Dumping Black Water in Forest

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by tarawes8182, May 17, 2018.

  1. tarawes8182

    tarawes8182 New Member

    May 17, 2018
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Hi all... I'm new here and a newish PUP owner (6 month owner) with a 2018 Flagstaff 205 PUP. It has a Thetford cassette toilet and I've noticed that it tends to fill up quickly with a child and wife. Anything after day 4 and it's screaming at us.

    We have only been camping at sites with hookups and/or that have dump stations. I'll usually go every other day so that I don't have to handle a full container of... stuff. We are coming up on a long weekend (Memorial Day) and we will be boon-docking up in the AZ mountains (Coconino). I know for a fact that the cassette will not hold 5 days of our stuff, which puts me into a situation.

    I have looked through all the requirements and limits and it's a little grey on the black water situation (excuse my pun). Wash water can be dumped straight on the ground (water and soap- like showers). Grey water with food particles are a no unless buried. And then I've read, and I quote: "Dispose of human waste in catholes, 6-8" deep, 200 feet from water, trails & camp" from the USDA website.

    Based off this, I would assume if I dig a long enough hole, deep enough I would be able to dump black water as long as I follow all other requirements. Again, this isn't a 25gallon black water tank. It'll be a 5 gallon cassette.

    Any direction or experience would be greatly appreciated. And if I missed the post somewhere on the forum I apologize.
  2. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2016
    King George, Virginia
    I usually find a primitive toilet somewhere close-by when we are way back off the road somewhere... Also note where those are located at when you are first coming into those areas....

    I have also dug a shallow hole and poured my cassette pottie black tank back in the woods somewhere...

    Gotta do what you gotta do sometimes...

    Roy Ken
  3. soft 17

    soft 17 Active Member

    Mar 14, 2017
    San Luis Obispo
    When I used to tent camp in the mountains we would dig a pit toilet about 20" deep. I dont see an issue especially if you are using rv toilet paper.
  4. Dan from Troup

    Dan from Troup Well-Known Member

    Apr 25, 2018
    Troup, Texas
    Personally I don't think it's offensive or unethical to bury waste. That's what a septic system is, a sub-surface waste system that uses bacteria to break down solids. When I wilderness canoe paddle I bury my poo. Perhaps the occasional burying of waste is not a significant impact on the environment but when it's impacted by numerous campers, laws are passed to make it illegal to protect the land and water from overuse. This is a situation of situational ethics; all depends on the situation and the laws surrounding waste in the area of concern.
  5. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    I was going to state exactly what you qouted, in a hole a good ways from water. However, not sure this method would be okay with chemicals added. It might be if they are some kind of natural thing that works like yeast.

    Sorry, just the first example I could think of to kind of express what I mean. Like a eco reaction type chemical that's not really a chemical.

    LOL I give up. Just Google about environmentally safe alternatives for the black water, then should be fine. :smiley:
  6. Customer

    Customer Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2014
    Catholes are meant to be single use. Do not dump your cassette anywhere but an approved site. Get caught dumping the cassette in a state or national park and you will probably be arrested. There is nowhere on public land that it is acceptable to dump five gallons of waste.

    You know hopefully that the cassette can be poured into a toilet? If necessary take it to the closest rest area, gas station, etc., and dispose of the waste properly.
    tfischer and nineoaks2004 like this.
  7. generok

    generok Well-Known Member

    Feb 7, 2013
    Anchorage, AK
    While my wastewater expertise is specific to Alaska, I can expand slightly.

    Like others have said, catholes are for the human waste only. The excrement and urine are technically not black water UNTIL you mix them in with water. I know of no state in the union where it is legal, even situationally, to dispose of untreated blackwater onto or into the land. Will you get caught? Unlikely. Will it damage the environment, not likely. Could it be a potential human health risk... maybe if someone digs and does the same thing in the same spot.

    So, I will give you the regulator answer first: you should dispose of all wastewater only at an authorized facility for the type of waste being disposed of.

    Now, I will give you the practical solution. Most states recognize in remote locations, humans need to go. So, you COULD actually use catholes like they say, and extend your cassette a little for the DW maybe. You could also ease off on the liquid contributions and find a nice tree or rock... humans did it for thousands of years. You can also get a second unit, but I know that's pricey. If there is a vault toilet on the public land, it's a better option to dump there. Now, you COULD transfer the contents into a SECOND container, say a really good 5 gallon bucket with a ROCK SOLID lid. I'd even line the bucket with a good bag, fill it, tie the bag, THEN put on the lid. Then, dump that and the cassette. That's probably the best solution, but you have to get a little personal with your product. But, you gotta do what you gotta do.

    Every day I have to tell folks that the thing they want to do that they convince themselves is okay, is not actually okay. No one snowflake feels responsible for the avalanche.
  8. Natureangel

    Natureangel Everythings better outdoors...

    Feb 28, 2016
    I would invite the wife to "pop a squat" and save the toilet for the child. Perhaps if you explain that it really is a great thigh work out she may embrace it.
    SongCamper likes this.
  9. HC1

    HC1 New Member

    Nov 3, 2017
    buy another cassette, that way you have 10 gallons total and can empty them properly.

    catholes are not for 5 gallons of black water.
    Dan from Troup likes this.
  10. Dan from Troup

    Dan from Troup Well-Known Member

    Apr 25, 2018
    Troup, Texas
    What a great idea. Even though with wilderness camping as in backpacking/paddling I do single use dumps and never in same spot, I probably wouldn't dump black water even if boondocking. Grey water....probably since I have no holding tank and would be limited on grey water storage unless I had lots of storage containers.

    On the subject of grey water. If your boondocking and store all your grey water and dump later at an approved dump station, how to you load and tote it? In a commercial cg one can tow it to the dump station but when boondocking there's probably no dump station nearby to haul to. Since I tow with a PU, I could load in back of truck but a 32 gal grey water tote weighs 256 pounds which is more than my wife and I can lift. Do you use a bunch of smaller 5 gal. containers that would be #40 each? Trying to decide what size grey water tote/totes to get?
  11. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

    Jul 18, 2013
    Thornville, OH
    Make sure the chemical you are using in the toilet is biodegradable and environmentally. I know the original telford is not. Otherwise, I don't see a problem with it.
  12. Adam Connolly

    Adam Connolly Member

    May 18, 2018
    What about gettingca luggable loo. Its a 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat and locking lid. We use one all the time for camping. But we put a garbage bag in it and a few big scoops of clumping cat litter. Its just for pee and the odd #2 in an emergency. No odour easy to dispose and your not filling up you cassette toilet with pee and water. You can then trench the clumps minus the bag of course we put the old bag in another garbage bag for garbage disposal. Hope this helps
  13. HC1

    HC1 New Member

    Nov 3, 2017
    Search for 5 gallon water container there will be a lot of options. The Reliance aquatainer is a good one.

    I don't think you would be able to lift any wheeled tote once it is filled, even the Barker 10 gallon would weigh 80 pounds full.
  14. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2015
    No need to have grey water capacity greater than your fresh water capacity. I use a 15 gallon tote, when it's time to refill the fresh tank it's time to empty the grey tank, which is about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Many people opt for multiple 7 gallon aquatainers which are easier to handle and easier to dump into a toilet. Load up the cassette, which is also about 2/3 full and make one trip for all 3.

    As I get older it gets harder to lift the tote into the truck, so I may be going to the aquatainers pretty soon.
  15. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2016
    I would never dump the contents of a toilet while camping. Almost impossible to dig a hole deep enough and since most people try to camp near water it will make its way into the groundwater then a stream or lake.
    Orchid and Natureangel like this.
  16. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

    Oct 15, 2006
    Graceville, Florida

    X 2 I totally agree with customer. Maybe a portable tote to empty the waste into until you can find a suitable (and possibly) legal place to dump.
    Orchid likes this.
  17. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2013
    If there is nobody around everyone should be digging a hole and squatting. Just use the toilet for night time pee.
    CivilizedOne, Orchid and Natureangel like this.
  18. Dan from Troup

    Dan from Troup Well-Known Member

    Apr 25, 2018
    Troup, Texas
    Depends on area and rules regarding waste. Paddled the Pecos River into Lake Powell and out for a week. Half way into our paddle a ranger in a canoe paddled up and wanted to inspect our groover (toilet). Big time fine for not packing out solid waste. We peed in the water which is ok. Gotta check the laws/rules in the area you're camping.
  19. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    Customer is absolutely correct. I would like to take back my earlier advice. That was my brain on drugs. (prescribed - Ambien) My daytime brain would never advise dumping 6 gallons of waste into a hole. I agree on finding a gas station or something (with an exterior bathroom [LOL]) to dump it properly, or pack it out.
  20. Dingit

    Dingit Active Member

    Mar 8, 2017
    I don't know how the flush system on cassettes works, but you can really get a LOT of uh..material into a manual flush porta potty by controlling the amount of water used for flushing and err...good targeting.

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