Got a yard with plants in it? You might be wondering if you can redirect some of the water from your say, showers or washing machines to those thirsty trees and flowers. We’ve got just the answer in a helpful primer about graywater, a topic that’s hardly as icky as it sounds.

Graywater is water that’s already been used and can be captured and recycled. (All water is recycled in some way, of course, but we don’t need to go there.) Our story examines how local residents can use graywater from the washing machine and shower/bathtub to keep plants green.

Setting up a graywater system can be cheap and fairly easy do-it-yourself project, as we explain. “Any chucklehead can do this, swear to God,” claims an Imperial Beach man who’s done it. (Speaking as a guy who had to Google how to use a socket wrench the other day, let’s just say he’s quite a bit optimistic about the powers of we chuckleheads.)

The red tape may drown you, however. Check this out: “For a simple or complex graywater system, you’ve got to get the all-clear from the city. Make an appointment at the Department of Development Services to submit a general application, along with two sets of: the plot plan (showing your property’s boundaries, nearby structures, the slope where drainage might flow down, etc.); graywater system plan (showing the anticipated size and location of your tank, water lines and waste pipes, valves, etc.); expected graywater discharge (as calculated using the California Plumbing Code); manufacturer specifications of those pieces; determined soil absorption rates and groundwater levels (the plumbing code dictates how to find the absorption rate, and a ‘registered design professional’ needs to figure out and report your groundwater level for you).”

Thank goodness they’re not trying to make it difficult to save water or anything!

• The city has passed new rules that cut down on the days that you can irrigate your lawn (it’s now two instead of three) and how long you can let the sprinklers run (five minutes instead of seven).

Latest in Stadium Saga

The L.A. Times is out with a handy FAQ about “L.A.’s NFL stadium riddle,” one whose answer could include the relocation of the Chargers to La-La Land. Money quote: “It would be a major headache if all three teams apply for relocation, even though we appear to be headed that direction now. There aren’t going to be three teams moving to L.A., so if three teams were to apply, at least one of them would be sent back to a market it tried to leave. That’s not good.”

Vaccinate-or-Else Bill’s a Biggie

The U-T says California has the potential once again to pass a law that has national ramifications. This time, it’s a bill that “would do away with ‘personal belief’ and religious exemptions from vaccination. The legislation would prevent children from attending public schools if they have not received the full schedule of 10 vaccinations, from diphtheria to varicella.”

• In an extensive and startling story, the blog Jezebel reports that anti-vaxxers are actively seeking “to interfere with and smear the families, jobs, and children of the people who fall on the other side of the line.”

• Specially trained pharmacists in California are about to get the right to prescribe birth control pills and some other mediations without involving a doctor. (HealthLine)

Quick News Hits: Moody Blues

• A new Supreme Court decision is good news for California’s system of allowing an independent commission to draw the lines of congressional districts instead of letting politicians do it. (L.A. Times)

• An Australian paper has an update on a mystery woman who appeared in Carlsbad earlier this year with an apparent case of amnesia. She appears to possibly be Australian: “She remembers eating breakfast at Perth’s Cottesloe beach, dining out in Byron Bay and has dreams of Sydney’s Bondi.”

Someone has created a Facebook page about the woman. It says she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after being found.

• Feeling blue? Maybe it’s the fast food. A new San Diego State study says “there may be a link between junk food, and in particular trans fats, and an inability to regulate our moods properly, particularly for people who consume high amounts of the foods.” (

You mean I might be less moody if I eat a salad for lunch? Great! I’d like mine with house dressing, croutons and a double cheeseburger on the side.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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