  • Have pooled grey water or runoff

  • Make grey water accessible to people or pets( such as in an open tub)

  • Include a pump ( except for the washing machine’s internal pump)

  • Connect to the potable water supply

  • Affect other parts of the building such as the electrical or structural components


California’s grey water code is found in full in Chapter 15 of the California Plumbing Code (CPC). Under the current code, washing machine systems can be constructed without a permit or inspection in single family homes (1 or 2 units), so long as the guidelines are followed. Other types of systems require a permit in the state.

If you live in Texas or Arizona, no permit is required if the flow from your grey water system is less than 400 gallons per day. If you live in New Mexico, no permit is required if the flow is less than 250 gallons per day.  If you are outside the US, most European countries and Australia do not need a permit for a simple system as described here. 

A Permit Is Required Under the Following Conditions:

You need a permit for a grey water system that includes any of the following conditions in most countries including US, Canada, UK and Australia.

  • Grey water system collects water from showers, sinks or baths

  • Grey water system alters the plumbing ( you cut into the drainage plumbing to access the grey water)

  • Grey water system is installed in a building that is not one/two unit residential building

  • Grey water system includes a pump to pressurize the system that is not the laundry machine pump or another already existing pump

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