What is Gray Water? Gray water is water that has been used for cooking, washing, dishwashing, or bathing and contains soap, detergent, food scraps, or food residue.
Why is it a problem? While gray water is a lot less harmful to the environment than wastewater from toilet facilities, which is called black water, gray water is still technically sewage and can run-off or leach through the soil to enter waterways and aquifers, resulting in algal blooms or other water quality issues.
It is part of your responsibility to properly dispose of your grey water properly and safely. Be kind to the environment – do not dump anything that would cause harm! Foodstuff and oil should never be disposed of on the ground or in porto potties.
Under absolutely no circumstances may cooking grease or oil, bacon or other, be disposed of anywhere on the property: you must take this off-site to dispose of it!
What can I NOT do with my gray water? Please do not dispose of any gray water within 100 feet of any running water or other surface water. Make a plan for off-site gray water disposal to reduce the disturbance to the local habitat. Do NOT put it in the porto potties! Each potty can handle only pee, poop, and special toilet paper (single ply) — absolutely nothing else. Toilets are for black water, not gray water.
What CAN I do with my gray water? You can manage small amounts of gray water that is environmentally conscious. All food and solid matter must be manually removed from your dishes, cooking, and serving equipment. Any water used for cooking or cleaning dishes in your camp should be manually strained to remove particulate matter – a mesh colander works well. Small amounts of strained, non greasy gray water can be spread on the ground 100 feet or more from running water or other surface water.
For more significant gray water issues, including regular food preparation, you & your camp should have a LNT (Leave No Trace) plan to carry out your gray water when you leave the site.