After college and years in government then corporate work, Stephen Bilson founded ReWater Systems in Palo Alto in 1990. After working two years as a participant on the California Graywater Ad-Hoc Committee, Mr. Bilson sponsored Assembly Bill #3518, which passed unanimously and resulted in the first-of-its-kind state greywater irrigation law, Water Code Section 14875 et seg.
In 1992, Steve Bilson received US Patent #5,217,323 on the greywater irrigation system that is now known as the ReWater System, still the only commercially available greywater irrigation system in the US. In 1992-1994, he worked with virtually every local, regional, and state building safety and health protection agency in California to help write the first state greywater irrigation code for single-family systems, Appendix G of the California Plumbing Code (CPC).
In 1995, he sponsored Assembly Bill #313 to allow multi-family, commercial, and institutional systems under that code, and worked another two years with the state’s stakeholders to revise that code.
In 2008-2009, per Senate Bill #1258, Steve Bilson helped substantially revise the state code to make it more user-friendly as Chapter 16A of the CPC, spending hundreds more hours with the various stakeholders around the state and with agency personnel.
In 2013, he actively participated in the Triennial Code adoption process where several more code improvements were made. That code became Chapter 16 of the CPC, and is now Chapter 15. Steve Bilson has also been involved in other states’ efforts to legalize greywater irrigation.
From 1990 until now, Steve Bilson has worked only on greywater irrigation related projects, ranging from simple residential systems saving a few hundred dollars in water per year to sophisticated commercial systems saving thousands of dollars in metered water and thousands of dollars in wastewater costs annually. For years, he was the Responsible Managing Employee for ReWater’s landscape contractor’s license #798547 and provided hands-on supervision of numerous residential and commercial landscaping projects.
Stephen Bilson is responsible for more permitted greywater irrigation systems in California than everyone else combined. He’s helped clients as philosophically diverse as the Natural Resources Defense Council to the US Marine Corps with landscapes as horticulturally diverse as desert to almost tropical. Lately, his time has been dedicated to consulting with architects, engineers, builders, plumbers, and landscaping professionals working on greywater-irrigated, sometimes backed up with harvested rain, projects across the arid West. Many of these single-family and multi-family projects received Platinum and Gold certificates.
Stephen Bilson has also trained numerous protégés up and down the state who now install and/or supervise the installation of ReWater® projects themselves.