Greywater For Your Garden, Long Beach Unveils ‘Laundry to Landscape’ Pilot Program

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City of Long Beach Unveils ‘Laundry to Landscape’ Pilot Program

Photo by claude estèbe

On Tuesday, the City of Long Beach unveiled a pilot program for residents to conserve resources by using water from their washing machines in backyard irrigation systems for trees, shrubs and gardens.

“Conventional wisdom and common sense ideas are essential when adopting progressive improvement,” Mayor Bob Foster said. “The ‘Laundry to Landscape’ program helps raise awareness throughout the community, change attitudes and encourage greater participation in sustainability efforts.”

The City Council approved the pilot “Laundry to Landscape” program in March 2011. Councilmember James Johnson, Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal and Councilmember Patrick O’Donnell co-sponsored the measure. The program is a partnership between the Water Department, which is providing the funding, and the Office of Sustainability. It is believed to be the first “Laundry to Landscape” program in Southern California featuring municipal funded installation.

Four people in each of the nine City Council districts will be selected to receive a free installation. The program is open to single-family homeowners with suitable properties. To apply, visit or call 562.570.6281.

The “Laundry to Landscape” program will complement and augment other City sustainability initiatives, including the Rain Barrel Program, Mulch Home Delivery Program and Lawn to Garden program. Additional benefits include reduced consumption of potable water, reduced load on our sewage infrastructure and the replenishment of natural groundwater sources.

Water discharged from washing machines, bathtubs and sinks is considered graywater, dirtier than potable water but cleaner than sewage water or “black” water. Greywater irrigation systems are safe for watering most vegetable gardens, except for root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots. Greywater is not recommended for watering lawns.

No City permits are required, but a licensed plumber will install the systems. Green Job Trainees with the Office of Sustainability will assist with installing the irrigation system.

The program will be evaluated for effectiveness, and to determine whether to consider future programs that include more advanced greywater systems.

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