I'm planning an outdoor BBQ island with a simple sink with cold water for handwashing. My city defers most code to California's code but in both cases I'm having trouble finding the relevant section. One reference says "drains must be tied to the house's drainage system and must be covered [roof] to avoid rainwater using the house's drainage" (words to that effect). It seems excessive for a BBQ island though, especially as I didn't plan a roof (which does require a permit, an added hassle both for the permit and the roof itself).

The simplest solution is a buried bucket with holes in the bottom and filled with small stones, or a French drain, but those doesn't seem to be allowed... or are they? Or maybe an outdoor sink with a cover?

The problem is, the BBQ island is lower than the ground floor in the house, and a drain line would have to dive under existing concrete pads (even lower). The septic tank is on the opposite side of the house. The road outside does not have drains either - runoff just flows onto our property and our neighbors'.

Any ideas where I can find this in CA code - or an exemption to it? From there I might be able to locate it in my city's code. The city were not responsive to an unrelated previous question. Thanks.

  • What is the name of the city? Jun 11, 2021 at 22:47
  • @DavidSupportsMonica Wildomar
    – GeoffM
    Jun 11, 2021 at 23:04
  • Do you need a permit to water your lawn/garden? I consider it is the same as an outdoor faucet, the water is safe for human consumption, and the small quantity of water that gets to the ground is not likely able to get to the public waterways and cause contamination. So what is the reason for concern? Note the building plumbing code prescripts indoor installations only.
    – r13
    Jun 11, 2021 at 23:10
  • No permit required to water the garden. I can't remember where (I've read a lot!) but there was specific mention of regs applying to fixed outdoor kitchens which was defined as anything capable of heating food, including a BBQ (ie installed, not a portable/wheeled one). Perhaps I'm being overcautious...
    – GeoffM
    Jun 12, 2021 at 1:54
  • I think you will find relevant information in California's greywater code, where you will find that disposal of such water into a "mini-leach field" (e.g. your "buried bucket with holes in the bottom and filled with small stones") or appropriately sized mulch basin are acceptable solutions. Jun 12, 2021 at 15:04


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