Close this search box.

How to Dispose of Grey Water When Camping? 7 Best Tips 2023

As a responsible camper, you must ensure that your campsite is in good condition before leaving the campground. It is not only vital for you, but it is also suitable for the atmosphere, residents, and other people visiting after you. These instructions are for any leftovers or grey water that people produce during their stay on the camping site. 

Disposing of greywater on camping sites is complicated but can be possible without destroying wildlife. In this article, I will share how to dispose of greywater while camping. There are rules followed by your country and campsite which you must follow to free yourself from grey water.

You can clean your campsite using a disposable tank to dispose of your wastewater quickly. If the disposable tank is unavailable, you can strain the leftovers and dispose of the remaining water in a dumping ground or wait to dispose of it. In detail, let’s discuss other ways of disposing of grey water during camping.

What is Grey Water?

The description of grey water is diversified for the place. Still, without indulging in deep analysis, you can explain grey water as used water gathered from Bathtubs, cuisine basins, washing machines, and any washing source except toilet water (that is called black water).  

The description of grey water depends upon the legal orders of the government of any particular country or area. Most countries categorize dishwater which consists of food particles, as ‘black water. ‘Afterwards, grey water is now admitted as harmful to the environment if disposed of in the open air because it consists of natural elements and synthetics.      

Why is Grey Water an Issue During Camping?

You can purify grey water intensely because it might be giddily harmful to the atmosphere and its innate dwellers (plants and animals). Moreover, the grey water is polluted, which can harm the pleasant vision of the camp area, and it will be problematic for other people to camp easily.

By inaccurately disposing of the grey water at the camp area or in far-off places arises, some significant problems.

It can attract wild animals to the campsite

Grey water consists of food elements, and if they are not filtered before disposal of grey water on the land, it might be attractive for a shady bear if you are camping in a country where the bears are the inhabitants. You may have seen in many cartoon films that bears can sense honey from long distant places.

That is why these heavy-weight animals with long hairs have an incredible sense of smell. If I am correct, they can smell edibles at a distance of 20 miles. You must be careful about your eatables and keep them seal-packed to protect them from bears.     

When you throw the grey water on the grassy area, by doing so, you are spreading the smell of your eatables, soap, and other smelly things into the restricted area, which is the wide offer to the bears. Frightening, oh? That is why you should not spread the grey water in your surrounding area if you don’t want to become a part of the bears’ food.

Grey water chemicals can damage the land & water

We acknowledge that only the black water is harmful, but as far as the grey water is concerned, it is also very damaging to the atmosphere. Because of our frequent use of washing products, including synthetics in the cuisine, clothes cleaning, and washrooms, grey water consists of harmful synthetics such as sulfates, phosphates, triclosan, triclocarban, and EDTA supplements. 

These synthetics are harmful to the land chemistry and ruin the adjacent greenery. Particularly the soap water we usually spread on the floor without taking care of the ground can destroy the land for the growth of plants on a long-lasting basis.

These synthetics can cause an imbalance of chemicals in water reservoirs such as lakes and ponds. It may result in affluent algae inhibiting action, also declared as” algae bloom. “Algae bloom starts when there exists a sufficient amount of artificial food in water for already existing algae due to the disposal of grey water in the lakes and ponds. 

This extra food can raise their generation to a dangerous position. Algae bloom can destroy the life of fishes and other sea animals, and it might be destructive for human beings by making the water reservoirs poisonous (read more about algae bloom).

Dumping grey water can be illegal

Hurling grey water into the watercourse, footpaths, or camping area is unlawful in various states of America. Every country explains grey and black water according to their decided dumping principles. It is considered unlawful to dispose of them openly in many states.

But so many states do not follow the specific rules, so the BLM (bureau of land management) implements its own rules, which declare it unlawful for people to dispose of used water (grey and black) in non-nominated areas.

Treating Grey Water Before Disposal

If you throw out your grey water from the cuisine, lavatory, or bathroom, it must be thoroughly detoxified to lessen its harmful effect on the climate. You can take some precautions as mentioned below, 

Use organic (Unscented) soap/cleaner

The first reason for the pollution of greywater is the synthetic supplements, perfumes, and other dangerous synthetics in Bath soaps, dish cleaners, and cleansers. As far as natural soaps are concerned, these are minimally polluted. They are also soft and advantageous for all skin types. 

These environment-friendly soaps are prepared with natural fats and oils, less sharp colours, and petroleum-based foam. Additionally, complicated combinations gathered in it are relevantly easy to dissolve in nature and are helpful to save aquatic life and keep the animals away due to less fragrance.

Coleman’s sheet soap is the best option to keep with you. It is environment friendly as well as easy to carry and utilize. Likewise, you must be confident enough to consume the needed quantity of this environment-friendly soap. 

There is no doubt that these are the most natural soaps, but there is still the risk factor of their influence on climate as they take their time to dissolve.   

Keep a separate container for greywater

It is suggested to have a big tank or more than one grey water tank to clean your utensils, clothes, hands, and other things like this. Store the wastewater isolated and keep it unless you get the proper area to dispose of it off.

As far as the cleaning of utensils is concerned, you may adopt the “three bucket rule,” and that is possible in the way that you can use;

● One basket for dishwashing and cleansing water.

● The Second one is for washing with hot water (read how to warm the water during the expedition?).

● And the third one is to clean the stuff with cold water.  

All three baskets will be filled with grey water when you do your work. Now you can accumulate the wastewater in a big tank to dump it off.

Run your grey water via a mesh strainer

If you have to do a lot of work, it is significant. Grey water consists of hard waste in the form of many food particles. These left food particles spread a terrible odour that kills the climate’s sweetness.

These are also harmful to birds and animals who take these particles as their food because they are so polluted by the reaction of different synthetics used in soaps, cleansers, and washing liquids. 

As it is mentioned earlier that these fragrant chemicals have the attraction for a beast such as bears, and they can become horrible and dangerous for human beings who are on their expedition.

To avoid garbage, you must get the water filtered. If no filter is available, you can use the cloth having pours; if there is no cloth available, you can make some tiny holes in a polythene bag and get the water filtered. After getting all the waste particles, you must bind them in a shopper bag and dispose of the bag in the dustbins kept away from the camping area.         

How to dispose of greywater when camping? 7 Best Tips

Here are some methods to dump your used grey water. You can adopt them to get rid of them.   

Why you shouldn’t dispose of RV grey water just anywhere     

Black water is more toxic than grey water and is not easily dumped into the ground. You may wonder why I say that, as grey water is soapy water, perhaps with some small food bits. Grey water harms our environment; even if you use phosphate-free soaps and dish detergent, it’s still harmful. 

After camping you should clean the place as it was before camping. Disposing of Greywater on the ground is enough to change the environment. Everything starts with the soil. Plant’s life depends on the soil. 

Soil’s natural PH balance and capacity to absorb dampness to bloom depend on the quality of the soil. Chemicals and oils in grey water can disturb the soil’s natural balance and function and, therefore, disturb the thriving capability of native plants.

Do not dump RV grey water near natural water places like rivers, lakes, or neighbouring streams because it can boost algae. Algae is dangerous for species you like. Algae in colours like blue and green can make water poisonous to living beings. Disposing of RV grey water near natural water sources is a crime.

Use biodegradable products when you camp

There is a massive effect of detergents containing phosphate in our environment. The water of ponds, lakes, and waterways becomes harmful when phosphate is mixed. It will because fish die-offs and toxic algae arise.

Using biodegradable, phosphate-free cleansers, shampoo, and hand wash should be best while camping. These are available in the market, and you can easily buy them. The most renowned soap in the market is Dr. Bronner’s castile soap; it is phosphate-free and usable for washing hair and laundry.       

Legal options for disposing of RV greywater

All countries share their laws about disposing of greywater legally. Though anywhere you are, there are ways you can follow to dump grey water legally. There are a few ways to dispose of RV greywater while camping

● Pour your dishwasher into the RV toilet. Rinse your plates in a wash basin that fits in the RV kitchen sink; dispose of them in your RV toilet.

● You can dispose of your grey water at a dump station. There are many dump stations in your state. You can quickly go there and dump your grey water. Sometimes you don’t want to go anywhere from your camp, so in these situations, you can use a portable RV waste tank, bucket, or 5-gallon jug to store grey water and bring it to the dump station to dispose of it.

● You can dump your RV grey water into a regular toilet. It is the best option to flush it down, but it is only possible when camping in a campground with a toilet facility. Always collect a small amount of grey water by flushing it out approx 5 gallons at a time. The most important thing is always to get campground staff permission before dumping grey water into their toilet.

Every state has laws regarding how to dispose of greywater legally. Although, there are legal methods to dispose of grey water wherever possible. These are a few ways to dispose of RV greywater while camping. You can dump it in a dump station once in a blue moon.          

Check the state laws for RV greywater dumping

Every state has some laws regarding dumping greywater. It is better to acknowledge the laws before disposing of greywater. Several countries allow you to dispose of your grey water into the ground after taking safety measures to save the surroundings from harm. 

Some other countries don’t even distinguish between greywater and blackwater when it comes to dumping and is not allowed to dispose of any of them. But there are some countries like Arizona where you are not permitted to dispose of dishwater; however, disposing of the shower and sink water is perfectly acceptable.        

Look for a toilet or grey water disposal sink/tank

The most straightforward and stress-free method to free yourself from grey water is using a toilet or grey water disposal sink/tank. Some campgrounds have set guidelines for the disposal of grey or black water and waste. It would help if you found the guidelines for your campground. You may find out the instructions, especially camping in a campground. 

Campgrounds in California guide the campers to use RV’s built-in grey water tanks and disposable tanks to throw their waste rather than throwing everywhere (to avoid critters and rats). You will be lucky if you find a sink or container; then, you need to throw grey water in the container and wait to flow down with the black water into the sink. 

If there is no way to dispose of greywater, wait till you search for a public toilet; flush out grey water into the toilet and feel relaxed. It would be easy.        

Dump it in a ground hole away from the campsite

This method is complicated, but it’s harmless. Remember to take a digging tool with you when going out because it is the one you need the most during camping.

Here are the steps to follow consistently.

● Firstly, select a place not close to your campground at a reasonable distance, including half a kilometre. More distance is better because animals like rats and bears can easily trace the location. 

● Secondly, dig a hole that is 6 inches deep or more. 

● Thirdly, pour your grey water into the hole and let it sink properly. 

● Fourthly, when you have poured all the grey water into the hole, then completely seal the hole with the soil. Remember to follow the rule, which is “leave no trace.”

There is a question I must consider as a reader, that is, how would it be a safe method?

Yes, it is a safe method because our earth consists of layers of rock, pebbles, and sand (grainy or fine). Therefore when you pour water into the ground, the sand allows it to pass through all its layers which cleans the grey water through this filtration process. When this water goes to the base, it mixes up with lake water and becomes less harmful to marine life.

Let it evaporate in the sun

Another way to get rid of grey water is to evaporate it in the sun, especially if you have no drain station in a campground or you don’t need to make a hole in the ground for a drain. It is the safest way to eliminate greywater without harming the environment.

What you have to do is place your grey water bucket outside beneath the sun. The hotness of sun rays transforms the water into gas but leaves the solid waste behind; after that, you can put that waste into a plastic bag and place it appropriately. 

Thermal evaporation is a slow process of disposing of greywater, and you need more patience in this method. To quickly do this, you need a wide-mouth container with a larger surface area that speeds up the water evaporation process. 

You can use a plastic sheet if you carry it during camping. You can speed up your process by considering using plastic sheets. You need to spread the sheet on a level surface and fix it with the help of rocks. Ensure the sides are on a higher level than the middle surface. Now transfer all the grey water into the sheet and let it evaporate in a vast surface area.

Grey water VS Blackwater

According to many governments, the significant distinction between greywater and black water is human lavatory waste. The water used by the lavatory is admitted as black water. Black water is refined on a more severe basis than grey water.

There lies a cause in distinguishing both of the waters for their colours. Grey water is usually considered more secure and safe than black water, but there is a lot of knowledge left behind to understand the difference between them. 

You are usually saying that grey water, on the whole, is much more secure than black water to dump into the climate. Whatever the goodness lies with grey water, you might take some precautionary measures while prevailing it again into the climate.       

What is black water?

If you are not familiar with black water, black water is acknowledged as a little bit cleaner than grey water. As far as the source of black water is concerned, it comes through the lavatory. Likewise, in many situations, the source of black water might be the water used in the kitchen. 

It is clear that black water is not of that worth and can be disposed of in the environment directly. It has an amalgam of germs and much harmful stuff, which may be the reason for different diseases. The same is the case with grey water; although it comes from the cuisine, it may have a wide range of germs.

How Are Grey and Black Water Different?

To explain this difference, what would be the criteria for the purest water compared to the polluted one? Permanently acknowledged grey water is the water that passes through washroom showers, washing machines, and the same type of devices. Grey water contains food particles. 

To some extent, Idaho (an American state) suggests that washing machines use water as black water. Henceforth, the water obtained by cuisine basins, which you are getting by cleaning the utensils during your expedition time, is occasionally recommended as grey water and, for the time being, acknowledged as black water.

It is due to many food particles and the utensils’ cleaning soap. Both types of water can negatively influence the climate without passing through the filtration process before dumping into the environment.

Is Grey Water As Bad As Black Water?

It is certainly a debatable question. Somehow it is considered that many types of grey water may contain several germs though not more than black water. In this way, it is not apt for shower and washing machine water in many cases.

Although, the water that contains food particles may have the quality to grow plenty of germs. Bothering about the fact that for washing the food in your kitchen sink and somewhere else you are used to cleaning utensils. We use these places to wash poultry items, eggs, and other products. 

The water used for washing these things will remove the germs. This way, the water becomes as polluted as black water, which is usually considered a texture full of bacteria.  

Final Thoughts: How to Dispose of Grey Water When Camping

Getting rid of grey water becomes easy by using the methods mentioned above. To make it smooth and speedy, try using a considerable mouth container that makes it easy to evaporate the water quickly—using a plastic sheet while camping makes your process quicker. 

Place the sheet on the ground and spread the rocks on all sides. Ensure that the middle part is at a lower level than the sides. Empty your grey water on the sheet and wait for it to evaporate. Hopefully, this article will prove helpful on how to dispose of greywater while camping and will assist you regarding your concerns. 

So, which method would you like to follow in disposing of your grey water? I would love to know your opinion. You can comment below regarding your views.