“Free Design” shouldn’t cost you a fortune
Wahaso has been in the wastewater disposal industry for decades but has only been in the greywater irrigation industry for a short time. They still have some problems with irrigation. While each issue may not be a show-stopper for you, collectively they could change your mind. Let’s check them out…
Reading Wahaso’s website, you wouldn’t realize that legal greywater includes laundry water and that laundry water is 25% of all greywater.
Looking at their installed greywater projects page https://wahaso.com/projects/, you won’t see any projects that include laundry graywater. This is because Wahaso’s systems can’t handle laundry water.
This matters a lot if you want to satisfy the City of LA’s graywater reuse mandate, and/or a Low Impact Development (LID) mandate, without paying a fortune to dual-plumb your building’s entire wastewater and fresh water systems and/or you’d rather use a much less expensive system to satisfy those mandates.
Wahaso gets new clients using two well known hooks.
Hook #1 – FREE DESIGN!
The “free design” for Wahaso’s “treated” graywater systems is so generic that it’s worthless for anything but understanding the concept. You can’t determine a real price with it, obtain a building permit with it, or construct with it. Somebody has to spend tens of thousands of dollars on engineering, drawings, and calculations before your subs can even give you a hard bid, much less build anything.
If you got sucked in that far, you’ll be tempted to go the rest of the way in Wahaso’s experiment. That means you’ll have to separate the laundry water from the rest of the greywater, dual plumb your fresh water system, dual plumb your wastewater system, and buy their California Plumbing Code (CPC) Section 1501 “treated non-potable greywater” system. By the the time you’ve reached the end, Wahaso’s treatment system will have added literally hundreds of thousands of dollars to your construction costs.
Hook #2 – SATISFIES GREYWATER REUSE AND LID MANDATES!
The City of Los Angeles requires new multi-family buildings using city loans to reuse greywater. LA and other cities’ Low Impact Development (LID) rules require rain to be disposed of on-site or used. But neither mandate requires you to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars.
CPC Section 1502 untreated greywater irrigation systems have been around for decades and they satisfy the same mandates for a fraction of the cost. Such systems capture, filter, and reuse untreated greywater and/or rain in underground drip irrigation systems. For example visit https://rewater.com/ .
CPC Section 1501 vs. 1502 Systems
There are two significantly different types of graywater systems in California’s greywater code – Section 1501 for treated greywater and Section 1502 for untreated greywater.
Section 1501 Systems
Section 1501 systems have only been legal in California since 2016. These systems must capture, filter, and treat greywater almost to drinking water standards. But because there’s no guaranty such systems always work, their water can only be used for toilet flushing, cooling towers, and sprinklers with numerous caveats and restrictions.
Only a few systems have been sold under this code section. Therefore, very little is known about them except what the manufacturers claim and what is starting to leak out via the grapevine.
Section 1501 systems need two agencies to inspect them in California. The building inspection agency having jurisdiction is one agency, and the county environmental health agency is the other (per CPC 1501.3). Both agencies inspect the same system, but both have different inspection criteria. Those competing agencies, each trying to out-regulate the other, create enormous budget and schedule busting conflicts during construction. Ask anyone who’s had one installed. It’s a builder’s nightmare.
Section 1502 Systems
Section 1502 covers everything for reusing untreated greywater in underground irrigation. This section is the original state code that has been in use with updates since 1994. Thousands of such systems have been sold over the last three decades, including single-family residential and multi-family systems. A lot has been learned about them over that time, including how efficient underground drip irrigation is, and how it reduces repair costs associated with pedestrians. Permitting is straight forward, inexpensive, and performed by only one agency.
What type of system do you need?
The way to tell what type of system you need is to ask “what am I trying to achieve?” You need a Section 1502 untreated system if you’re trying to:
- Do the right/green/sustainable thing and will have a landscape.
- Fulfill a loan caveat requiring greywater and you will have a landscape.
- Satisfy LID requirements and will have a landscape.
- Obtain LEED points and will have a landscape.
- Save money by reusing greywater and/or rain for irrigation in a time-proven system.
On the other hand, you need a Section 1501 treated system if you must reuse your greywater but don’t have a landscape. Like on a NASA space mission.
Are you NASA?
NASA invented Wahaso’s type of multi-filtered greywater system back in the 1960s for the Apollo space missions and it cost a fortune. It still costs a fortune!
For example, Wahaso recently sold their toilet-flushing greywater system into a new apartment building at 1301 W. 7th Street, Los Angeles, to satisfy the City of LA’s greywater reuse mandate that cost the owner about $400,000; ($200,000+ for materials + $200,000+ for labor). Ask Wahaso about it!
Wahaso also isn’t talking about the huge upfront costs of that system or that it will never pay for itself due to the high annual maintenance and re-inspection costs the owner has to pay forever.
And about that NSF 350-Certification…
Wahaso also isn’t talking about their worthless NSF-350 Certification. NSF failed to include hair and lint in the “greywater” they used for lab testing. So, NSF 350 Certified systems fail when real greywater is used. NSF’s quiet but substantial on-going overhaul of their NSF 350 certification process proves it. For more info, see NSF350Fails.com
Instead, Wahaso requires you to exclude laundry water but then brags about their NSF 350 Certification. Why doesn’t NSF just revoke their certification? Such would be an admission that would expose NSF to litigation from all those whose NSF 350-certified systems failed despite NSF’s promises.
Are your architect and engineer providing you good advice?
Really? Architects and engineers often try to attach the cachet of the “latest and greatest” technology to their projects for their own reasons. But the latest systems have never proven to be the greatest. Here’s the poster child for that –
In 2015, the “latest” greywater company – Nexus eWater – began spending millions of dollars marketing their NSF 350-Certified systems in California before abruptly going out of business in 2018 because their “greatest” systems quickly failed in the field. Architects or engineers recommended most of those systems. Oops. See http://nexusewater.net/
Wahaso’s greywater system has the same worthless NSF 350 Certification.
Professionally Engineered Fails
Another example: In 2013, the renowned National Resource Defenses Council replaced the professionally engineered greywater toilet flushing and irrigation system installed in their Robert Redford building in Santa Monica in 2003. It was costing NRDC a fortune to operate and re-inspect because of all the tanks, pumps, valves, multiple filters, and electronics, like Wahaso’s system.
NRDC replaced that system with a smaller, far more affordable ReWater® system https://rewater.com/natural-resources-defense-council-santa-monica-california/. ReWater’s system opened up an entire room for storage and other uses. NRDC’s space savings alone probably paid for the project.
Another example: In 2011, people started complaining that an unscrupulous company owned by “Buzz” couldn’t get their supposedly latest and greatest Gray Water Recycling Systems (GWRS) to work and was stranding customers. https://www.trustlink.org/Review/Gray-Water-Recycling-Systems-LLC-199333 His company resurfaced and is now marketing and selling a NSF 350 Certified system. More of the same bad news is on the way from the Buzz gang.
There is a better way.
Ask about ReWater’s system.
When it comes to greywater/graywater reuse, you want a time-tested system that cost-effectively withstands the wear and tear of daily use with minimal maintenance. Hundreds of Californians have purchased ReWater’s Section 1502 untreated graywater irrigation systems for exactly that reason.