Graywater use approved by council


Graywater use approved by Denver City Council.

Denver becomes one of the first Colorado cities to allow graywater use.

Developers could embrace this to save water.



Champa Flats by iUnit will incorporate graywater use features.

With little fanfare, earlier this month the Denver City Council adopted an ordinance that makes Denver one of the first cities in the state to allow the use of graywater.

Graywater, a part of wastewater, can be reused for residential, commercial and industrial purposes.

One developer, iUnit, already has started to incorporate water saving features into its Denver developments.

The company will incorporate such features into its 60-unit Champa Flats apartment building it plans to develop at 2250 Champa St,. for example.

Graywater is collected from fixtures within residential, commercial, industrial buildings, or institutional facilities for being put to a second beneficial use.

The water  can be collected from bathroom and laundry room sinks, bathtubs, showers, and washing machines.

Graywater can be used to flush toilets or urinals, or for subsurface irrigation of non-agricultural crops

“Water is a precious resource in Colorado and as Denver’s population grows, water conservation will be of continued importance,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock.

“We’re excited to be the first to pass a measure that gives our residents and businesses the ability to save resources and money at the same time,” Hancock added.

“As Denver’s population grows, water conservation will be of continued importance,” said Sonrisa Lucero, Sustainability Strategist for Denver.

“The ordinance empowers the Denver Board of Environmental Health to develop regulations to govern the use of graywater within the city and empowers the Department of Environmental Health, in coordination with Community Planning and Development, to administer the program,” Lucero added.

Denver Water estimates for every 1,000 graywater systems installed in single-family homes, enough water could be saved to serve about 125 households per year.

gray water

Denver will save a lot of water by re-using graywater.

Also, a graywater program will support the City’s 2020 Community Sustainability Goal for Water Quantity of reducing per capita use of potable water in Denver by 22 percent by providing a new option to conserve water.

Large facilities that have high uses of water from showers and laundry and high water demand for toilet flushing such as hotels, multi-family residential, and dormitories, could realize more significant cost savings.

It is anticipated that the greatest demand for graywater will come from new hotels, apartment communities, dormitories, and buildings pursuing a green building certification

“Every day that we wait there is another project that goes by without considering the application of graywater systems,” said Patti Mason, Executive Director, USGBC Colorado.

In 2013, the Colorado State Legislature authorized the use of graywater in Colorado, providing local health departments with the ability to monitor and regulate the use and treatment.

Last year, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission adopted what is known as Regulation 86, which permits local governments to adopt an ordinance authorizing the use of graywater.

“Regulation 86 is just one piece of broader water reuse conversation that’s underway in Colorado,” Mason said.

“As the city of Denver moves forward with graywater implementation, we anticipate seeing other growing communities across the state follow suit,” according to Mason.

Denver’s ordinance was developed by Denver’s Department of Environmental Health, in coordination with Community Planning and Development and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.

This also marks the completion of one of the commitments announced by the city at last December’s Sustainable Denver Summit.

The Board of Environmental Health is expected to approve rules and regulations late summer describing how the program will be implemented.

Participation in the program will be  voluntary.

Industry professionals are already considering graywater for future  development projects.

iUnit, a development technology company building energy-efficient, net zero housing communities, has started incorporating smart water meters in their units that can detect leaks down to a leaking flapper in the toilet which is responsible for nine gallons of wasted water per day

“A lot of people don’t realize the energy involved in our water systems and also how finite of a resource potable water is,” said Brice Leconte, iUnit’s founder.

“By incorporating graywater systems in our communities we are able to address this issue and make better use of water,” he said.

Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at is sponsored by 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.

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John Rebchook

John Rebchook has more than 30 years of experience in writing and communications. As the Real Estate Editor for the Rocky Mountain News, he wrote about residential and commercial real estate for 26 years. He has won numerous awards for business stories and columns that he wrote, both as an individual and part of teams. In addition to real estate, he also covered economic development, banking and financing, the airlines, and cable TV for the Rocky. In addition, he was one of the original freelance writers for, covering commercial real estate for the Internet publication.

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