Common Permits Required For Rainwater Harvesting Systems In Commercial Buildings

Common Permits Required For Rainwater Harvesting Systems In Commercial Buildings

Published: May, 2023 | by Wahaso Water Harvesting Solutions

Common Permits Required For Rainwater Harvesting Systems In Commercial Buildings

Rainwater harvesting systems are becoming an increasingly more common method of water management. Installing such systems in commercial buildings requires obtaining various permits to ensure compliance with local regulations and standards. Although permits vary for individual projects, this article will outline the permits commonly required for rainwater harvesting systems in commercial buildings.

1. Zoning and Land Use Permits

These permits typically preclude or correspond with the building permit, to ensure that the rainwater harvesting system complies with the designated land use and zoning regulations of the municipality where the project is located. The requirements vary based on factors including system size, location, and potential impact on neighboring properties. Obtaining zoning and land use permits requires submitting project site and building plans for review by the local Zoning Board.

2. Building Permit

Another primary permit needed for this type of project is the building permit. This is necessary to ensure that the system’s installation adheres to structural and safety guidelines for the building. These permits are obtained from the local building department also require submitting detailed building plans, as well as design schematics and specifications of the rainwater harvesting system to ensure code and regulation compliance.

3. Environmental Permits

Because rainwater harvesting systems could alter the natural environment or disturb land through changing rain and stormwater flow, environmental permits may be necessary to ensure the system installation and operation has little to no negative impact. Environmental permits are the purview of local environmental agencies, and may require assessments, environmental impact studies, and habitat evaluations, etc., to propose mitigating measures for any potential impacts which may be determined.

4. Plumbing Permit

Since rainwater harvesting systems involve the installation of plumbing infrastructure, a plumbing permit is also required. It ensures that the system meets local plumbing codes and regulations, such as proper pipe sizing, pressurization, backflow prevention, and cross-contamination control, and effluent quality. Plumbing permits are obtained from the local plumbing department and may involve inspections at various stages of the system installation to ensure compliance.

5. Electrical Permit

Because rainwater harvesting systems include electrical components (pumps, gauges, alarms, control systems, etc) an electrical permit is crucial to electrical code compliance.

6. Water Use Permit

In states and regions with strict water rights and regulations, obtaining a water rights permit is necessary to legally collect and store rainwater. Water use permits are typically obtained from water management authorities or agencies responsible for regulating high-volume water usage. The application process requires data reflecting project specific rainwater supply volume, as well as category and volume of water reuse, to demonstrated rainwater harvesting will not negatively impact the local water supply.

7. Stormwater Management Permit

Depending on the size and design of the rainwater harvesting system, a stormwater management permit may be required in addition. This permit ensures that the system effectively manages stormwater runoff and does not contribute to flooding or other adverse impacts on the local drainage system. Stormwater management permits are also obtained from local environmental agencies which are responsible for stormwater management, and the application process typically involves demonstrating the rainwater harvesting system’s capacity, drainage calculations, and compliance with local stormwater management guidelines.

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