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Old 07-24-2007, 08:08 PM   #1
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Check Dumping Laws

One of the various job titles I have "Regional Septage Coordinator" with the State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (You can imagine the unofficial titles that various individuals have come up with ).

Today I was with a County Zoning Administrator to check out a complaint at a campground. The grounds were very well kept. The complaint was semi valid and involved someone pulling the black water tank---without a hose. They will never do that again. Though I missed the actual show by a couple of days, I heard it was quite educational .

As a service this campground will pump the tanks for the campers and dump it in a legal septic system. Even the campground manager did not know that dumping grey water is illegal in this state. Some states allow it. Any food or body contact water (hows that for polite!) must be put into a treatment system in this state.

If you dump your grey water (where legal) please put some quick lime slurry into it. Even grey water has some degree of health hazard to it. Make sure it is legal to dump it and what the procedure is. Any state plumbing regulator can probalby tell you the law in that particular state.

While looking at the pump tank a camper pulled the grey water valve right in front of us. The camper only got a warning as did the campground. It could have been a several hundred dollar citation. It did make quite a mess.

We don't want to hassel anyone but there are public health laws written for good reasons. In the areas where you can dump grey water please dig a hole so it doesn't run all over and make the mess that this camper made, and as I recomend add a little quick lime slurry. Use quick lime: also known as hydrated lime, not barn lime or ag (garden) lime. A small bag of dry lime can make a lot of caustic slurry. If you are in the boonies, a pit and some lime will keep the area much cleaner and leave the area in good shape for the next user.

Thanks for your time and thanks in advance for being a good neighbor
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:15 PM   #2
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Right in front of you... when you were checking out a complaint? What a moron!
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:36 PM   #3
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Thanx for the info.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:11 PM   #4
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Thanks for the heads up. I checked Colorado and no can do gray water on the surface here without treatment. Also thanks for the info on hydrated lime.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:18 PM   #5
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That's what I love about this site - you always learn something! Thanks for the tip and info.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:19 PM   #6
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The question of outdoor showers has come up a few times on the forum. Since the exterior shower water would be "body contact" water, does that make it grey? If so wouldn't someone who is taking an outside shower be, in effect, dumping grey water on the ground?
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:52 PM   #7
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There is quite a lot of fluctuation in state laws on this. In AZ and NM, for example, it is legal to let gray water onto the ground, subject to several provisions:

1. It may be outlawed by local provision.
2. It may not be used for commercial enterprises (e.g., to water lawns at a company).
3. It may not be sprayed.
4. It may not come from kitchen sinks. (Showers and bathroom sinks are ok.)


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Old 07-25-2007, 11:30 AM   #8
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I think the rule on gray water should be this: Would you want your grandchildren to camp on the same spot as you drained your "clean" gray water? Consider the poor souls who occupy the site after you leave, who have no idea what you've done.

The camper's dictum, "Take only pictures and leave only footprints" is a rule that is easy to remember and understand.

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Old 07-25-2007, 11:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
The question of outdoor showers has come up a few times on the forum. Since the exterior shower water would be "body contact" water, does that make it grey? If so wouldn't someone who is taking an outside shower be, in effect, dumping grey water on the ground?
yeah, and it shouldn't be any different. If I take a shower in my vintage (no grey tank) trailer, it just goes down a pvc drain that is open to the ground...why would passing this water through a abs plastic tube make it any more/less/different than an outside shower?

I wonder if any campgrounds police the tent campers who wash their dishes in a bucket, and just dump it onto the ground when they're done?


So, where do you go to look up the local "wash-water" regulations, anyway?
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Old 07-25-2007, 11:51 AM   #10
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Common sense

Dumping of grey water is a hard one to legislate. The problem is simple. In a camp ground, if you dump your gray water on the ground and others do the same, you exceed the grounds natural ability to perk the volume into the ground and soon, you or the campers that follow you find a slimmy mucky mess that grows really bad stuff - shame on you! However, if you are boondocking out in the sticks and you dump grey water - so what - might makes a flower grow.

If I were to dump grey water it would be in a mannor that does not cause a problem to others. I'd like to think you would do the same. I also pick up after my dog following similar guidelines.
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Old 07-25-2007, 11:56 AM   #11
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Outdoor showers

Hmm, swimming in the lake induces water/body contact. Where does it all end?
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:49 PM   #12
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What happens to all of the pool (cement bathtub) water? Some even contains Vitamin "P".
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Old 07-25-2007, 01:53 PM   #13
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well, pool water is contained, so it doesn't affect anything else...then chlorine, sunlight, and filtering clear out the yuckies.

So, we'll either have to start chlorinating/filtering the lakes, or no more swimming.
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Old 07-25-2007, 02:07 PM   #14
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It seems to be a crappy place to get my fourth Rivit!
Post #500!
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Old 07-25-2007, 03:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eubank
There is quite a lot of fluctuation in state laws on this. In AZ and NM, for example, it is legal to let gray water onto the ground, subject to several provisions:

1. It may be outlawed by local provision.
2. It may not be used for commercial enterprises (e.g., to water lawns at a company).
3. It may not be sprayed.
4. It may not come from kitchen sinks. (Showers and bathroom sinks are ok.)


Lynn
Thanks, Lynn, for posting this. I always wondered what the law was here in AZ. Where did you find this information?
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:02 PM   #16
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When NM was working on its law a couple of years ago, several articles appeared about it. They based their law entirely on the research that stood behind the AZ law -- and wound up with almost the identical law.

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Old 07-25-2007, 06:54 PM   #17
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Showers

A lot of good comments. The one about the outdoor shower was the one that will affect a lot of us. I am using some judgement based on Wisconsin Administrative Codes and what we would simply refer to as professional judgement about the intent of the Admin Codes.

If I were cornered to make a decision about the outdoor shower I would say if it is a common rinse down such as what may be done with a garden hose after swimming then I would ignore the problem so long as no harm or inconvienience were being done. If it is a cleaning shower (soap and a real shower) then it is grey water and other circumstances would need to be evaluated. Where is the camp--in the boonies or in a campground, is there a surface water that it is running into, a lot of things. Knocking the dust off--well no point in getting too nit picky. Cleaning Fido, even with a bit of soap--once again-professional judgement.

Some of the other commnets--I pick up after my dogs as well.

To find out what the law is in your state try one of these sources.

1 Local Zoning Administrator--county level. Many state have plumbing & sanitation enforced via zoning administrators.

2 A bureau within a department (in Wisconsin the Dept of Commerce, bureau of building & safety (sub--Plumbing)

3 State EPA/DNR of State Board of Health.

If you do get a citation, argue it in court not with a regulator. It can get out of hand real quick. The case I observed the other day, either the ZA (Zoning Administrator) or me could have issued citations under more than one code. It is not double jeopardy. One citations (ZA) would be a plubming code violation..not sure I think about 3 bills + court costs = about 4.5 c notes. The DNR version would have been for discharging septage without a business license 5 bills, + failure to have an operators cert about 3 bills, dishcargin in an unauthorized area I believe is another 5 bills, failure to maintain septage logs another 3 failure to practice vector controls another 3 bills....can you see where it can go. Those are all separate items. I doubt a judge will max you on all of them, but if there are that many written he or she will sort of wonder what else is going on. Warnings are much better and don't ruin vacations. Notice I did not say anything about creating a health hazard, the ZA could also do that, but then we would need a deputy or a warden to take them into custody for booking.

I probaly speak for every state when I say we want you to enjoy your vacation. Just follow that advice about leaving a few footprints and not much else. Then the next person can enjoy hwat you had and you may someday meet that person and be able to reminice over beers! (Maybe the will even buy the next round)

One last thought...contact the state department of Tourism, they can be a treasure trove of information and what they don't know a good state agent will find out, that includes waste laws as well as places to go.

Now I have to consider if I want to go back and look at the 65 or 66 single axle AS the guy wanted to get rid of!
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Old 07-25-2007, 06:59 PM   #18
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Pools

Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV
What happens to all of the pool (cement bathtub) water? Some even contains Vitamin "P".
Pool water (in my state) may be discharged to the ground (we still recomend dechlorination), it is subject to a state permit (which most pools do not have). Surface water discharge is a bit more rigorous. The Phosphorus content is not significant. The content of vitamins is not something I have come across in professional literature. Some estrogens have been found in treated sewage discharges. There is a lot of ongoing work and discussions in the EPA and some state agencies about it. Most pools use a ground discharge.
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Old 07-25-2007, 07:25 PM   #19
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Given the disposal of gray water would in most states require dumping into a treatment system, tank, or sewer, is there any advantage with a separate gray water tank or just a single tank system suffice? Obviously, larger quantity of waist water...but if dumping would need to be in a system...am I over analyzing
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Old 07-25-2007, 08:10 PM   #20
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This is why I need to get my Thermasan system up and running again.

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