Critical review: regulatory incentives and impediments for onsite graywater reuse in the United States

Water Environ Res. 2013 Jul;85(7):650-62. doi: 10.2175/106143013x13698672321580.


Graywater is a potential water source for reducing water demand. Accordingly, a review was undertaken of graywater reuse regulations and guidelines within the 50 United States. Major issues considered included acceptability for graywater segregation as a separate wastewater stream, allowable graywater storage, onsite treatment requirements, and permitted graywater use applications. Existing regulations and plumbing codes in the different states suggest that there are impediments to overcome but also potential incentives for graywater reuse. It is encouraging that regulations in 29 states promote safe graywater reuse, but there are also inconsistencies between plumbing codes and other regulations within and among the 50 states. Impediments to graywater reuse include disallowances of graywater segregation or collection, and restriction of graywater reuse to mostly subsurface irrigation with limited indoor use permission. Ease on restrictions and guidelines to promote development of low-cost and proven treatment technologies are needed to promote graywater reuse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Conservation of Natural Resources / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • United States
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Water Purification / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Water Supply*