Mandatory Grey Water Tanks?

Submitted: Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 11:43
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Hi guys, I have just heard that it is now compulsory to have a grey water tank on your caravan and if you don't you get fines in free camps. Apparently you have to be FULLY self contained. Has anyone heard about this? If this is the case, how do people tenting go? Do they have to have a container for grey water that they have to take with them?
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Reply By: TomH - Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 12:35

Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 12:35
Nothing mentioned on the Caravan forums about them so probably rates about the same as the Rated Shackles theory.
It is quite possible that some camping areas have rules such as that but it is not compulsory to have them EVERYWHERE

.It just means if you havent got one you cant camp there.
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Follow Up By: tonysmc - Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 17:22

Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 17:22
Rated shackles is not a theory in the NT, so I imagine it would apply in at least some other states.
Why wouldn’t someone pay the extra $2 to have them?

http://www.transport.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/19646/vib13i-Light-Trailer-Safety-Chain-Shackles-Jan-2013.pdf
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Sep 07, 2015 at 09:28

Monday, Sep 07, 2015 at 09:28
Rated shackes is most certainly not a theory ....Rated shackles may not be specificaly required in the legeslation ....BUT... if you are not using a rated shackle ..... how else do you prove the shackle is of an appropriate rating and fit for purpose.
....... the answer is that you can not.

It is a specific requirement in the legeslation that the shackle should be of adequate strength and fit for purpose........

cheers
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Reply By: pmk03 - Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 13:23

Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 13:23
Bit of a discussion about this already on thread; 98211
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 13:26

Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 13:26
Where did you hear it?
What other people think of me is none of my business.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 13:40

Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 13:40
At the recent Big Red Bash, all attendees were required to have a storage container for their grey water, because of Adria Downs organic status.

Just how many had containers, or even read the directive in the "blurb", I don't know. But the camps didn't seem to be awash with mud 'n bubbles.

Those with larger groups/families and using portapotties, probably took the cassettes, and grey water containers, into Birdsville over the event, and caught up with the shower 'van at the same time.

Bob

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Reply By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 14:31

Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 14:31
" compulsory to have a grey water tank on your caravan and if you don't you get fines in free camps. "

In town or out of town ? ...... in towns it's been that way for quite a while ..... out of towns ..... never seen anyone patrolling those.............................
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Reply By: scruffy - Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 16:00

Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 16:00
And yet a lot of caravan parks and showgrounds still say to run grey water on to the ground, in cities and outback as well.
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Reply By: Slow one - Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 16:28

Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 16:28
Yep, the reason is so it matches the hair colour.
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Reply By: Bobjl - Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 18:19

Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 18:19
The accepted practice of those that want to preserve free camp areas is to adopt the rule - leave nothing behind. By definition that would include grey water, and anything else that you arrived [at the free camp area] with. Take everything you came with, back out with you.

If we all left our grey water behind, the environment would very quickly be spoilt - even further.

The CMCA Members adopt a Leave No Trace [LNT] rule. It would be worthwhile searching their site [Campervan and Motor Home Club] and looking at the requirements for those who formally commit to sensible and sustainable [free] camping practices.
Their Code of Conduct outlines what an enviromentally conscious recreational vehicle owner must do.

I have seen nothing that suggests that rec vehicle owners will be in breach of a particular Law or other requirement if they do not have a grey water tank fitted, it seems unworkable/impractical.

Happy Vanning
Bob

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Follow Up By: K&FT - Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 19:55

Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 19:55
This has proven to be a very emotive subject on many fora.

the organisation that set the "rules" of Leave no trace" can be found here:LNT

It would seem from research that spreading grey water on the ground will have little if any effect if it is done responsibly and in accordance with lnt.org principles.

frank
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 09:32

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 09:32
In times of drought, haven't we been encouraged by authorities to run grey water on to our gardens?
Also, some caravan parks & campgrounds ask for it to be run on to trees etc..

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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 14:23

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 14:23
If there's detergent and associated chemicals in the grey water it can affect soil structure. There can also be fats and other organic matter in it. Repeated dumping in a concentrated area can therefore cause problems. It's why so many free camps in towns specify fully self-contained.
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Follow Up By: Member - Nutta - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 19:11

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 19:11
"the environment would very quickly be spoilt - even further"

It annoys me reading things like this, people have camped and dropped grey water for how many years? 50??

Those same spots still appear to be in fine condition, so sounds like BS to me.

Cheers.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 19:45

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 19:45
This is a difficult problem to define. The effect on soil will depend on the initial soil properties, so if you are camped on a light textured surface overlying a heavier clay subsoil there's probably a higher risk of adverse effects, a well drained sand much less so. Many detergents nowadays are low sodium so the potential effects on structure are alleviated. Detergents are usually biodegradable so not likely to be a soil problem. Similarly most are phosphate free. Organic matter would have to be in concentrations found in black water. Fats are another matter, certainly there is research to show the land disposal of untreated slaughterhouse waste can be a problem. Then one has to consider the risk to any adjacent watercourses. In the absence of any risk assessment, managing authorities are risk adverse and adopt the precautionary principle, resulting in bans that are sometimes justified sometimes not. Unfortunately this is a consequence of the times, where risk aversion is combined with the fact that that state and local government authorities no longer employ staff capable of doing the assessments.
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Follow Up By: Bobjl - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 22:09

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 22:09
Member - Nutta posted:
"the environment would very quickly be spoilt - even further"

It annoys me reading things like this, people have camped and dropped grey water for how many years? 50??

Those same spots still appear to be in fine condition, so sounds like BS to me.

Nutta, it is indeed unfortunate that you feel annoyed, it seems you reckon the folk that adopt the LNT approach are wrong and there is no need for taking what you came with - including grey water. Similarly it is unfortunate that I [and most responsible campers] get annoyed with those that mistreat free camp areas. Nothing like pulling up in the after drop of carrots and noodles and other crap that some camper types leave. You need to read carefully what I said and not selectively extract bits, I said "if we all left our grey water behind".........the environment would etc. The intention of my input was to assist the enquirer to appreciate the reason for grey water tanks as they apply to free camp areas.

Bob
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Sep 06, 2015 at 20:35

Sunday, Sep 06, 2015 at 20:35
As far as grey water effecting soil structure ...... Oh give me a break ...... as most of our neibours do, we have been running grey water on to the ground arround our house for over 30 years ...... we seen no adverse effects on the soil or the plants that grow there .

BUT ..... in a camp ground, just dropping you unprocessed dish water and such straight on the ground can be messy and unhygeanic in the short term.

Even if it is not compulsory all responsible caraveners should have some sort of grey water tank ..... ive if it is a 20 litre screwtop.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Sunday, Sep 06, 2015 at 21:28

Sunday, Sep 06, 2015 at 21:28
As in my previous reply it's very much site specific as well as the individual situation. Powdered laundry detergents in particular use(d) sodium sulfate as a filler and to make the powder flow so they were not particularly good if your soil was vulnerable in the first place. In the past many also contained polyphosphates which were bad for water bodies as they provided a reserve of phosphate in sediments which increased the risk of blue-green algal blooms. Dishwashing liquids are mostly detergent so likely to be less of an issue wrt soil structure. In my opinion and it's only an opinion in this case, fats and food residues are probably the main issue and relate more to aesthetics, amenity and hygiene than any environmental issue.
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Reply By: tribe-of-5 - Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 20:12

Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 20:12
Thanks for your replies. I heard it from my dad who works in the RV industry. He has had an influx of people wanting to install grey water holding tanks because they are getting fines for not having them (in WA I think). I have searched the internet but couldn't find anything stating that you had to have them so I thought I would ask all of you. We don't want to have to put one on our van if we don't have to. We just use buckets are dump where appropriate.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 22:11

Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 22:11
There is NO compulsion to have grey water tanks in Australia Tribe of 5. There are a few and the number is increasing of overnight stops in towns providing free places to meet the CMCA RV friendly towns scheme that specify self containment, but so far only two insist that it must be with an inbuilt tank. These are mostly in towns and hardly desirable family camping areas.

In our travels we only went to one place where grey water self containment was a condition - Blackall in Queensland, and unlike most places, they were happy for us to use a bucket - which was the easiest method to take to the nearby on site dump point.

Do take the time to read my Blog on self containment.What does Self Contained Really Mean?

Most places in Australia taking your bucket into the scrub is not a problem.

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Follow Up By: tribe-of-5 - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 02:27

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 02:27
When we travel we don't plan on staying in any caravan parks so your blog doesn't really apply to us.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 08:18

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 08:18
Why doesn't it "apply" to you? Motherhen and the Old Red Rooster don't stop in many parks. Rather than the term "apply" I think "useful" would be more applicable. Does she stay in too many gravel dumps/pits for you?
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 08:56

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 08:56
Thanks PeterD ;)

Tribe, My Blog is about what to expect and the rules for different free and low cost camps as there are so many variations. It has nothing to do with any caravan parks. It does answer my question in a lot more detail than I need to replicated here.



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Follow Up By: tribe-of-5 - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 11:44

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 11:44
Calm down Peter, I never said anything about gravel dumps/pits. Sorry if my choice of words offended you. I simply said we won't be staying in caravan parks/campgrounds and reading Motherhens blog, I thought she was mainly talking about caravan parks and rest stops. Sorry if I understood wrong.
I am simply trying to find out if what I heard is true and by reading all the helpful comments (except 1), I've gathered that no, grey water tanks are not mandatory unless you are in a certain caravan park that states you must have them to stay. Correct? :)
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 11:54

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 11:54
Half right Tribe.Grey water tanks are not compulsory but may limit where you can go as a couple of free/low cost camps insist on them. Most allow portable tanks, as explained in My Blog.

Caravan parks are for people who want to plug in to power, put their hose out to a sullage pit or onto the grass which ever is specified by the caravan park, and use park showers and toilets. None would require grey water tanks.

The bottom line is simple. We don't have to have grey water tanks, but as we need to meet the rules of each camp, there will be just a few we cannot stay at. No big deal as over most of Australia disposal of grey water into the scrub, desert sands or surrounds is not a problem.

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Follow Up By: seachange - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 13:29

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 13:29
I would just like to add that it is preferable to use all bio-degradable soaps etc. be aware of what goes into the environment!! our native flora does not like some of the chemicals we use in our daily lives, if it is not "friendly" don't buy it then you can't make a mistake by using it and then your grey water should not be a problem.
Having a grey water tank installed is not mandatory just handy when you are in town/shopping centre and want to wash your hands/plates etc. for lunch, and some councils require full containment to stay in their camping areas.
Regards
John
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Follow Up By: LIFE MEMBER-snailbait - Thursday, Sep 03, 2015 at 07:56

Thursday, Sep 03, 2015 at 07:56
Hi all AND motherhen
YOU better read the latest LNT in the latest copy of the wander that is September 2015
under grey water tank (MANDATORY) THIS IS IF YOU WANT TO qualify for LNT
You may not want to qualify for LNT you of course don't have to

most councils have posted signs where you free camp and specify self contained only I have seen the signs and these have been in the main street where it is tarred and the caravan drops grey water it is not a nice look so stop thinking about money and fit all the good thing to make your RV self contained
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Sep 03, 2015 at 08:47

Thursday, Sep 03, 2015 at 08:47
snailbait said "YOU better read the latest LNT in the latest copy of the wander"

Firstly, we do not appreciate you shouting at us.

Secondly, do you mean the wanderer or the Wanderer? You can use the shift key to yell at us but not to compose text correctly (or is the lack of capitals for proper names an indication of your literacy level?)

Thirdly, very few of us have access to the Wanderer and that section of the CMCA web site is protected by a password. Seeing you are making demands of us I think that you better scan the relevant sections of the page and either present them as graphics or use the OCR programme in the scanner software to convert those sections to text. We would like to see what they say about their scheme.

What has caused your hysteria? Is this a recent change in their scheme? Maybe you can inform us of the change of date for the amendment. Also remember this is only the scheme of one club, maybe you can inform us of the details of the ACC.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Sep 03, 2015 at 08:49

Thursday, Sep 03, 2015 at 08:49
Hi Terry

The Wanderer is a CMCA member newsletter which is not sent to the general public.

The question in discussion was about if it was compulsory to fit tanks to caravans, not about what was required to join the CMCA LNT scheme. In by blog I do mention the scheme.

You correctly say "You may not want to qualify for LNT you of course don't have to". I say "You do not need to join CMCA LNT unless as a member you want to camp at a member campground with this requirement." There are many many clean camping people out there who have no interest in joining CMCA LNT.

Apart from any of the developing CMCA owned member only self contained campgrounds where they can specify their own scheme is a requirement if they like, there are NO other campgrounds in Australia that require you to have the LNT certificate. It may be mentioned as desirable but it is really about the behaviour not the sticker.

Another factual observation you make
"most councils have posted signs where you free camp and specify self contained only I have seen the signs and these have been in the main street where it is tarred and the caravan drops grey water it is not a nice look - - - ". Yes, it is not suitable to dispose of grey water in a town parking lot where they set aside a few places for overnight stays - mainly to gain CMCA RV Friendly Town status. There are other sensitive environments where it is also specified.

Just meet the rules of where you stop, and don't stop where you don't meet the rules. Through in a bit of common sense and consideration for others in all you do.

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Follow Up By: LIFE MEMBER-snailbait - Friday, Sep 04, 2015 at 09:18

Friday, Sep 04, 2015 at 09:18
Motherhen
You are behind the times
1 Cooktown has asked a RV to move on as they are not self contained

2 There are councils such as in there new in town grassed free camp have to be Self contained

3 it is not mandatory for a RV to have grey water tank

4 6% of RV are members of CMCA

5 less than 1/2 % are ACC members

6 RV who want to go from C/P TO C/P are 33%

7 CIA have written that there is 578000 RV registered in Australia

8 For a $100 to stop polluting Australia fit a Grey water tank and dispose of it on a dump point

9 The CMCA have along with Govt. grants put in 100ss of dump points
Look at Camps 8 to find out where they are
10 Free camps are a very sensitive topic and we want to keep them and one way to help keep freedom of choice is to fit a grey water tank please fit one to your RV please
Terry
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Sep 04, 2015 at 09:48

Friday, Sep 04, 2015 at 09:48
Snailbait, in saying I am behind the times, it is evident YOU are not reading my references.

I also frequently give out up to date and correct information on various travel forums.Cooktown was the first in Australia to insist on inbuilt tanks only and I have talked about this on forum and with their Council since the inception of their camping trial.

Please also do some research on the health issues involved with grey water tanks and water held in them for over 24 hours before you tell everyone in Australia what they should do. They can choose to suit their personal travel and holiday style.

Those who taken the time to read my articles will also be informed about the options of portable grey water tanks, which are accepted at almost all "self contained only" campgrounds.

While I know of references for some of the statistics you have quoted here (with slightly different figures), please do the right thing and show traceable references for these , otherwise they are seen as meaningless guesses and speculation on your part. I acknowledged you have give an undated reference to your point 7.

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Reply By: tribe-of-5 - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 13:36

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 13:36
Thanks guys!!
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 13:47

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 13:47
Happy travels Tribe :).
Motherhen

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Reply By: Member Boroma 604 - Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 20:00

Wednesday, Sep 02, 2015 at 20:00
Gooday,
Maybe he read a New Zealand Forum or such as they are DEFINITELY required over there, but think it will be years before it gets imposed here. We do have one, holds 52 litres made & fitted it myself, but only use it in towns or such if we stop fro a meal. Other than that have never been toBush Camp yet that requires it though I know they do exist.
Cheers, Boroma604
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Reply By: Iza B - Thursday, Sep 03, 2015 at 05:54

Thursday, Sep 03, 2015 at 05:54
Perhaps the story is about having properly installed grey water tanks if you want to be considered fully self contained. Some people have been arguing that a drum under the grey water discharge is sufficient. Reports say that most authorities (Cooktown, for example) insist the tank must be a fixed installation.

Recently saw a van in a free camp with an overflowing bucket of grey water. Van owner said he did not care as the rules about grey water on the ground were stupid and he would do what ever he wanted, and everyone else could get stuffed.

Iza
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Friday, Sep 04, 2015 at 10:07

Friday, Sep 04, 2015 at 10:07
Nobody has commented on one of the original posters comments re tent campers. If this really becomes a concerted push no one will be able to free camp without a rig without all the bells and whistles -shower, toilet and fixed greywater tank. So no camper trailers, tents, Kombis etc. It's the behaviour that should be the focus of councils. It's no different to not littering. If you truly want no impact then you want no people. In the early days of the setting up of Kakadu NP I heard a senior park manager state that the biggest challenge for park management was people, this was when visitor numbers were only a few thousand, cane toads might have changed some opinions.
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Follow Up By: tribe-of-5 - Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 09:07

Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 09:07
Yes warren, no one has made comment about those who do not have a caravan. Although we have a caravan and could fit the tanks if we choose to I am still curious to know what the others are to do.
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