Graywater Ordinance Development

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Join a public meeting (virtual) on June 16, 2022 at 1:00pm to learn about graywater. Register Here.

Fort Collins City Council Considering Graywater Use

To move toward one of the Fort Collins City Council priorities, City staff drafted graywater ordinance language and is planning for its potential use in the community. The ordinance aligns with State of Colorado requirements while considering water rights and ensuring public health is protected.

The City is looking at graywater as another water efficiency tool. The ordinance would allow homeowners and businesses to capture water from clothes washers, showers, bathroom and laundry sinks, and divert it to toilet flushing before the water travels to the City’s wastewater system. If approved, this ordinance would provide the right water for the right use since toilet water doesn’t need to be treated to drinking standards.

Fort Collins City Council is scheduled to hear the first reading of the ordinance on August 16, 2022.

Join a public meeting (virtual) on June 16, 2022 at 1:00pm to learn about graywater. Register Here.

Fort Collins City Council Considering Graywater Use

To move toward one of the Fort Collins City Council priorities, City staff drafted graywater ordinance language and is planning for its potential use in the community. The ordinance aligns with State of Colorado requirements while considering water rights and ensuring public health is protected.

The City is looking at graywater as another water efficiency tool. The ordinance would allow homeowners and businesses to capture water from clothes washers, showers, bathroom and laundry sinks, and divert it to toilet flushing before the water travels to the City’s wastewater system. If approved, this ordinance would provide the right water for the right use since toilet water doesn’t need to be treated to drinking standards.

Fort Collins City Council is scheduled to hear the first reading of the ordinance on August 16, 2022.

  • Background

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    The Colorado Water Plan (2015) sets a goal to achieve 400,000 acre-feet of conservation in the municipal and industrial sectors by 2050. Further, the Fort Collins Utilities Water Efficiency Plan (2015) sets a goal to reduce average water use to 130 gallons per capita per day by 2030. This requires an additional 8% reduction from the current 5-year average over the next 8 years. Both plans suggest exploring graywater as a potential strategy to reduce water use. 

    Also, City Plan (2019) points to encouraging greater efficiency in new and redevelopment. Fort Collins is expected to grow significantly, with a potential for 30,000 new dwelling units in the Growth Management Area (GMA). Thirty percent are expected to be single-family dwelling units and about 80 percent of all additional dwelling units are expected to be outside of the Fort Collins Utilities water service area. An estimate from Denver Water when the agency adopted its ordinance in 2016, suggests that for every 1,000 graywater systems installed in new single-family homes, enough water could be saved to serve about 125 household per year. More empirical research and data based on real-world behavior is needed to understand if this estimate is realistic and can be relied on for water resource planning. 

    Graywater also relates to the larger context of exploring tactics to use water more sustainably. While much of the water used by Fort Collins residents is treated to drinking water standards, not all of it needs to be. The City has already implemented raw (untreated) water for park irrigation and the state allows limited rain barrel use. Graywater is potentially another area where water treated to drinking water standards is not required.

Page last updated: 07 Apr 2022, 01:25 PM