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RVer Dumps Black Water in Park, Taxpayers Foot the Cleaning Bill

You can’t just dump your black water anywhere if you haven’t heard. Doing so can create serious safety and sanitation issues.

Unfortunately, we recently heard about an RVer doing precisely that. They left a disgusting mess behind for local authorities to clean up.

Today, we’re looking at this outrageous and stinky situation to see what all the fuss is about.

Let’s get started!

RVer Dumps Black Water, Leaves Mess for City to Clean Up

Officials in Kalamazoo, Michigan, blame an RVer for a mess left behind in a local park. Officials received several complaints, including from individuals playing golf at a nearby golf course.

For these golfers, the 13th hole was unlucky on this day. Those on the course reported smelling what they believed was a dead animal. 

With so many complaints, authorities turned their attention to Milham Park. Upon arriving at the scene, it was evident to officials that the odor was raw sewage. 

They estimate that the individuals involved emptied approximately 50 gallons of human waste onto the ground. Eyewitnesses stated there was a trail from the sewage and toilet paper on the pavement. The area was immediately closed and cleaned to make it safe again.

When individual RVers dump black water inappropriately, it’s a strike against the camping community. This classless behavior shows no regard for others or the environment. Situations like this are why many areas create restrictions for overnight parking.

FYI: Can I Dump Black Water at Home?

What Is RV Black Water?

Black water combines human waste, toilet paper, and other solids or liquids flushed down the toilet. This raunchy mixture sits in storage tanks mounted to the RV’s frame. Over time, it thickens into a disgusting concoction. While it may not be black, it gets its name from the dark color.

One mistake many new camper owners make is confusing black and gray tanks. However, the most significant difference is that the gray containers don’t contain toilet waste.

They’re primarily soapy liquids from sinks and shower drains. However, they can hold food particles and oils that become smelly over time.

Is It Illegal to Dump RV Black Water on the Ground?

Dumping RV black water on the ground is illegal because of the potential for sanitation and environmental issues. When yours needs emptying, you should only do so safely and correctly.

Authorities take these offenses very seriously and often issue stiff fines and punishments. One RVer in California accused of this crime faced a $25,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

While there are a few exceptions for emptying gray water, it’s generally not wise. Putting 50 to 100 gallons of liquid onto the ground can destroy the environment and attract animals.

However, it remains an issue despite being illegal and carrying severe consequences. We frequently see and hear stories where RVers drain their waste inappropriately. These events cause those outside the recreational vehicle community to have a negative outlook on the RV lifestyle. 

We can’t overstate this. Find the nearest dump station if you’re full. Later, we’ll share some tips and tricks for finding these spots. You’ll be glad to know that technology can make it easier than ever before. 

How Do You Clean Up a Black Water Spill?

Unfortunately, even when you’re careful, there’s a chance you’ll eventually have a spill. If you accidentally dump black water in the wrong place, quickly and effectively clean up the mess. This isn’t a task you’ll want to delay addressing.

These spills can cause severe damage to the environment and pose a serious health risk. The longer you let it sit, the more damage can occur. Health experts state that direct contact with raw sewage can lead to tetanus, hepatitis A, E. coli, and other issues.

To get started, close off the area and keep children and pets away from the scene. You don’t want anyone or anything making the situation worse. It’s also a good idea to wear protection like gloves, a mask, and even goggles.

Do your best to contain the mess and clean it up. Use ground limestone on the area for smaller quantities and spray it with water when dry. However, larger spills will likely require an expert to ensure it’s dealt with appropriately.

Any contaminated surfaces will need to go through a disinfection process. This typically requires giving them a good scrubbing with hot water, bleach, and soap. Wash affected clothing as soon as possible and avoid letting waste come in contact with other materials.

Where Do You Dump a Black Water Tank When Boondocking?

Some campers enjoy boondocking, dry camping, or lot docking. These are very different styles but require you to camp without hookups, including a sewer connection. As a result, you’ll need to find a place to empty your containers when they’re full.

We regularly use the websites and apps for Campendium, iOverlander, and AllStays during our travels. These resources can use your current location to help you pinpoint the nearest spot to unload your waste. Additionally, you can use them to find places along your route, so you don’t have to go out of your way.

There are many locations where you can properly dump black water when boondocking. A few places we’ve used are campgrounds, truck stops, and interstate rest stops. Many campgrounds will let non-guests fill up or empty their tanks for a minimal fee.

However, check the nightly rate because sometimes it’s worth a few extra bucks to have power and a spot to stay for the night.

You can also use a portable tote when boondocking. These are available in various sizes, typically 15 to 36 gallons. Transfer the material into these totes and then haul them to the nearest dump station. 

This can help you avoid taking your entire rig to the sanitation station. Just be aware that 36 gallons can weigh over 300 pounds. If you’re not careful, you can throw out your back trying to move it around or lift it into the bed of your truck.

Properly Dispose of Waste to Stay In Good Graces

Sadly, the unfortunate and inconsiderate actions of others affect the rest of us. The fools who dump black water anywhere ruin it for the rule followers. 

Be a responsible RVer by properly disposing of your waste and reporting those who don’t. Doing your part to minimize messes helps everyone avoid future issues with traveling.

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