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Old 04-25-2012, 02:25 PM   #1
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Dumping Gray Water...

"The Newbies Guide to Airstreaming' when dealing with this issue, indicates that, under certain circumstances, that is perfectly all right to simply empty the gray water tanks onto the ground...now every other RV book I have, when they even mention this issue, says it is more along the lines of "you idiot, of course you can't just dump the gray water anywhere you feel like..."

Now it does seem to me that any waste from your AS, gray, black or what ever color, has to dealt with carefully and and always keeping in mind possible envirormental damage done by careless actions...

No matter what the book said, you can't just dump gray water anywhere, right?
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:32 PM   #2
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Touchy subject, that.

At the present time in the U.S. in most jurisdictions there are laws or regulations that prohibit or restrict dumping of wastewater into anything other than an approved disposal system. There are exceptions particularly in remote desert areas.

In practice many RVers will at times dump greywater in an unapproved fashion, usually either in small amounts, or on private property, or in other circumstances where in their judgment no health or environmental hazards or public nuisance is created.

I would of course encourage you to follow the law regardless of whether we're talking about grey water or, say, speed limits.
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:32 PM   #3
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The quote you listed doesn't it's OK to just dump it anywhere. It says "under certain circumstances it's alright."

I recently camped at a town's campground with very sandy soil at the tail end of 2 dry years, and their policy allows dumping gray water. Typically dumping gray water is not allowed, but there are exceptions.
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:16 PM   #4
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We have never been in a campground where dumping grey water is sanctioned. Camping/boondocking off the grid may afford you some flexibility, but even then it's wise to be careful where you dump it if you decide to ... especially if you are near a natural water source.

Part of the issue is that once seemingly innocuous grey water has sat in a holding tank for any length of time, bacteria begins to form. That's why grey water has an unpleasant odor of its own. Also grey water — particularly dish water — has small food particles in it that will decay and can also attract unwanted wildlife activity.
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:35 PM   #5
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Grey water tends to disappear during the hours of darkness.

Seriously,it is a judgement call based on where you are and other factors.

In my opinion if you can get rid of small quantities immediately it is not a problem.
If retained for any length of time it is really gross.

We have camped on the same spot for weeks on end and never noticed any ill affects, however our water use is usually less than 5 gallons a day.
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:19 PM   #6
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It's funny how things change.
Back in the 70's during the energy crises. People were encouraged to modify the plumbing in there stick built homes. With that modification a large volume holding tank system was installed to collect all of the grey water from the home. It was then used to irrigate the gardens and lawn.
Think of the money that would saved. Especially when you are on a municipal water system where you pay for every gallon of water that comes in and goes out of your home.
Funny how things change.
I live in an area of this country where there are homes still using open pit cesspools for all of the black and grey water.
So my question. What's a little grey water.
But, I agree that in multiple site campgrounds it would not be appropriate to dump the grey water right next to the guy in the trailer next to you.
I'm not sure that the bacteria in the grey water is harmful to anyone or any thing. I doubt that it is any more harmful that what is used to treat the water in a municipal waste treatment plant. The waste treatment plant dumps their "processed" water into public water ways. Downstream some where there is a "water" treatment plant taking water from that same public water way and turning it into your drinking water.
The sun is one of the best purification systems on planet earth. A lot of bacteria would be killed when the grey water is exposed to the sun. When you combine that with the almost perfect filtration system, that being soil. The end result is pretty good. The soil contains many microbes and other critters that consume that bacteria. Bacteria and organic matter like food particles are the food source for other plants and organism that reside on planet earth.
That part of the Eco system has not changed. We spend a lot of time and effort saving endangered species all around the word. I don't believe a lot of thought is given to the microbial life on this planet of ours. If the appropriate soaps and detergents are used in your trailer. Grey water should not pose a health hazard.
Just because it stinks, doesn't mean it's bad.
Think of it this way. A lot of cheese stinks to high heaven. But people eat it by the ton.
IMHO
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:33 PM   #7
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Imagine 800+ trailers side by side in a big field with the gray water going to the ground underneath the trailer - when the rally finished, the only evidence was that the weeds were a bit greener where the trailers were.

Tent campers often toss a pan of gray water on the bushes after doing the dishes.

Then there's the idiot leaving an improved campground who pulls his waste valves just before he departs leaving an ugly trail behind him, or the dude at the Oregon rally who decided to dump his moho tank in the bullpen (Oregon is very anal about any waste not disposed of in a PC manner).

Check the rules for where you camp and let them be your guide. If they allow gray water disposal, make sure that anything you dump leaves no evidence after an hour or so.

I sometimes take a bucket around to vacant campsites to make sure the fires are thoroughly out ;-) (and it is amazing how many aren't :-( )
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:35 PM   #8
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or the dude at the Oregon rally who decided to dump his moho tank in the bullpen (Oregon is very anal about any waste not disposed of in a PC manner).


)
If my memory serves me right it was Oregon that was the first state that banned dumping gray water. Probably in the early 70's.

Prior to that no one worried about it
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:24 PM   #9
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I agree with Rick, TG and Bryan. Judicious, occasional visit from the Grey Water Fairy won’t hurt anyone.


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Old 04-25-2012, 07:36 PM   #10
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How would you like it if your grandkids stayed on that site the following night?

I believe in leaving my site as least as clean as how I found it. How mucu trouble is it to go ahead and do it right?

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Old 04-26-2012, 06:51 AM   #11
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Well in fairness, the authors of the book did not say dump it just anywhere you please, just now and then, it is not necessarily a bad thing...but I tend to go along with the other RV books I have, including one boondocking book, which more or less state, "NO!" Part of this may be because I spend a lot of time in the Smoky Mountain National Park, (hit some of the streams up there so often, the trout and I are on a first name basis...) and that park is argueably the most crowded park in the country...and the thought of RVers ignoring dump stations and just dumping sends cold chills down my spine...And as Brian (I think) indicated, there is quite enough carelessness as regards to fires going on already, thank you very much...
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:05 AM   #12
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How would you like it if your grandkids stayed on that site the following night?

I believe in leaving my site as least as clean as how I found it. How mucu trouble is it to go ahead and do it right?

Pat
The way we handle it it would not be a problem
most places we camp have no provision for disposing of gray water. My preferred method is to catch it in a bucket and broadcast it into the bushes

In fact the black usually has to be packed to a portapotti in small quantities to dispose of it.

We used to have 4000 trailer internationals with all the water going on the ground with no problems. But then it always rains at the international too..

Would I do it in a private campground or on a paved site? NO, but then we don't camp in those spots.

You do have to be awrare of those that follow you

Grey water is pretty much a "don't ask don't tell" situation
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:19 AM   #13
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Even in a designated wilderness area there are provisions for disposal of "gray water" with soap and food scraps. Of course there is nowhere else to put it, but the powers to be have determined that (in the case of the BWCWA) you take it (as well as any food leftovers or fish remains) well away from camp and no closer than 150 feet from a lake or stream and pour it on the ground.

They used to tell you to dig a small hole and put these items in and cover, but current wisdom is that causes more damage to the ecosystem than just leaving it for the animals. Soapy water is also disposed of in this way.

That is different than "lettin' er rip" and dumping 30 gallons at one time, but a small stream to let out 5 gallons or so, just to make it till you can dump is not harmful.

And, no, it wouldn't bother me a bit if my grandchildren stayed at that site the next night....if done properly.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:31 AM   #14
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Ya know, emptying your grey water tanks onto the ground is prohibited in every campground we have seen in 10 years of RV'ing. There are good reasons for that---quantity, odor, etc.

Some campgrounds have dishwashing stations, and require that this task for tenters occur in those areas, only. However, those that use walk-in/hike-in spots don't have that luxury. These people also use the surrounding woods as their toilets.

I plead guilty when boondocking to dumping dishwater outside, on occasion and away from campsites, other than in bear country. Any small particles of food are biodegradable, correct? This is not garbage, and not equivalent to letting loose gallons of grey water onto the ground, in my opinion.

Yes, there is a bit of Dawn in this water, too, but wild animals from oil spills are cleansed with Dawn. How harmful to the environment can it be? Outside of high-volume campgrounds, this seems reasonably to be dictated more by common sense and courtesy.

Yes???


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