GREY WATER COLLECTION

Submitted: Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 at 13:17
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Good morning fellow travellers, just as a bit of information collecting for myself and anybody else who may be interested, could some one please point me in the right direction for the regulations for having to collect your grey water from your van while camped in the bush, or any where else for that matter, or is it a shire by shire requirement, and I don't seem to be able to find anything about it on the national parks camp site regulations either. We are having grey water tanks fitted to our van,but I would like to read the info myself so I am for warned so I can plan accordingly, your guidance will be greatly appreciated.
thank you
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Reply By: baznpud (tassie) - Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 at 14:27

Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 at 14:27
Broodie H3
I would have thought one tank, say about 40-60 liters for grey water would be enough.
This subject seems to be forever being debated, what is self containment??, is it have your own shower and toilet, or is it the above plus grey water containment, it seems to vary from place to place.
Take WikiCamps, on some camp sites they say you have to be self contained, so i rang a local council who looks after a campsite which Wiki states you have to be self contained, the answer was provided you have your own shower and loo, not a problem, got the same answer from another council.
My answer to grey water may be different to others, it goes on the ground, but if unable to do that, then into a bucket, then tip that around the base of a tree.
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Follow Up By: Member - Odog - Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 at 15:11

Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 at 15:11
G'day guys, thought grey water is from the shower, hand basin, washing up water.. And black water, is the toilet? Is that correct... Grey water is usually run onto the ground.. Have seen in van park (Margaret River area) just through a hose, on the ground, not good if your on the down hill side.. And black water needs a dump point... Or, depending where, with only nappy san used in the porta potty, dig a deep hole I guess.. But not sure about areas classed as self containment, suppose it is what it means... Nothing on the ground.. Then so be it.. What you take in, you take out.. Can't really see the harm in giving the plant life a drink, with the grey water anyway, as long as it's all biodegradable... Cheers Odog
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 at 19:10

Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 at 19:10
So Baznpud, and odog,
do you know of any regulations and where I can find them to satisfy my own curiosity as to what the requirements are, every one you speak to knows about the self containment but nobody seems to be able to tell me where to find the legislation that can be enforced to make us travellers comply.
I have trolled through countless websites and shire camping requirements but can find nothing to tell me I have to do this self containment with my grey water.
Even though we do collect our grey water as a matter of courtesy when camped near or in towns, I am just curious about the debate
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Follow Up By: Member - Odog - Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 at 19:30

Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 at 19:30
Hey Broodie,
I had heard about a few places bringing in this legislation, but don't know which areas, and all the details, sorry I'm not much help, I'm sure someone on the site would know details, be patient.. Lol
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Follow Up By: baznpud (tassie) - Friday, Oct 30, 2015 at 08:20

Friday, Oct 30, 2015 at 08:20
Broodie,
I don't know of any OFFICIAL legislation that has mooted this regulation, i know there are a few places around that require it, one at Cooktown, and they have a Ranger come around to check on you.
There are a couple here in Tassie that i know of, but were they legislated to be totally self contained, or was it the local neighbour hood, don't know.
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 at 21:26

Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 at 21:26
Brodie, there has been a concerted campaign by the caravan park owners groups to have the state governments and councils to close down much of the free camping anywhere near towns and along the highway major routes. The CMCA firstly on its own and later via MoTOURing Australia has been campaigning against the parks lobby.

One of the claims made by the parks lobby is the state that free campers have been leaving the free camp sites. CMCA and MoTOURing Australia have managed to keep quite a few free camps alive by proposing the Leave No Trace (LNT) Program for camp sites near towns. The local councils have managed to keep sites open and also open new ones by insisting that campers using them have been self contained and leave no trace. (Forbes and Cooktown councils are notable for their being to be able to maintain free camping for us.) When you open the "Leave No Trace (LNT) Program" link there are three further links at the bottom of the page that will help you understand the Leave No Trace scheme.

There are a number of towns that joined the RV Friendly program that has been instigated by the CMCA. Part of the qualification to join this scheme is "Provision of short term, low cost overnight parking (24/48 hours) for self-contained RVs, as close as possible to the CBD." In some towns the short term camping is dependent on campers being self contained so to fully participate you will need grey water tanks to access the facilities in some towns.

Brodie, you will not find any legislation "for having to collect your grey water from your van while camped in the bush" or anywhere else. This whole thing is an initiative from campers to prevent loosing access to many camping spots. Most of these are close to the populated areas but there are some like a number of camp spots beside the highway between Morven and Barcaldine. None of the state national park bodies to my knowledge require self containment at this stage but there is a possibility they will in the future.

The choice is an individual one whether you wish to access the sites that require grey water tanks or not. However their number is on the rise so I suggest that those who wish to participate in freedom camping and are purchasing new vans seriously consider fitting grey water tank/s. This will future proof your van.


This reply above has been peppered with superfluous annoying links inserted by the forum programme. The three I have inserted to explain my posting are:
MoTOURing Australia
Leave No Trace (LNT) Program
RV Friendly program
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 at 21:49

Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 at 21:49
Peter,
thank you for the information, as we don't belong to caravan clubs and four wheel drive clubs I have been blissfully unaware of the programmes that are in place for the betterment of the travelling population, our way of traveling is stay where we are and if that is a town caravan park so be it if it is the bush camp so much the better. if it is a nice piece of riverbank and a couple of trees that where you'll find me. in the van we have at the moment we usually collect the grey water in a large 40ltr bucket and we have been doing that for years, but we got into a debate the other night and I have said my two bobs worth as usual, and the others took off in a huff, so I thought I would find the legislation for this requirement as told to me by others but I have had no luck. we will catch up with our friends in a few days and start the debate all over again with a bit less red wine this time lol, and with your info to back me up.
thank you.
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Reply By: Ron N - Friday, Oct 30, 2015 at 12:58

Friday, Oct 30, 2015 at 12:58
Caravanners and campers should all make themselves aware of grey water etiquette.
There are no hard-and-fast laws across Australia for grey water dumping.
Each Shire often has slightly different regulations and advice.
The general recommendations are that no grey water should be dumped within 100M of waterways, and no dumping of any grey water is allowed within the boundaries of national parks.
It is also recommended that any grey water dumped be covered over, to bury any solids.

However, the following factors need to be considered when dumping waste water of any kind.

1. In suburban areas, it has not been legal to dump grey water from showers and laundries onto your garden for many years.
Grey water in suburban residential areas is treated the same as "black water" (i.e. sewage).
The reasons for this are simple. Grey water often contains high levels of phosphates and nitrates from detergents, as well as other undesirable chemicals that pose environmental problems. Phosphate and Nitrate build-up causes algal blooms (blue-green algae) in waterways.
Large population densities rapidly create problems when untreated waste water is dumped in excessive quantities.

As you can understand, one or two people dumping grey water in an isolated area isn't a problem.
200 campers all regularly dumping grey water on a riverbank, IS a problem.

2. You need to assess the soil type, distance from the nearest waterway, the amount of grey water dumping (yours as well as others), and the content of your grey water - before you make the decision to dump.
In an isolated arid area, with clayey soils, modest levels of grey water dumping isn't going to pose a threat to anyone or any environment.
In a heavily populated area, with sandy soils and numerous waterways, dumping grey water is going to eventually have a major cumulative effect on the environment.

3. The content of your grey water is important. Fats and greases are highly undesirable in the environment and should not be dumped. Shower water with low levels of detergents will see the degradation of detergents over a period of time - but if it can wash into waterways with the first shower of rain, you need to rethink the grey water dumping.

Here's an article on the nitrates and phosphorus buildup that affects the Swan and Canning Rivers, with particular emphasis on the permeability of Perths sandy and limestone coastal plain region.
It is a rivers-specific article, but the excess-nutrient buildup process applies to all waterways, and we all need to take steps to reduce our adverse footprint on the environment.
Unfortunately, that adverse footprint is being exacerbated by serious numbers of campers and travellers in todays world.

Swan and Canning Rivers science

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Friday, Oct 30, 2015 at 13:01

Friday, Oct 30, 2015 at 13:01
I lived for many years on a 2ha block where council regulation made me collect grey water in a tank and then a submersable pump was used to spray the water through a sprinkler onto the ground.

This is how most councils deal with grey water. While I accept there are some places that are inappropriate such as at the kerb in a town it should be expected that we bring and shed water on grass and trees nearby to help the vegetation.

Any other restrictions are more about some groups trying to get elitist access to areas at others expense. i haven't seen too many tents or camper trailers with grey water tanks and yet surely we are not going to ban them from camping in the one of the driest continents on earth.

Polution by toilet paper across the country side is a whole new other issue......
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Reply By: Member - Rich - Friday, Oct 30, 2015 at 13:54

Friday, Oct 30, 2015 at 13:54
Not sure if a myth or not but have heard that collecting grey water in a bucket is not good enough

A grey water tank has to be plumbed into the system

Not sure where you then dump it afterwards, I suppose open it up as you are driving out :).
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Friday, Oct 30, 2015 at 16:33

Friday, Oct 30, 2015 at 16:33
The scheme that the ACC are pushing allows for collecting your grey water in sealable containers and carrying it off site. However the management of a lot of the self contained type sites do not accept this, they demand that those who wishes to camp must have plumbed in tanks.
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Follow Up By: Tuco - Saturday, Oct 31, 2015 at 10:11

Saturday, Oct 31, 2015 at 10:11
"Where to dump it afterward"
Dump it into the "Dump Point" when you dump your cassette or Porta Potti.
The CMCA membership has subsidised the installation of public dump points all over the country. It would be nice to see some of the caravan and camper trailer groups and clubs doing something constructive and follow the CMCA lead.
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Reply By: Member - Peter H1 (NSW) - Friday, Oct 30, 2015 at 15:08

Friday, Oct 30, 2015 at 15:08
Hi,
I am currently at the CMCA rally at Albany WA.
The council has allowed us to let the grey water to run onto the grass. But have insisted that NO solids [IE, food particles etc] go on the ground.
CMCA supplied all of us with socks to be fitted to the outlet of our hose to catch any solids.
As there are showers etc on the site there is not a great amount of grey water.

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Follow Up By: Member - KBAD - Sunday, Nov 01, 2015 at 15:25

Sunday, Nov 01, 2015 at 15:25
I think you will find that the Council plans to redevelop the grounds so are probably not to worried about the grey water issue with the Rally.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Oct 30, 2015 at 18:08

Friday, Oct 30, 2015 at 18:08
The short answer is that the owner/controller of any piece of land where camping is permitted is entitled to impose whatever rules/restrictions that they wish.
Each authority is likely to decide on a different answer, for whatever reasons.
If anyone does not like those rules/restrictions, they should go somewhere else.

Cheers,
Peter
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Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, Oct 31, 2015 at 01:16

Saturday, Oct 31, 2015 at 01:16
My Blog "What does "Self Contained Only" really mean?" and the links therein cover the variances Broodie.

In reality, unless it is in a populated area, close to a water source, or somewhere where a high turnover of campers would create a muddy mess on the ground, there are not all that many places in Australia that you cannot find somewhere suitable in walking distance to dispose of your grey water. Many designated 'self contained only' campsites in towns have a dump point on site.

As Peter_n_Margaret have replied, comply with what ever is set for that area. Anyone who cannot comply can easily go somewhere else.
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Saturday, Oct 31, 2015 at 03:04

Saturday, Oct 31, 2015 at 03:04
Thank you one and all I did not expect to stir up such a hornets nest, so the moral of the story is keep on doing what we do which is collect and dispose of later. the consensus appears to be use common sense and courtesy, and there is no hard and fast legislation for caravaners and campers.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Oct 31, 2015 at 09:36

Saturday, Oct 31, 2015 at 09:36
This topic comes up regular and always gets the hornets buzzing Broodie. Wait until someone with knowledge of stored used water gets going on the dangers of keeping grey water stored for more than 24 hours, or Google for the information. Best disposed of promptly where it is acceptable to do so, and store when environmentally necessary or it is a requirement of that camping area then empty as you would your toilet cassette.

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Reply By: LIFE MEMBER-snailbait - Saturday, Oct 31, 2015 at 08:53

Saturday, Oct 31, 2015 at 08:53
hi all
Do you want to walk in flowing grey water do you want walk in black water along the WA coast people do there busness on the ground and leave brown butterflies all over the ground then they wash there plates under the running water of the tanks ment for stock
I travel with a 100 litre grey water tank and 2 cassette containing 17 litre each so you will not walk in my grey water or my black water
In some reports on waste water they have reported that kitchen grey water should be classified as Black water I cannot remember the name but just google grey water
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Reply By: Tuco - Saturday, Oct 31, 2015 at 10:03

Saturday, Oct 31, 2015 at 10:03
There wouldn't be any local government building regulation that will allow a builder/plumber to release the grey water (kitchen, laundry, bathroom) onto the ground. Grey water is full of all sort of poisons and contaminants that would enter rivers and creeks and eventually end up in lakes or the sea.
Go and ask ANY council if you can run all your household grey water onto the ground and wait for their reaction.
Caravan/Motorhome grey water is no different.
There are many who often run their household washing machine waste out onto the lawn, and it promotes a lovely carpet of green grass in dry times. However the chemical residue remains and rains will take it to contaminate some river or creek.
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Follow Up By: Gary T7 - Sunday, Nov 01, 2015 at 00:22

Sunday, Nov 01, 2015 at 00:22
Tuco Replied ;
(Go and ask ANY council if you can run all your household grey water onto the ground and wait for their reaction )

Hi Tuco
Most local gov caravan parks and some private parks allow grey water to go on the ground as they don't have any sullage points and they have been doing this forever.So they do allow it or turn a blind eye but that doesn't mean it ok. The last two years we have travelled around AU and I would have seen very few caravan parks with sullage points. Local governments need to inspect and comply or shut parks until they comply with building and health requirements but I doubt that will happen.There is two laws one for them and one for everyone else. Please use your common sense in regard to grey water and think of the environment .

GARY
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Follow Up By: Member - Blue M - Sunday, Nov 01, 2015 at 06:07

Sunday, Nov 01, 2015 at 06:07
I think some people that have lived a sheltered live in the city really need a reality check to what goes on in the bush.
I lived in a town between Richmond and Julia Creek for a while, the town has been there for the past 100 years.
There is no sewerage, no storm water drains and no other way to get rid of house hold GREY water but to run it onto the ground.

I have just bought a house in a town west of Roma, and I asked the people I bought it off, where does your Grey water go to here. He pointed to a hose, and said, "out there in the paddock".

You could always tell where the end of the hose is, because it is the only place there is any green grass.
Also the animal life and insects are there as well.

I would like to have a wager that 99% of station houses on properties in the bush (not talking about 20 acre hobby farms on the coast) let the grey water out of their washing machines, showers and sinks onto the ground or water their gardens with it.

Now I will stand to be corrected on this, but I am sure that every property owner does not have an elaborate system to sort it out before letting it on to the ground.

I would like to think that the majority of us would have the common sense to do the right thing with their waste water. Meaning if you camped near a cattle trough or near a pristine water way, you would NOT allow your detergent filled water to get into the water way.
But on the other hand if you camped out in the paddock between Quilpie and Eromanga would it really matter.

To my way of thinking it is not so much the water that is the problem, it is the sheer number of people doing it.
10 years ago you might have seen 2 campers at a rest area, now they are packed in there like sardines.

Crucify if you will, but that is just my thoughts.

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Follow Up By: Member - KBAD - Sunday, Nov 01, 2015 at 15:37

Sunday, Nov 01, 2015 at 15:37
As you stated it is the population pressure that has a bearing on the complexity of the issue, for a small population the chance of something nasty happening is remote and even if it did the chance of anyone investigating is smaller still. Having said that have a look at so called third world countires and the plethora of issue's they have. Having come from a rural background and having lived in a surburban area i can see where the different lifestyles collide. When i go back "bush" again which will be soon, i plan to run the waste management in a totally different way than before but that is because of increased knowledge and understanding rather than a wish to be called or thought of as green.
We travel with our dogs and even in remote area's we will pick up after our animals, why because we believe it is the right thing to do, and IMO to the original poster of this thread that is the real answer to your question.
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Reply By: Member - Warren H - Sunday, Nov 01, 2015 at 16:26

Sunday, Nov 01, 2015 at 16:26
This scientific review of grey water characteristics may be of interest to some forum members.
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Follow Up By: Tuco - Monday, Nov 02, 2015 at 09:03

Monday, Nov 02, 2015 at 09:03
Thanks for the link Warren.

It does go to show that the number of contaminants in Grey Water is HUGE ! Very interesting read, even though most is beyond me and probably also most of our members. Lack of knowledge and complacency is what most of us are guilty of, despite the signs that are in front of us every day. The chemicals that we are destroying our planet with every day are leading to the demise of so many species. Frogs and bees are just two examples.

Thanks again Warren.
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Reply By: Kiwi100 - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 15:37

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 15:37
Given the drought-affected state of much of the inland at the moment, I'd be a bit worried about carrying grey water.

There's a good chance you'll be held up by the locals and have it all stolen.
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