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Old 08-22-2015, 01:47 PM   #1
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Campgrounds with bathrooms, campsites without water, and gray water management?

I have some general questions about what is acceptable protocol, good idea, bad idea, that's not how it's done, and wow bad idea.

What if one is camping in a campground with other campers.

Campground has bathrooms with sinks and toilets. (running water, not pits, all draining to standard drains).

Individual camp sites do not have fresh water hookups, or obviously sewer.

Can you, for example, have water in holding tank, do dinner prep and clean up, wash dishes, and then open the gray drain into a 5 gallon bucket and then walk this up to the bathrooms and pour down the drains?

Is this a problem? Would this even work? Is this just "not done".

What about taking a navy shower in the camper, and then draining out the gray water and walking it up in a 5 gallon bucket to the bathrooms to pour out down the drains?

I have washed into a dish pan and then walked that up to the bathrooms and poured down the drain. Obviously this is just as any tent camper would do.

Is in any different and/or are there problems associated with having water process through the gray tank and doing this?

I Don't want to be "that person", so please discuss pros/cons/better ideas.

Nor do I want to get fire-hosed by nasty gray water if that would happen.

Thanks for your helpful comments.
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Old 08-22-2015, 02:59 PM   #2
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Thank you for having the good sense to ASK. A lot of new people just fake it, or worse. First the situation you mentioned. I presume you don't have power hookups either. Many primitive campgrounds restrict or forbid use of a generator, and your batteries can go flat long before you run out of water if you don't keep lights off, cook outside or with propane, etc.

Everything varies by campground. First, ask at the ranger station or camp office. If you've got shower houses it's probably OK to dump gray water there, but most campgrounds have "dump stations" where you take your RV to drain black and/or gray tanks when leaving - or sooner if needed. Lots of people DO like to get rid of gray water more often and don't want to have to break camp completely, then set up again.
Instead of using an open bucket, they use what has traditionally been called a "blue boy" (but they aren't all blue anymore). It's a wheeled tank that you drain water/waste into, wheel to a drain at the dump station, and dump there. I've seen them from 10 gallons to 50. You can pull them by hand, or tow them SLOWLY to the dump.

The problem with an open bucket is simple - spillage. When you open an RV drain if you've got ten gallons in the tank, you're probably not going to get the tank closed fast enough and you'll overflow the bucket. While you're walking the slightest miscalculation and EECH! Feel sorry for the next person who walks through what you spill. Even gray water gets stinky fast. The tank contains everything that remains on every plate and pan you use, soap, skin cells and EECH!

In a few areas - arid or outright desert (for example: Burning Man) - there is little or no water and the area needs to be preserved as is. You carry in what you need in your white tank and in bottles, use it and keep it in your gray and black tank, and carry it all out with you. In these cases you dump some of your dish water and a lot of your shower water down the toilet so that neither tank overflows. I just plug the drain in the shower and bail the water down the toilet with an cut open milk jug.

A personal story - my sister and I were at a camp with water and electric - and I accidently let the gray tank get too full. Not having a blue boy I decided to make a quick run to the dump station - and left my water hose, 30 amp cord and a folding step stool, and chocks at the site. Sister came with me and 12 minutes later we came back and everything had been stolen. So if you DO take the trailer to the dump station either pack everything or leave someone!

Paula
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Old 08-22-2015, 03:10 PM   #3
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Many campgrounds have signs asking the happy campers to not do this. Some will have community dumps every few sites dedicated to gray water. Roosevelt State Park in Georgia is one that comes to mind. I just got through spending a week at Fort Pickens a National Park in Fl. They do not have site sewer dumps. They do have a single dump site. Spotted many people making daily trips to dump their blue boys. Saw one individual dragging his tank behind a very large pick up lose it on a curve. Glad it was only gray water, made quite the mess. A host also saw the incident and he had a heated discussion with the driver. The Rangers ended up coming out with a water tank and sprayed the area down cleaning the road and surrounding area. Could of been much worse than it was.
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Old 08-22-2015, 04:08 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info.

I do tend to wipe down/scrape observable food, coffee grounds, pan drippings, etc into trash can and not into the drain. So guess I can just continue to walk up my dishpan to the drain in the bathroom or gray dump.

Paula, do you bail the shower into the toilet because gray fills before black and this extends the overall system capacity?

Of those who have used blue boys for gray. (I wouldn't plan to use for black). Do you prefer the 10 gallon size or some other. Ideally I don't want one that is large, heavy, or pricey. But want it functional. Would be ok with a daily drain run.
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Old 08-22-2015, 04:38 PM   #5
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I use the blue boy for anything that needs dumped. Black or gray, neither is any good. Water is heavy so I have a larger blueboy that I only fill part way up and drag it to the dump station.
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Old 08-22-2015, 04:52 PM   #6
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If they have a "dish washing sink", I take my dish water - either in a dish pan or small bucket - there and dump it. By doing that, we haven't yet needed to take the shower water. But we have a 5 gallon water jug that we've designated for grey water dumping. It has a screw on top so it wouldn't spill on the way to the sink. Just haven't used it yet.
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Old 08-22-2015, 06:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piggy Bank View Post
Of those who have used blue boys for gray. (I wouldn't plan to use for black). Do you prefer the 10 gallon size or some other. Ideally I don't want one that is large, heavy, or pricey. But want it functional. Would be ok with a daily drain run.
I have a 25 year old Vintage 6 gallon Blue Boy toter to lug down to dump station by hand.
I usually use a 12 gallon Thetford tote with wheels and a bar to pull behind the truck down to the dump.

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Old 08-23-2015, 11:39 AM   #8
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Gray water

The gray tank seems to fill fast. The black less. So yes, that is the reason some folks pour/bail shower water and dishwasher down the toilet.
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Old 08-23-2015, 03:04 PM   #9
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And in many National Forest campgrounds signs direct you to find the nearest deserving bush or tree , and give them a nice drink from your gray water tank. These are all out in the west .
Even saw some in California last spring .
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Old 08-23-2015, 06:21 PM   #10
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"Fresh" grey water is far less noxious than grey water that has been sitting in your holding tank for a day or two, and can be quite smelly even though it's not sewage. When dry camping, to save space in the grey tank, we do our dishes in a dish pan .... then, depending on the situation, water a bush with it or put it down the toilet. Grey water that's been held for a while should go to the dump station.
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Old 08-23-2015, 07:16 PM   #11
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I have two five gallon kitty litter buckets (get them at a shelter for free) which is used for just this thing. They have wide snap lids which minimizes spillage.

However, we limit the water that goes down the drain by using stainless bowls for each of our sinks. The bowls are emptied directly into the buckets, so we never dump from the holding tank into the bucket. Minimizes large scale accidents plus I find it hard to fill a 5 gallon bucket from the holding tank, just not enough clearance. I walk the bucket over to the closest toilet for emptying.

We do not shower in the trailer if the campground has shower, as that is most likely the biggest contributor to filling the gray tank. Managed a two week stay at a campsite last year using this method.


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Old 08-23-2015, 07:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piggy Bank View Post
Thanks for the info.

I do tend to wipe down/scrape observable food, coffee grounds, pan drippings, etc into trash can and not into the drain. So guess I can just continue to walk up my dishpan to the drain in the bathroom or gray dump.

Paula, do you bail the shower into the toilet because gray fills before black and this extends the overall system capacity?
Yes, exactly. Watch it carefully though - especially if 5 or 6 people are using both facilites... Last thing you want is half a bowl of stuff that won't flush!

Quote:
Of those who have used blue boys for gray. (I wouldn't plan to use for black). Do you prefer the 10 gallon size or some other. Ideally I don't want one that is large, heavy, or pricey. But want it functional. Would be ok with a daily drain run.
The way you describe your wish to use it, I'd get a 10 gallon. A gallon weighs 8 pounds (a pint's a pound the world around)... I wouldn't want to try to muscle a big one around, but you can hand pull a 10 gallon one easily on reasonably level ground. Just imagined needing a set of chocks for a 50 gallon blue boy.
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Old 08-23-2015, 08:15 PM   #13
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Too funny on the chocks. . Don't want that getting away from you!

We are planning a trip for next summer where we will be in a national park setting with no hookups. Dump station available. No showers in the camp ground. Toilets and water in the campground. 2 people. 4 day stay. Our 22 has a 20 gallon fresh holding tank and 23 gray and 20 black. I'll have a Gerry can to top off the fresh water.

I can easily manage the dishes by walking to the bathroom to pour out the dishwasher. Would like to shower and am not eager to drive to the dump station after day 2 if a offload of the gray water could be easily done instead.

Just want the most basic, cost effective, easily cleaned, way to manage the gray water.
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Old 08-23-2015, 08:25 PM   #14
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Oh and as this will be a bear area I'm sure that dumping dishwater on the ground is a no no and Bad Idea!
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