Perp 1: “So, What Are You in for?” Perp 2: “Graywater”

From today’s New York Times comes the story of home owners in California taking the law into their own hands. No, they aren’t becoming caped crusaders, but instead are building and maintaining their own illegal graywater recycling systems for their homes. One group of clandestine plumbers, calling themselves the “Graywater Guerrillas,” is trying to spread the word about DIY graywater systems. Why go underground? From the article:

“The [California plumbing] code is so overbuilt that I’m beginning to think it’s better to just have everyone do it bootleg,” said Steve Bilson, the founder of ReWater Systems, a company that has installed around 800 code-compliant gray water systems at a cost of about $7,000 each, and who worked as a consultant on California gray water legislation in the 1990s.

As a result, many homeowners have installed unpermitted, illegal plumbing, relying on techniques developed by covert researchers like the Greywater Guerrillas. (It is difficult to know how many, since these systems are not registered with any government or organization, but Ms. Allen said that based on her observations there are probably around 2,000 homes equipped with gray water systems, a few legal but most illegal, in the Bay Area alone.)

The Dirt knew that graywater systems were hot, but not this hot.

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