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Old 04-26-2012, 07:37 AM   #15
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Maggie,
I would suggest that "detergent" is not as READILY biodegradeable as soap. (dish washing products, like Dawn, are typically detergent. That's why it is used on animals after an oil spill)) There biodegradeable dish soaps available at backpacking outlets. HOWEVER, these are no more nor less biodegradeable than any other SOAP, and cost more.

Do some research and look for SOAPS to use when boondocking, or for those times when releasing is NECESSARY.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:42 AM   #16
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Perhaps to some, graywater is a "Don't ask, don't tell" situation, but that's not true from a legal standpoint. I did research into the subject for work (it wasn't RV graywater in that instance, it was some of our field sites that are too remote for municipal wastewater systems, but same regulations apply to ANY discharge of graywater).

At the Federal level (EPA), and in most States, dumping of graywater is prohibited in any area where the water can either (1) find its way by runoff into a natural or manmade watercourse, or (2) contaminate a drinking water supply. The actual wording of the regulations is more complex, but that's the bare minimum requirement. And it's common sense; you can't dump graywater where it creates a problem for people or wildlife. Soapy water may make a decent fertilizer, but it's still poisonous to drink for animals and people.

And, in addition to Federal and State laws and regulations, landowners can also regulate where graywater can be dumped on their property, so if a campground has posted regulations prohibiting it, it's prohibited regardless of whether the State allows it.

If dumping of graywater is allowed where you're camping, the best place to dump is on gravel; this allows the graywater to percolate into the soil without running off anywhere.

By the way, don't forget that when you wash your rig, the wash water is also graywater. That's one reason why many campgrounds prohibit washing your rig on-site.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:49 AM   #17
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I think we all understand the legalities.....but I could tell you my brother's position on the matter, as well as his colleagues. He just retired after 35 years with USFS as well as other federal agencies with timber and wildlife responsibilities. He was in USFS law enforcement for a number of years, as well.

I won't bore you with the details, but what I stated above is accepted wisdom. He practices waste water disposal, when he has to, in an eco-friendly way.

Basically, if you're a pig, you get a ticket, or worse. If you are prudent, they look the other way....most of the time.

Not to say, there aren't a wide range of officers "dedication", so beware.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:56 AM   #18
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My advice would be to follow local regulations. If there are none, then use your discretion but if you're in any doubt, don't dump it until you can find a properly sanctioned place to do it. I haven't camped anywhere that hasn't had specific regulations regarding grey water and I don't think that I, or anyone else, is in any position to question those rules. You hear sometimes of truck stop owners complaining that RVers dump grey water straight onto the parking lot, on the assumption that it will run off to the ground water drain. It may do, but dirty water has to run across a public area first and the little bits of food debris and soap scum that always remain get left in a sticky patch where the RV was. I dumped a small amount on my driveway once and was appalled at what came out; never again.

That sounds a bit sanctimonious but a few anti-social people who think they know better give all RVers a bad name.
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:03 AM   #19
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My advice would be to follow local regulations. If there are none, then use your discretion but if you're in any doubt, don't dump it until you can find a properly sanctioned place to do it. I haven't camped anywhere that hasn't had specific regulations regarding grey water and I don't think that I, or anyone else, is in any position to question those rules. You hear sometimes of truck stop owners complaining that RVers dump grey water straight onto the parking lot, on the assumption that it will run off to the ground water drain. It may do, but dirty water has to run across a public area first and the little bits of food debris and soap scum that always remain get left in a sticky patch where the RV was. I dumped a small amount on my driveway once and was appalled at what came out; never again.

That sounds a bit sanctimonious but a few anti-social people who think they know better give all RVers a bad name.
That parking lot example would be the "PIG" I alluded to above. That's NOT even in the same galaxy as the practices I am talking about.
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:11 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
That parking lot example would be the "PIG" I alluded to above. That's NOT even in the same galaxy as the practices I am talking about.
I'm shuddering just imagining what some folk get up to
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:39 AM   #21
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It is really hard for me to get excited about 5 gallons of dispersed water spread over 24 hours.

I might change my attitude when I see the 100 or so cattle across the street wearing diapers.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:45 AM   #22
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Cows wearing diapers. Now that's a site I don't want to see. Can you imagine a landfill full of cow size diapers?
Besides; all cows eats is grass, grain and water. How bad can it be?
Don't we fertilize the lawn that the grand kids play on with the "by product" of cattle?
Don't we fertilize the garden with the same stuff? Then eat the food.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:34 AM   #23
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I find that when boondocking in the desert SW, it takes more careful planning and research to locate dump stations than it does camping areas. Even so, occasionally it means I can find water to refill but no place to dump for long stretches. In those rare cases, I try to release gray water away from the camping areas or trickle release as I drive. But then we use a wash tub for dishes at those times and dump that dishwater into the black tank so no food goes into the gray.

But even in the desert where you would think any water would be a blessing, things don't break down that fast. Many areas do not allow you to tent camp without a portable toilet. Digging cat holes to bury human waste and TP doesn't work because it lasts forever. If the ancient puebloans can build with rock and mud and the structures have lasted 800-2,000 years against the elements, you can only imagine how long your s**t will last!
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:42 AM   #24
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I will go on record as believing that dumping grey water is not harmful. I also believe that this is another great example of things not always being black or white but subtle shades of gray. Always use common sense and respect your fellow campers and you will be fine.

I camped for 17 years in a PU and we had a 5 gallon bucket outside to catch the grey water from the sink. I was never asked where I was putting that even though it was empty each morning.

We live in the rather arid part of Eastern Washington where water can be a scarce commodity especially during the summer months. Watering the shrubs or a particularly dry section of grass never bothered me. Now that I have the capacity to collect 37 gallons of grey water at once I refrain from dumping all of it at once. That would not be an example of common sense nor would it be very respectful.

I have also camped in some very crowded campgrounds with little or no places to discretely take care of grey water. In those situations common sense tells me to manage it more carefully and dump as expected.

Again, use common sense and respect and you will know when you can dump and when you can't. Pretty simple.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:07 AM   #25
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What about when you are just flushing tanks?

In spring after applying bleach to sanitize tanks? (say a 10 oz solution in 40 gallons of water)? Anyone have an opinion if those situations would be harmful if drained in small batches? Haven't done it yet, but tempted...
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:21 AM   #26
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Shouldn't be a problem . That is not much bleach and exposure to sunlight kills the bleach as anyone maintaining a swimming pool knows.. in fact the reason bleach is stored in white bottles to avoid the light affecting it.

When in Alaska we had to get water from a creek on several occasions.
Since we did not have a charcoal filter in that trailer we set the heavily chlorinated water in dishpans on a picnic table. After a couple hours in the sun the taste and chlorine odor was totally gone
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:27 AM   #27
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Quote:
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In spring after applying bleach to sanitize tanks? (say a 10 oz solution in 40 gallons of water)? Anyone have an opinion if those situations would be harmful if drained in small batches? Haven't done it yet, but tempted...
I would say unequivocally no to dumping water with bleach in it.


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Old 04-26-2012, 11:42 AM   #28
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Yes, Maggie you are right.

There is some sanctimony here but some common sense too: by you, Rick, TG, Bryan, Aftermath among others.

As Old Frank Wiltsie, referred to often on my main thread, used to say: “Common Sense ain’t too common anymore.”

A judicious, thoughtful, occasional commune with the Grey Water Fairy isn’t going to harm anyone.




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