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Time to Evacuate
Emptying your toilet waste is fun — said no one ever. But here’s everything you need to know to do it safely, legally and without any splashback.
Words and Images by: COLIN KERR W7871

A happy traveller emptying his chemical toilet

This heading is probably enough to send a shiver up the spine, or at least bring a grimace to the face of most travellers — especially those who are new to this type of modern ablution facility.

Indeed, this dreaded job is certainly not the most enjoyable part of motorhome travel, but properly disposing of our daily human waste is a job which just has to be done! Yes, if you have moved on from the days of taking a spade and toilet roll for a walk in the bush and you now have the luxury of a chemical toilet/ porta-potti/eco loo, then things are somewhat more civilised, but even then, there are guidelines which should be followed to make the system work well for you and others.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

To ensure your portable toilet system operates efficiently, make sure you use your chemicals according to instructions and put a couple of litres of clean and fresh water into your unit with them. Don’t try to skimp, because they need those volumes to break ‘things’ down and do the job properly. Nappy treatment products containing sodium percarbonate (or other bio-stimulant products) are also popular alternatives.

When using these modern ablution facilities, do not put any other waste/rubbish, including disposable nappies, sanitary pads, wet wipes (that do not easily break down), into your cassette or the dump point. Such items can clog up the system, putting it out of action until the blockage can be cleared. If you want to use wet wipes, a good idea is to place them into a plastic bag (keep a few bags close to your loo) and then put them in your rubbish.

Always close up when you’re done, for everyone’s sake

Depending on the capacity of your cassette toilet and the amount of waste accumulated, it is generally necessary to empty the unit at least every three or four days — much longer and the effect of the chemicals starts to wear off and unpleasant odours can emerge.

When it comes to dump points there are more and more of these facilities being set up in towns and popular camping spots around the  country. The CMCA, KEA Campers and local authorities are to be congratulated on this initiative.

GETTING THE JOB DONE

When emptying your unit, always ensure that you hold the cassette outlet as close as possible to the dump point hole, or even into the neck of the hole, to minimise mess and splatter!

In most places a tap/hose is supplied to wash down the facility after you have used it, to rinse out your cassette unit (at least a couple of times) and put a couple of litres of water into it with your new lot of chemicals for ongoing use. Where only one tap/hose is provided, do not use it to top up your drinking water tanks. This may not be potable drinking water and, in any case, serious contamination can occur in these situations because of where this hose has been — washing down the dump point and cleaning the insides of cassettes, etc. A dump point which is left closed up, clean and tidy, makes it healthier, hygienic, and pleasant for the next person who uses the facility compared to a filthy/obnoxious mess like we have unfortunately come across a couple of times in our travels. Use your own water supply (sparingly, of course) to do the wash-down job if no other water is supplied.

It’s common courtesy to wash the facility when you’ve finished your ‘business’

Another thing to remember at dump points is it should not be a communal activity! The unwritten rule here is to use the dump point one at a time. It is total ignorance or just plain bad manners to be dumping two (or more) at a time, let alone the embarrassment of splashing someone with your toilet waste. Stand back and let the other person finish their job. You can certainly have a sociable time with others who may be standing back in a queue, but only one at a time at the site please!

By following these dump point guidelines, you have made this essential chore that much more pleasant for yourself and others, and you can now get on with your holiday!

Emptying your cassette is a solo pursuit so give other users some space

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Category: Features
Written: Wed 01 Jan 2020
Printed: January, 2020
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