Rough Cost Estimate for a Gray Water System in Torrance Remodel

Subject: Rough estimate for a GW system for remodel in Torrance
Date: Thu, 03 May 2001
From: Art Ludwig

Jane from Torrance, Calif., wrote:
> I have read through much of your website and have found
> it both informative and highly interesting. I was hoping
> you could give me a rough estimate of the cost to outfit
> my home and if it is feasible at all. I know you want
> more specifics as stated in your checklist but I just need
> to know a range so I know if this is worth pursuing at
> all at this time. Here is my deal.
> I have a 1116 s.f. home 3BD/1BA In Torrance, Calif.--Just
> east of Redondo Beach.
> I will be remodeling, more like overhauling, into 2
> story, 3200 s.f. 3BD/3Full BA/3 bonus room and family
> room. Small garden, mostly just grass. Approx. 582 s.f.
> grass in back-flat(maybe use water from 2 full baths
> upstairs?)and approx. 440 s.f. Grass area in front-
> slight downhill slope.
> Does this sound feasible at all? Economically or
> otherwise? Is there too much water for the lot
> size?(5390 s.f.) Is it even worth it to consider
> greywater reclaimation. I'm not close enough to
> finishing my budget(done by end of May?) to know if I can
> even think about doing this. I would like to be an
> energystar home if possible but I'll just have to do as
> much as I can. Does something like this run $2000-$5000
> or $10,000-$50,000 or what? Could you just give me the
> roughest range to start with? Thank you so much for
> your time.

Thanks for your inquiry. Your question is one that many people have, but is
unusually well-framed: do you mind if I post it to our discussion forum?
Off the top of my head I say you want:
1) an inexpensive laundry only system for plants other than the lawn (a few
hundred bucks to use 15% of your greywater to water 15% of your yard)
2) an earthstar greywater system (see and subsurface drip
irrigation for your lawn. You could probably do this for $2000-$5000, with an
extra $2000 if you want the system permitted. Showing a reasonable payback time
for this type of system on water savings alone with so little area to irrigate
is near impossible; most people have other motivation. If you are on septic, the
economics are much more attractive as it will take most the load off the septic
Whatever you do, figuring out what you want before designing the remodel will
make it much cheaper.

Full greywater how-to details from our store