Just what is gray water?

So-called "gray water" is wastewater produced from baths, washers and bathroom sinks. Water from toilets, kitchen sinks and dishwashers is called "black water" and isn't allowed for irrigation purposes.

Under relatively new environmental quality regulations, residents can now recapture gray water without a permit.

Here are the rules:

Gray water must be used directly on your own landscape for household gardening, composting or irrigation. Irrigation must be flood or drip, not sprayed.

Your family can't generate more than 400 gallons of gray water per day. Tip: 35 gallons per day times the number of your family members equals how much you'll produce.

No pooling is allowed, and if it is stored in a tank, it must be covered to avoid mosquitoes.

Kitchen sinks are not allowed to be hooked up to the system. Washing machines should not be hooked up if they wash soiled clothing such as diapers, unless that water is first disinfected.

Learn more from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality at 1-800-234-5677.

Learn more

Lancaster is self-publishing "Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands." The book, which relies on 17 basic principles, is expected out in the fall, with a $20 pre-publication price. Sign up for a book at www.harvestingrainwater.com online.

° Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield Bloom at 807-8031 or rhondab@azstarnet.com.