Marin County, California mandates Graywater Systems

GRAYWATER REQUIREMENTS FOR MMWD WATER SERVICE (District Ordinance No. 429 effective February 1, 2016)

Your project (residential or commercial) may be subject to MMWD’s graywater ordinance if:  It is new construction and requires a new water service from MMWD, or  It is already connected to MMWD’s water system but requires an enlarged water service from MMWD (often due to additional water demands such as the installation of a fire sprinkler system). If your project meets these conditions, then you will be required to have your building plans reviewed for compliance with the new graywater ordinance. Not all projects needing a new water service or an enlarged water service meet the conditions to require graywater. Some of the graywater requirements include:

 Graywater systems must meet all site and waterway setback requirements.

 Soil conditions or slope of the site shall not create pooling or allow run-off of the site.

 The property needs to have the appropriate landscape plantings for graywater to be used.

 Irrigation areas must be within 50 feet and cannot be uphill from the graywater source.

MMWD is working directly with all planning and building agencies to receive project transmittals during the building application process. Upon receipt of a plan set, MMWD representatives will review the plans for graywater requirements and contact the applicant to discuss details of the project for clarity prior to issuing a “Graywater Sign-Off Form.”

MMWD requires that the applicant bring the Graywater Sign-Off Form to the Engineering Department when applying for a new water service or an application for an increase in the size of the existing water service. Graywater Sign-Off Forms that require the installation of graywater must be signed-off by the building inspector that compliance has been met. For more information on graywater systems, please visit:



This new requirement supports the district’s ongoing efforts to reduce water demand. For more information about the requirement, contact Engineering Services at 415-945-1530.

Water ReNu featured in Sweet Startups

Paul James , Co-Founder of WaterRenu, on Why Sustainable GrayWater Solutions Are The Future

 by Jan Hines

Link to Article on Sweet Startups

 March 25, 2016



3 minute read

In this interview, I had the opportunity to chat with Paul James, Co-Founder of WaterRenu. Check out our Q. and A. as he talks about the IrriGRAY system, and the future of water sustainability.

  1. Q: Please provide us with a brief background about yourself, and/or your company,

A: Co-Founder, Paul James, first became involved with graywater irrigation in 2000, designing a simple pumped laundry graywater system including a manually cleaned filter and graywater dripperlines. This technology evolved to suit the extreme Australian droughts.

In 2008, Paul began manufacturing US versions of his Australian products.

When Paul moved to the US in 2011 he realized a completely automated and smart alternative water irrigation system was needed in the US, at an affordable price. The system took 4 years to develop, and is now being installed in existing and new homes across the country.


  1. Q: What inspired the creation of such an innovative company?A: Significant technological advances in the last 5 years have made it possible to develop fully automated solutions for the typical home resident and multi-family / commercial clients. Previously solutions were expensive, adopted by the wealthy or passionately conservation focused clients. By developing a solution that us world leading, yet inexpensive (very short payback), Water ReNu can make a real impact in the world, helping the 95% of residents, rather than just the 5%.


  1. Q: For anyone who may not know, can you please explain what “grey water” is?A: Graywater is the water running down the drains from showers, tubs, laundry washing machine and hand basins. It does not include Toilet waste or Kitchen Waste. Other graywater sources include AC condensate (residential and commercial) and process waste water (commercial / manufacturing).


  1. Q: Who is the ideal client for WaterRenu, and exactly how does it work?A: IrriGRAY captures the graywater in a small pumping basin, pumping the graywater almost immediately to up to 16 irrigation zones. Hair, lint and other solids are filtered out with a self-cleaning filter. Using commercial agriculture irrigation methods, IrriGRAY delivers the precise amount of water required for each zone, every day, to maintain a green landscape and lawn, with the highest irrigation efficiency possible.In addition to being fully automated, each IrriGRAY system sends performance data every minute of activity to the service. The IrriGRAY internet service actively monitors this performance and notifies clients and their contractors if applicable, of any issues, such as someone accidentally putting a spade through an irrigation distribution line. This is critically important for dripperline based irrigation systems – without monitoring, irrigation problems would not be apparent until the landscape started showing signs of stress.Although IrriGRAY was designed for new home construction and retrofit into existing homes, robust design has allowed the system to also be used for Multi-Family housing developments, as well as commercial applications such as hotel laundry waste water re-use.


  1. Q: The sustainable industry is an upward trending market. How do you manage to stay ahead of the curve?  A: The innovative and flexible design on the IrriGRAY controller allows us to continually improve irrigation methods, as well as add additional management functions, such as rainwater storage control & use, AC condensate, Reverse Osmosis waste water and much more.The controller software can be upgraded automatically at any time, on a group or individual basis. This allows fast development of additional real world features and keeps IrriGRAY years ahead of other solutions.While initially developed as a graywater management system, In the past few years IrriGRAY has evolved into an entire water management system, utilizing any available alternate water supplies in the most efficient manner, as well as being simple to program / manage.


  1. Q: Future goals for WaterRenu? A: Our primary goal is to continue our focus of providing a total water management solution that is flexible – catering for a wide range of site specific water re-use options – while maintaining simplicity of use.Many technical issues related to water management and water filtration were solved with IrriGRAY, and there are significant opportunities for Water ReNu to release these solutions as economical products for other niche markets, such as well water automatic filtration, water flow management and more.

Water ReNu $25,000 Endowment Fund

The Texas Builders Foundation, the charitable arm of the Texas Association of Builders, serves as a resource to students, the residential construction industry, and the citizens of the State of Texas. The mission of the Texas Builders Foundation is to support and develop the future of Texas’ construction workforce and facilitate the charitable activities of the residential construction industry

Scholarships are awarded each year to students in Texas who are enrolled in Construction related programs. Donations help to support and develop the future of Texas’ construction workforce by providing scholarships to students in trade and technical schools and colleges and universities. Well-Paying Careers Educators want to be able to direct their students toward meaningful career choices and employment. In Texas, occupations that require an Associate Degree or vocational certification pay an average of more then $40,000 a year compared to the average pay of less than $25,000 for those with only a high school diploma or less.

Water ReNu provided an Endowment Fund of $25,000 in 2015 and will be donating a portion of all proceeds in 2016 and beyond. 

Read More on the Texas Home Builders Site (Water ReNu is featured on Page 11)

San Angelo to get first graywater development

San Angelo Standard Times, San Angelo

Click here to view article

SAN ANGELO, Texas - Michael Biggerstaff smiled as he and a group of local builders, officials and business people chipped away with shovels at the brittle ground of what will soon be the first home in San Angelo to have subsurface graywater irrigation.

It certainly will not be the last.

"We're making history today," Biggerstaff said, as the group stood looking toward largely undeveloped land in southwest San Angelo on a blustery Wednesday. "This is the first subdivision in the United States to mandate subsurface irrigation with graywater."

Together, Biggerstaff and four other local builders — Kevin Bond, Adrian Balderas, Chad Decker and Eric von Rosenberg — plan to build 328 homes with underground graywater irrigation systems, known as IrriGray.

Graywater is the water captured from bathtubs, washing machines and air conditioner condensate.

Just the first set of 40 homes, in Saddle Club III just off Twin Mountain Drive, could save 6.4 million gallons of water per year, Biggerstaff said. The total 328 homes could save an estimated 52.4 million gallons of water per year for San Angelo.

"You can't have growth if you don't have resources," Biggerstaff said in an interview earlier this week. "This program will enable us to continue to grow and give us an environment where we're able to be good stewards of this resource."


About 14 months ago Biggerstaff started looking into methods for local builders to incorporate green systems into their products — particularly pertaining to water supply.

Oppressive drought conditions the past few years have left San Angeloans worried about whether there will be enough water to support the rapidly growing region. But green building is expensive and San Angelo developers have mostly shied away from the hefty initial costs.

The long term water savings are worth the extra cost, however, Biggerstaff said.

"I think the five of us will set a precedent," he said. "The buyer will let us know that."

These will be high-end homes, Biggerstaff said, looking at plans for a Tuscan-style house.

"These are going to be some of the finest homes built in San Angelo," Biggerstaff said.

The underground system costs about 25 to 30 percent more than a typical landscape irrigation system, Biggerstaff said.

But the technology has advanced "to a point where the system is paying for itself (through water savings) in the hundreds of thousands of dollars," said Paul James, vice president of research and project development for Water ReNu, LLC, the international company that manufactures IrriGray.

Water ReNu has about 15 years' experience making and implementing these systems in the U.S. and Australia.

The overall cost to install an IrriGray system, according to a flyer, is $4,150.

At the new home site Wednesday, developers and officials chatted excitedly about the new program. Nearby, residents came in and out of the handful of houses already built in the subdivision.

"We're excited with being in on this," said John Childers, president of the Bank of San Angelo, which is helping the builders finance the development.


The IrriGray system captures water from bathtubs, washing machines, dishwashers and air conditioner condensate.

Water from kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks and commodes will not be collected and will go down a sewer line, James said.

The captured graywater is filtered through a screen, which is typically checked once a year, before it is used for irrigation.

"Soap assists in the uptake of water," James said.

Backflow preventers stop the graywater from mixing with sewer water.

IrriGray does not store water. As soon as 5 gallons of graywater is available, a pumping basin distributes the water through a dripperline irrigation system to different "zones" throughout the property. The system can be monitored or adjusted using a computerlike controller.

The average size for a home at Saddle Club III will be about 7,500 square feet. With three residents, one of these homes could save about 160,000 gallons of water per year and still have a lush, healthy landscape, James said.

If a household does not produce enough graywater for the needs of a yard, the IrriGray system has a connection to supplement the yard with potable water.


San Angelo isn't in an emergency drought situation now, but it could be a matter of time before it is in the same predicament as it was a year ago — preparing to cease all outdoor watering.

"If we can't slow that water-drain down, we're going to be in the same boat we were in," said Bond, one of the builders involved in the graywater project. "The graywater system is going to allow people to maintain their lawns (even in a drought)."

Biggerstaff said he hopes this new development — and the investment these five builders are making toward conservation — will put the pressure on other San Angelo builders to do likewise.

"I see in this community that every new home built will have graywater reuse rather than sending that down the drain," he said.

Biggerstaff spoke enthusiastically of the help received from the city's planning and development services department on the project.

"We tried to stay within the spirit of the code," said Patrick Howard, director of the department.

The city's building code does not heavily address green building, Howard said, but city staff hopes to incorporate that when they review the code this year.

"We're looking to encourage this kind of activity," Howard said.

Although the city of San Angelo may not be able to offer reduced rates for green building activities like some larger cities do, he hopes to explore ways to promote them among local developers, businesses and individuals.

"It's better for everyone in the long term," Howard said. "And there are more cost savings."

Economic growth and conservation often are portrayed as conflicting goals, Biggerstaff said, but he believes this new development will be a way for the two values to converge.

"The builder and developer in today's world needs to understand: We need to be proactive," he said.


San Angelo Water Mandate Makes History

My Fox Zone news, San Angelo & Abilene

Click here to view news article, and short news video.

SAN ANGELO, Tx - San Angelo made history this morning, and with perfect timing, on Earth Day.  
The groundbreaking this morning had a double meaning as San Angelo is the first in the nation to mandate homes being built in a certain subdivision use the "IrriGRAY System".  

This means that the yards at  these new houses will be irrigated using gray water.   It's collected from bath tubs, air conditioning condensation, showers and washing machines.  That water alone can irrigate a 7,500 square foot lot.   

"We've seen tremendous growth in San Angelo through the last couple of years, the biggest concern with that growth from people is how are we going to be able to sustain the kind of growth that San Angelo is now enjoying, the only way you can do that is be resourceful," Michael Biggerstaff, CEO of Michael Biggerstaff Homes said.

There are 40 homes that are slated to be built soon. By using this system in these homes, it will save San Angelo 6.4 million gallons of water a year.  

There are also around 280 more lots for sale, all of those homes combined will save San Angelo 52 million gallons a year.  


Water ReNu acquires assets of Morrow Water Savers

March 16, 2015

Dear Clients & Friends of IrriGRAY and Morrow Water Savers LLC,

We are writing today to let you know that IrriGRAY is changing hands.  We are now co-owned by Paul James (the designer of IrriGRAY) and Daniel Alford who have recently acquired IrriGRAY and other products from Morrow Water Savers.  Although IrriGRAY ownership has changed, the name will remain the same.  However, in order to increase manufacturing, service, and distribution efficiency, we are relocating the business to the Dallas metroplex.

We will maintain current operations with existing clients while finalizing the programming of IrriGRAY’s internet-based smart control tracking system.  This innovative development will monitor the system once installed as well as make virtual updates to the system instantaneously. It is expected to be released April 2015.

With ownership details finalized, we are excited about IrriGRAY’s immediate availability and look forward to doing business with you.

Please address inquiries and business transactions to us at 325-206-1758.

Be assured that this change will positively impact the company.  We believe in the profound benefits of IrriGRAY to you personally and the exponential effect we can collectively have on the environment by re-using precious water as efficiently as possible.  We look forward to serving you.


Paul James                   Daniel Alford    

Sunbelt Show (Texas Home Builders Association) IrriGRAY Graywater Irrigation Demonstration Display July 23/24

Our interactive, fully functional IrriGRAY graywater display certainly gets around!

On July 23 and 24 it will be running at the Texas Home Builders association trade show "Sunbelt", at the San Antonio Marriot.

If you are already registered for the show, come and see us. If you would like to attend, but have not yet registered, contact us and we can provide free registration for you.

Paul James, Paul Rogers, Julia, as well as Daniel from ServALL (our Dallas Fort Worth Distributor) will all be demonstrating at the show.

Lubbock Parade Of Homes, June 2014

The IrriGRAY graywater irrigation system has been installed in the luxury parade home built by Fred Wilson Homes.

Located at 4405 103rd Street Lubbock, the system includes a 6,000 gallon underground rain water tank as well as collecting and managing graywater from showers, laundry and tubs.

For the three week period in June, Morrow Water Savers will have the mobile interactive display unit set up in the garage of this home, so visitors can see how each part works, as well as a feature of landscape designs suitable for the Lubbock region.


Over 4,000 people viewed the interactive design, with many already deciding to have the IrriGRAY system installed in their next new home.

The display unit is staying in Lubbock for a few more weeks before moving to San Antonio for the Texas Builders Association 'SunBelt' show in San Antonio, July 23 & 24. See you there!

San Angelo Home & Builders Show - March 22/23 & Speaking Presentation by Paul James

Hey everyone in San Angelo TX and surrounds!

Come and see our fully interactive IrriGRAY demonstration unit. It includes a running shower, pumping system, self cleaning filter, controller system and working zones. Because we have a large outdoor display we will also give you some ideas about how you can have a beautiful landscape that is not just about lawn!

Paul James is also presenting on stage - a 1 hour talk to explain how you can make every drop count. Not just graywater, but appropriate uses of potable and rainwater. Particular emphasis will be placed on programming irrigation systems to achieve the highest irrigation efficiencies possible.

Midland Builders Luncheon

As sponsor for the luncheon meeting, we were able to provide a 10 minute introduction about graywater irrigation to over 80 builders and associates.

Our presentation was extremely well received, and for most builders it was the first time they realized that a complete graywater irrigation package for their clients would only cost about $1,700 more than a regular sprinkler system.

While builders are mainly interested in 'building' it is of course in their interest to provide a complete livability package. Happy customers make for more repeat / word of mouth sales, and in this hot, dry and dusty part of Texas, a green landscape is high on customer's wishlists.

Until the builders had heard of this solution, they had resigned themselves to just offering bare ground, especially because of the severe water restrictions in place, and likely to remain for a long time - especially as the population grows, but water sources remain the same.