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I have a very small quarter bathroom that I’d like to convert into a half bath by adding a very small corner sink for hand washing. The problem is that the bathroom floor is concrete that would have to be jackhammered out to run a drainpipe from the sink to join into the sewer line.

The bathroom has an exterior wall. It would therefore be much simpler to punch a hole through the wall and run a pipe to the outside and down into a small dry well. (This is a secondary bathroom that isn’t used very much so the dry well wouldn’t have to be that big.)

I live in Oakland, CA. Is doing something as I’ve suggested above (A) a reasonable solution, (B) would it require a permit, and (C) would it even be legal to do to get a permit?


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Hi Paul,

Your idea is a reasonable solution, though you could consider using a mulch basin and planting something adjacent to benefit from the water. If you add a fixture or make any plumbing alterations to your home a permit is required, so this system would require a permit. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’d be able to get a permit because a permitted greywater system needs a way to direct the water back to the legal sewer or septic system, and your system would not have this.

The reason a sewer connection is required is to have somewhere for the water to go if there is over-saturation of the landscape, which could cause greywater to pond up or run off, also in case someone needs to put something down the drain that is not suitable for greywater, like wash out a poopy diaper. It sounds like you could avoid using the sink if the ground outside was saturated, and could use another sink if you needed to wash something unsuitable, so you could meet the health and safety intent of the code, but you still wouldn’t have a code-compliant system.


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