Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March Situation Response

The Situation

You are car camping at a park and have read the regulations, which clearly state that there is no disposal of greywater on the ground. Unfortunately, there is no literature telling what you should do otherwise. What would you do?

What you said:

A few options...
1. Drink it. If it's a solo outing, there shouldn't be much of it anyway.
2."Pack it out." If it's car camping, then chances are I've got a container I can dedicate to holding the greywater till I leave the campground.
3. Flush it? If there are flush toilets, and it's not prohibited, is there any harm in letting the septic system sort it out?

-Nathan Hicks

Ask the ranger what to do with your greywater if you don't know what to do with it. Every park has different facilities...some might have a drum to collect it and it is hauled away like Farragut in Idaho, or a sink that goes into a sanitary sewer like some of the state parks in PA. Don't put it in the outhouse unless specifically told to do so.

-Marj Eby

The no-grey-water-on-the-ground rule means that there won't be any soap, even biodegradable, involved with the solar shower, probably no solar shower use at all. Washing dishes will require straining, and hopefully sumping, the wash and rinse water. Hopefully the park has sumps or a disposal station. Lacking that means using really damp paper towels for washing and rinsing and then sealing those up in large zip locks for the trip to the garbage can.

-Brent Baum

If you're car camping then there are probably bathrooms or pit toilets nearby. I would dispose of the water there.
If not, then I would check with local officials if possible for direction. If not possible, I would broadcast the water as widely as possible.

-Matthew Flitton

There has to be an area for human waste like a washroom facility or outhouse. Many areas will pump out waste to remove it in the situation of an outhouse I personally would dump my grey water in a place like that, thus it is not in the ground where it could harm plant life or attract unwanted animals, second option would be to strain or filter any large particles out of the grey water and could use remaining water for putting out camp fires or be dumped in a cat hole

-Tim Lane

I am assuming by "grey water" you mean the water from washing dishes, pots, pans, etc... In that case it is sumping time! Mmmmmm! Add hot water to your pots, pans, bowl, etc.... mix and stir well and then down the hatch it goes! Of course you can strain out the chunks to pack them out and then sump the liquids.

-Art Woodard

What our traveling trainers, Mark and Tara, said:

Ask the management or rangers at the park . If you have an appropriate container you can capture it and dispose of it at the dump station if the park has one. If you have strained out all particulates and set them aside for the garbage or compost, you can ask the park about flushing it down the toilet. If you cannot get an answer from the staff, do what you think is best. Leave No Trace is about how to minimize our unavoidable impacts, and the solution is not always easy to find.

To learn more about burning trash or adding food scraps to your campfire please read Skills in the April eNews.

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