- This page, Installation of Water Recycling Systems, is offered by
- Division of Occupational Licensure
- Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters
Policy Statement Installation of Water Recycling Systems
Table of Contents
Installation of Water Recycling Systems
BOARD POLICY REGARDING THE INSTALLATION OF WATER RECYCLING SYSTEMS
(Enacted April 4, 2018)
The Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters (“Board”) has voted to issue this policy to promote the safe and effective installation of water recycling systems. Per the Plumbing Code, the Board, via its special permission process, permits the installation of several types of water recycling systems, including dedicated gray water systems, black water systems, and on site wastewater treatments systems. See 248 CMR 10.14(j)(2). The purpose of this policy is to remind licensees and the public of the different options available when considering such a system as well as the prerequisites which must be met for the Board to grant its approval.
2. General Rules
A. Acceptable uses for a water recycling system
Water recycling systems are approved by the Board as dedicated systems, meaning that they are specialized plumbing systems separate and apart from the typical plumbing systems found in a building. Water recycling systems the Board approves are used for the following purposes:
- External or internal irrigation;
- For use in liquid cooling systems; and
- Flushing toilets and urinals;
At this time, the Board does not generally approve the use of a water recycling system to serve fixtures used as part of a potable water system, as such water must be safe for human consumption.
B. Potable water supplies must be protected.
The purpose of a water recycling system is to reuse water that typically must be removed from a building or property because it, or its contents, are no longer useful, have served a completed process, or must be removed for safety or sanitary purposes. As a result, public safety requires that such waste water may not contaminate to the potable water system which is used for drinking or other domestic purposes. Accordingly, all water recycling systems must be designed and installed with backflow protection, air gaps, and other such measures to ensure that there is no cross connection with a potable water system. To facilitate future installations and to avoid confusion with the potable water system, all piping associated with water recycling systems must be clearly marked so that there is no confusion with pipes carrying potable water and/or pipes carrying waste water to a building drainage system or other point of disposal. The following is required to meet this goal:
- Piping used in the potable water system must be painted with three inch bands of green every ten feet and wherever the piping penetrates walls, floors, and ceilings;
- Piping used in the water recycling system must be painted purple and must be labeled “non-potable water”; and
- Recycled water being utilized for the flushing of toilets and urinals must be dye colored blue to distinguish it from potable water.
C. Water used in water recycling system must be treated
The Board shall only approve water recycling systems where provisions have been taken, such as by filtering or other such treatments, to ensure that the recycled water does not contain contaminants that might be harmful to public health or to the environment.
D. Water used in a water recycling system cannot interfere with a building’s storm water drainage system.
Unless the only water to be used in a water recycling system is clear water waste from condensation or natural precipitation, the system must be designed to ensure any overflow goes directly into a building’s sanitary drainage system and not into a storm drainage system.
3. Rules for Specific Water Recycling Systems
While the Board reserves the right to impose additional requirements where it deems necessary to preserve public health and safety, the following provisions shall apply to Water Recycling Systems approved by the Board.
A. Residential/Small Water Recycling Systems.
A residential/small water recycling system, typically used for single and multifamily residences as well as small commercial environments, has a maximum flow of 400 gallons per day; and shall generally adhere to the following characteristics:
1. The water it recycles comes from the following sources exclusively:
a. Condensation - Water waste generally clear and free from chemicals or other contaminants which was produced by fire sprinkler systems, air conditioning equipment, drip or overflow pans, boilers, pools, and other devices which utilize water or create condensation;
b. Used water out-flowing from a clothes-washer, shower, bathtub or bathroom sink (aka Grey Water); or
c. Natural precipitation such as rainwater and snow that has not been contaminated by use.
2. The water recycling system meets one of the following criteria:
a. The full system (other than the actual installation) has been product-accepted pursuant to 248 CMR 3.04: Product, Design, and Testing Standards; OR
b. It has been designed by a Massachusetts Professional Engineer. The design shall assure that the installation, pipe sizing, dimension, treatment of Waste Water, and any other aspects meet the requirements for proper functioning, safety, and any other applicable provisions of 248 CMR 10.00. Once installed, the Massachusetts Professional Engineer must provide a written certification that the installation complies with the stamped drawings and specifications.
B. Commercial/Industrial Grade Water Recycling Systems.
A commercial/industrial grade water recycling system, typically used for larger commercial and industrial installations as well as schools and stadiums shall generally adhere to the following characteristics:
1. The system may utilize any type of waste water that has been appropriately treated to remove contaminants that might be harmful to public health or to the environment; and
2. The system must be designed by a Massachusetts Professional Engineer. The design shall assure that the installation, pipe sizing, dimension, treatment of Waste Water, and any other aspects meet the requirements for proper functioning, safety, and any other applicable provisions of 248 CMR 10.00. Once installed, the Massachusetts Professional Engineer must provide a written certification that the installation complies with the stamped drawings and specifications.
4. Requirements for formal approval
A. Special permission must be obtained from the Board prior to obtaining a permit to commence installation of a water recycling system from the Inspector of Plumbing who will have ultimate jurisdiction over the installation.
B. Once granted special permission by the Board, final approval of the water recycling system shall be granted by the Inspector of Plumbing having jurisdiction over the installation. This Inspector shall not be responsible for approving or inspecting design specifications, which are considered approved based on the Special Permission granted by the Board; however, the Inspector shall inspect the water recycling system to ensure the installation adheres to the provisions of 248 CMR 10.00.
C. When used for external purposes, such as for irrigation systems, the approval of other agencies may be required in order to complete the installation of a Water Recycling System, such as the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, and/or a local board of health or similar authority having jurisdiction. It shall be the duty of the licensee seeking a plumbing permit to determine the role of such authorities prior to commencing with installation.
D. Approvals of other agencies shall not be deemed to supersede the requirements for a Permit as well as full inspection by the Inspector of all components and connections of a Water Recycling System. If the approval of another agency would necessitate a violation of the plumbing code, the code must be followed unless a variance is granted by the Board.