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"grey water" drain


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I am a rookie inspector. In the process of inspecting the home of a friend yesterday, I noticed sudsy water bubbling up in the backyard. Turns out the clothes washer is connected to a drain line that empties directly into the backyard about 50 feet from the house. My friend tells me the clothes washer is the only fixture on this drain. The rest of the house is on the municipal sewer system.I have not inspected the inside of the house yet. I will do that next weekend, so I have not yet looked at the installation in the laundry room.

The house is a two-story lakefront house, built in the early 70's. The back of the house faces the lake which is about 100 feet away. The place has a few other problems, but I am interested in your thoughts on this. My instinct tells me this is not a good thing, and I have looked through the ICC 2003 International Residential Code for some inspiration, but the only thing I can find that seems to apply is the following: "P3001.3 Flood-resistant installation. In areas prone to flooding as established by Table R301.2(1), drainage, waste and vent systems shall be located and installed to prevent infiltration of floodwaters into the systems and discharges from the systems into floodwaters."

I will appreciate any comments. Thanks.

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The washer discharge is probably a remnant from when the home had a septic system and the owners didn't want to tax the leach fields with the large volume of water that a washer produces. I have a separate line for my washer for the same reason.

(mine is slightly more sophisticated)

Lake property typically has poor soil with poor perc results.

If the whole house is on a municipal system now, it shouldn't be too awfully difficult to route the washer to a drain somewhere. Depending on the sewer level it may be necessary to pump the water out of the home.

Most folks (AHJ)would frown on the current situation. I have to admit that it doesn't bother me but I'd write it up just the same.

I'm pretty sure you don't have to know a code to know this is wrong.

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Check with your State's Dept. of Agriculture or Dept. of Natural Resources, if you have one. Laundry detergents and bleach are contaminants and dumping within 100ft. of a fresh water source is sure to be frowned on whereever you are.



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I can not believe that would be legal anywhere. All plumbing fixtures (bathrooms, kitchens, laundry's, utility tubs) must drain to an approved drain which is city sewer or private septic system. If the laundry is draining into an old septic system then you still have two problems. 1, the system is failing, nothing should be coming up to the surface. 2, most cities in my area will not allow you to use this septic system once sewers are available.

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This is very common in my part of VA on very old homes. They where installed so that the kitchen sink just ran to daylight and out onto the ground, hopefully away from the house. As laundry rooms and bathrooms where added, the laundry room and sometimes the bathroom sinks where connected to these lines. Most of the homes that where done this way have been changed over to where they now drain into the septic systems, but not all. The "DROIDS" in this area always claim that they are "grandfathered in". I always tell my clients that it is wrong and should be changed.

Tom Barber in VA[:-dev3]

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