Gray Matter

I just had a design consultation with Joe, my plumber, on the options for capturing the bath, sink and laundry water in a huge tank in the basement, then pumping it out through lines to drip systems lying below the gorilla hair ground cover.

Joe.  He’s Italian, hardy, funny and super smart about how all things with pumps, valves, pressure, lines and things work.  He has done a simpler system already for his vegetable garden and he helped two women in the hood begin capturing rain water on the four corners of their house and pump it out into the yard.  Joe is energetic and intense.  He knows the existing plumbing under my house because he did it.  If I say something dumb he’s shrugs it off with “yeah, I know,” and continues talking.  If I get something witty in he throws back his head and laughs.

We agreed no leach lines due to the redwood with its greedy quarter of a mile net of feeder roots.  And I hate the idea of trying to trench in the clay soil.  A drip system will relieve me of mindless hours of hand-watering the drought resistant plantings.

Joe can talk a blue streak too, when he is explaining how the three floats work in a giant tank talking it all the way to the dramatic turning point when “beep, beep, beep” and the system needs to switch to send gray water back into the city sewer system.

I like this plan, this talked out sketch in the air.  Up the basement steps to the yard.  Back down to the basement to envision the tank location.  I like being heard and given options.  And the care he took to explain the detail of the work.  And the cautions for what to say when the walk-in bath tub people start giving me estimates and designs.

Now, how to afford all this water saving wonderfulness before the tax credit is initiated?  Good plumbers aren’t cheap.  Breathe.  It always works out.  This one will, too.

Reclaiming gray water matters.  It will even more in one year.  I’ve done things since I bought my house six years ago – put in a tankless water heater, re-roofed and new electrical to put insulation in the attic.  I took out the lawn and have conservatively planted drought resistant bushes, ground cover, succulents.

So good to have a week of spring vacation to get things done.  Three appointments with tub/spa specialists coming up.  I really couldn’t process this during the average work week.

And, rain!  We got a bit of rain before dawn.  Some clouds are hanging around…come on, rain!

2014-04-20 10.24.20

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