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Many campers are taking a more environmentally friendly outlook on life, and aim to reduce their footprint when travelling. We should be thinking more consciously about how we collect and dispose of grey water on the road now more than ever as regulations around grey water disposal have changed for many Australian campsites.
What is Grey Water?
Grey water is essentially wastewater that does not originate from a toilet. Most caravans and motor homes will have installed a separate septic tank for sewage or black water. Grey water includes wastewater from washing machines, kitchens sinks, bathroom sinks and showers.
"Just because it goes down the sink doesn't mean its harmless. There are ways you can be a water-wise camper and not be in the grey area!"
Why is it a problem?
Grey water does not stay grey for long, especially in the hot climate of Australia. Bacteria causes the water to turn black within 12-24 hours causing noxious smells and damage to the environment, mainly from chemicals such as soap and cleaning products.
This bacteria can easily get stuck in pipes and hoses which causes that horrible rotten egg smell. Depending on how close you are camping next to your neighbour, this can make what was a pleasant camping experience turn to a very smelly horrible experience if you decide to dump it on the grass.
Storing Grey Water
Most modern caravans and motor homes are already equipped with inbuilt grey water tanks. Alternatively many owners are choosing to retro fit an external portable grey water tank, commonly known as a Tote. These totes can simply be a plastic water storage container all the way up to a specially designed grey water tank with trolley wheels for easy transportation when full.
With a few fittings, ball valve and camlocks you can easily attach your drainage hose from your van outlet into your tote, it is also recommended an air release device or "breather" is installed.
New regulations state that any van needing to discharge grey water in an appropriate manner will have now, or need to have a shut off valve to attach either a drainage hose or a drainage hose connected to a tote. Hence the the starting point for any tote connection will be a shut off valve. The SCV policy states "A tote shall be connected to the vehicle by a drainage pipe with a water tight seal and have a working shut off valve to avoid overflow" Once the shutoff valve has been installed, it is recommended that a camlock attachment is used for attaching drainage hose".
For those of you who are struggling to know where to start, Dural Irrigation has designed a simple, light weight, compact kit with all the fittings you need for your self contained grey water system whilst in use and not.
Click here for more details
Disposing of Grey Water
Some camping areas will provide a disposal system for collected grey water, otherwise you will need to store it until you reach a public dump point. Most camp grounds are signposted stating the regulations around grey water and disposal.