Floriday gray water issue resolved

By Cliff Maurand

In early December the State of Florida's Dept of Health resolved an issue concerning gray water storage. Of primary concern was the State's prohibition on the use of transportable gray water tanks, commonly refered to as "Blue Tote's" due to some perceived health problems. This created problems for campers who try to abide by the law and not dump their gray water on the ground, yet couldn't use special "tanks" designed to hold the product. In effect, it made it nearly impossible for campers without 'fixed' holding tanks to contain and properly dispose of their wash water.

Apparently a group of pop-up campers from Florida helped push the legistlation through by staying in touch with key personel. In a memorandum from the Florida Dept of Health addressing this issue (Department Policy DOHP 305-001-01), they have established a policy for the use of "Transportable wastewater containers and cassette-type toilets, and became effective December 3rd 2001. While it is not a permant piece of legistlation, it will remain in effect until the FDOH make a more permanent ruling.

In short, the current ruling covers the issue as follows...

  • A. Only water from bathing, hand washing and kitchen sinks may be transported in transportable wastewater containers. These containers must be sealed prior to leaving the campsite, and spills reported as detailed.

  • B. Cassette toilets are approved for the transport of toilet waste provided they are sealed prior to transportation and spills reported as detailed.

  • C. The owner/operator of the park or campground must agree to the use of these containers, and must provide signage or otherwise notify the residents and guests in writing of the park/camp requirements about such use.

  • D. No toilet wastewater may be transported from recreational vehicles except as described in (B) above.

  • E. Guest and residents of parks and camps allowing the use of the transportable containers must be informed of the designated park employees who are to be contacted in the event of a spill. Spills are to be reported immediately to the designated park employees. The designated park employees must disinfect spills immediately.

The ruling goes on to describe how the signage is to be posted, as well as basic spill clean-up procedures, including a spill kit equipment list. Oddly enough, the FDOH seems to treat spilled dishwater much the same way as one would handle radioactive waste. However, we applaud the FDOH for finding a solution to the problem in short order.

Gray Water Blues

Only in Florida can it be illegal to wash your dishes!

By Cliff Maurand

Campers heading to Florida and intending to use a tent, or pop-up camper could find themselves in hot water (or gray water to be precise). As it turns out, the State of Florida does not allow the use of portable gray water containers, nor do they allow you to dump gray water on the ground. And most campgrounds do not have facilities designed for, or allow campers to perform routine task's such as washing dishes. So unless you have a fully self contained unit, with hard storage gray/black water system, you could find your self in trouble, and yes, evening getting a citation.

So what are you suppose to do with your gray water? How do you wash dishes? Right now, the only way you can do that in a Florida campground, is to do it illegally! The state simply does not allow for the use of small portable gray water containers, and more over, will issue a citation if your caught using one.

This is an ironic (or moronic) item that is on the State of Florida's offical law books. There has been a grass root's effort to get this law changed, which has been spear headed by some of the folk's over at 'Pop-up Times' magazine (and website).

The good news here is, that the State of Florida is closing in on a rules change that will allow for the use of portable gray water containers. While the new rule has not been issued yet, it should look something like this... It must be specifically designed and sold for holding and transporting wastewater, and must have a tight-capping lid and watertight connections that under normal use will not leak or spill.

Oddly enough, the powers that be are enforcing these rules, but only in specific parks. Though it should be the same everywhere, some parks such as the campground at Disney are requesting campers to utilize leak proof gray water containers in order to do the obvious, prevent the stuff from being spilled or leaked onto the ground. Leave it to a commercial enterprise to do things the logical way.

When this issue get's resolved by the Florida legislature, we'll post an update to this story! Until then, Florida campers will just have to wash their dishes after it get's dark out!

Gone Camping Network
Copyright © 2001 Maurand Inc.