As we enter a more environmentally conscious time there are many things we can be doing to reducing our footprint when camping.
One of those things is in the collection and disposal of Grey Water. Grey water is defined as the wastewater from washing machines, kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks and showers.
This is different from black water which is the water used to flush your waste away in toilets.
As grey water is full of all types of chemicals from soap to oils etc it is not recommended to dispose of your grey water into the environment as it can have negative impacts, specifically if dumped close to a water source.
If your camper trailer is not fitted with a grey water tank you can still collect your grey water using buckets and water storage containers.
As the country begins to make changes to their grey water guidelines and some camping is only open to fully self-suffient or self-contained campers it is important to consider how you and your family currently deal with your grey water.
Another consideration you can make is checking that your soaps and detergents are environmentally friendly.
An issue, particularly in Australia is that Grey Water does not stay grey water for longer than 24 hours as our hot climate breeds bacteria in the water turning it black. Another key thing to think of is whether you will need to treat your grey water to avoid odours and bacteria growing before you can empty it. As such it is important to think about disposing of your grey water ahead of times.
Some camp areas have a disposal system for grey water, but if they don’t you will need to store it until your reach a public dumping point.
As there is not one rule in all locations it is important you read all the rules and guidelines for the area you are camping in, this will either be on their website or on signs in the area. If in doubt, ask the person/people in charge of the area.
While most newer Bluewater Camper Trailer come with the option of a grey water tank and system there are way for older campers without these systems to implement the above.
If your camper trailer does not have a holding tank or hose, you can collect your dish washing and shower water in buckets and use it to water nearby plants – it is important to dispose of any excess food or soap before washing to avoid damage to the fauna and flora.
It is important to think about where you will be disposing of your grey water as you don’t want it to be close to your or any other camp sites to avoid smells. This point is also important if you have a hose connection as you will need your hose to be long enough to reach far enough away from your campsite and the camp sites of others. (It is recommended to use a sock or cloth at the end of the hose to capture any food particles.)
You also need to be conscious of the fact that you may not always be allowed to dispose of your grey water where you are camping, so being prepared for that by taking suitable water containers to hold your grey water is important. Then you can transport it to the closest dump point.
So next time you are planning to head away in your camper trailer make sure you check the grey water rules where you are staying and also be conscious of how your camper trailer is set up to deal with all the grey water you will produce.