Fresh, grey or waste water in caravan or camper

When we bought Martha, one of the first matters I had to deal was water management inside the vehicle: this was due to the fact that since I was a child I used to go camping in tent or bungalow: so the first time I saw tanks and discharges I had to ask to Daniele to well explain me how they work, because he already had experienced his parents’ caravans and campers. The theoretical partition between fresh water, grey water and waste water in terms of leisure vehicles (caravans or campers or whatever are) is definitely less complex than the one officially in use for multi-unit buildings and in general for legislative purposes.

In general, the words FRESH WATER in camper or caravan mean clean water, basically not yet used water that will flow through the sinks (and the WC discharge if you have a fixed bathroom) of the vehicle. GREY WATER are discharges of sinks and showers, while the words WASTE WATER refer to WC discharges, usually “enriched” by your bathroom business but also by chemical additives that always give to your vehicle a clean scent!

How does fresh water “work”?

Usually fresh water is charged differently depending on the vehicle and the type of its tanks. Martha is kind of old and has still some simple free tank, one for each sink: we charge these tanks when we stop and discharge them before leaving. Each of the two sinks has a little pump plunging with the tube. It’s simple, don’t you think? Simple charge and discharge, simple maintenance, even if for many aspects it’s not always the easy way. In the little bathroom we use the Roller original tank, the one of the sink is indeed a soft tank, the best solution, we think, for the small space in which it has to be.

Tanica bagno roulotte

The Roller original tank for bathroom water sink

 Tanica lavandino roulotte

The soft tank for water sink of Martha’s Kitchen

Modern caravans and campers, indeed, usually have a single tank with a pump big and powerful enough to supply skins, shower and WC. Usually you can charge the tank with a tube, but it’s harder to clean because it’s not a simple tank. However, unlike our system, it has the great benefit not to getting in your way and there is no risk to make nice little pools on the floor every time you have to move one tank. In addition, discharging it is not required every time you leave!

The third option (we’re considering it for Martha) is to create a single tank for both the two sinks, with a single pump, and to put it inside the storage space.

This is one of the works for which we’re asking for a price, because we think it’s a compromise solution perfect for us: no more flooding and the possibility to save some little but indispensable square centimetre inside the bathroom!

Our advice about using fresh water is: don’t drink water flowing from the tank. Even if you’re sure about its cleanliness, don’t risk to spend the day in the bathroom, especially if you charge the tank with the tubes of waste areas, someone else could use them in the wrong way, maybe dropping the tube in grey water or – worst – waste water tank.

How does grey water “work”?

Martha has two pretty boorish discharges: two simple plastic tubes coming out from the floor. For collecting them we use the bottom of an old marine WC we got from Martha’s previous owners and a handy tank with also an opening on its side.

Tanica acque grigie

The tank we use for discharging the kitchen sink

Modern vehicles have one single tank for all the discharges, and it is internal and can be emptied in different ways, surely easily and more hygienically than two tanks on the ground.

Another little work we want to do on Martha is at least to unify the two grey water discharges, so we can keep just one tank and discharge it more often.

How does waste water “work”?

We use a simple marine WC, but modern caravans and campers can have different systems of waste water storage and discharge.

A system we saw in some camper is the tank integrated in the bathroom area: you have just to open a compartment door from the outside of the camper, remove the tank and discharge it just like you do with the one of a normal marine WC.

WC chimico scarico

Chemical bathroom’s tank integrated in a camper

Bagno Ela

Allcar caravan’s bathroom with integrated tank

Otherwise, for campers you can also find the integrated tank system: it can be discharged only inside waste areas.

Talking about discharging: where can you discharge grey and waste water?

People who have removable tanks can easily manage discharging: grey water can easily be discharged like a dirty water bucket, in grates or sinks, even if we prefer discharging in chemical WC (or WC KIMIK, like it’s written usually in campsites). Chemical WC, properly indicated in every campsite, is the only place where you can discharge waste water tanks! You can theoretically do it also in a normal bathroom, for example, if you use the bathroom while coming back home, you surely cannot wait for the next camping to discharge it, so you can use your home WC.

It’s different for campers with integrated and not removable tanks: in this case you can discharge ONLY AND EXCLUSIVELY in waste areas with the appropriate mark.

Area scarico autorizzata

Waste area mark

Waste areas are always a soul note for campers travelling in Italy, especially in the southern-central regions, because they’re not enough and they’re usually private: this means that maybe they’re not open all year round.

People who have a camper should usually be informed about waste areas’ presence on their way; you can find a lot of websites (Camper Online, Turismo Itinerante, Camper Life just to name some of them), but it would be a good idea to have an updated paper map on the vehicle!

Discharging water around the streets is liable to heavy fines and is a sing of infinite barbarity and ignorance.

Even discharging grey water on the camping ground is a disgusting thing: think about people coming there after you.

Another very sticky situation, but we rarely saw it, is to find a dirty chemical WC: please, don’t. You can use the water tube to clean it, don’t be uncivil!

Daniele Angelini

Daniele is a web designer, has created the site and takes care of its maintenance and all the technical and boring technical aspects. When he is not around for Italy, he works as an UX designer in a company that mainly deals with graphics and web development. He is passionate about sport fishing and camping trips as a child.

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