Leave No Footprint: Disposing Of Grey Waste From Your Caravan

A caravan purchase is an exciting process. Your home on the road can now include a plethora of accessories such as a washing machine and dishwasher. Whilst these make travel more convenient, they add a new dimension to the issue of waste disposal. Many camp grounds are changing their rules for discarding sink and shower water, known as grey waste. It is therefore important to consider the problems of grey waste carefully when purchasing your van.

Changing Rules

Overseas visitors, families and grey nomads are increasingly taking advantage of the free or subsidised campgrounds provided by councils or national parks across the country. Often these grounds are located near waterways or delicate ecosystems. Whereas it was once acceptable to dispose of grey water via a sullage hose, environmental concerns have caused many campgrounds to ban this. You must find an eco-friendly method to dispose of this waste. These are your options:

  • Some campgrounds have a designated dump point for wastewater. Simply collect the water in a bucket under your van and carry it to the spot. Be careful not to let the bucket overflow.
  • If you must take grey water out of the campground, purchase inexpensive, collapsible 20 litre water containers. The water can then be dumped at a designated sullage pit after you leave the grounds.
  • You can install a grey water tank under your caravan. Pipes and fittings can be purchased from your local hardware store. Remember that the size of your tank and the amount of water you use will dictate how long you can stay at a campground with no sullage pit.

Planning Your Trip

If you haven't yet purchased a caravan, ask a dealer, such as The Caravan Company Pty Ltd, about options for a grey water tank. This means that you won't risk exclusion from any of Australia's camping areas which demand that vehicles be self-contained. The tank is also more convenient than using a bucket or transporting waste water in containers in your boot. Here are other factors to consider.

  • Research campgrounds where you are planning to stay and determine their rules for waste disposal. You will know in advance if your stay will be curtailed by the amount of grey water you can store in your tank or containers.  
  • Use the National Public Toilet Map or purchase a road atlas which indicates waste dumps across Australia. Most major towns will have one nearby, but you may need to plan more carefully when going off the beaten track.
  • Use shower or camp kitchen facilities provided at campgrounds whenever possible to reduce your grey water.  
  • Intersperse your stays at free campgrounds with fee-paying caravan parks. Any grey water you are carrying can be dumped at the sullage pits provided.

Caravanning around Australia can be the adventure of a lifetime. With a little forethought, you won't spend your time worrying about grey water instead of enjoying the wonderful scenery.