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Is It Illegal to Dump Grey Water on the Ground?

If you’ve ever taken a family trip using the RV, or traveled on a sailboat, you’re probably somewhat familiar with what grey water is and understand that it should be deposited in a chemically safe manner. But for those of you who don’t know: simply put, grey water is water that has been used, whether in a bath, sink, washing machine, or a kitchen appliance. Besides being a bit gross, grey water poses a potential health hazard because it can eventually turn into black water, which is an extremely dirty and sludge-like substance that holds onto disease and bacteria like no other.

It goes with a saying that any type of used water, if it can be classified as grey water, is incredibly harmful, and it is almost certainly illegal to carelessly dump on the ground, depending on the context. At least, most municipalities and states have strident laws against the practice, and you will be fined a hefty sum for not properly pumping your waste using a safe and healthy method.

Here are some of the states in which looking into specialized gear to help get rid of grey water. It will be beneficial for you, your family and community, and in turn ensure that you avoid legal action.

Mobile Home Country – South Carolina

Perhaps you live in a state like South Carolina wherein mobile homes are widespread, and your family lives in one. Or, perhaps you use an RV for recreational purposes and weekend getaways. In any case, all the used water that doesn’t go through the toilet is typically stored in what’s called a grey water tank, separate from the black water tank which holds more toxic human waste. As previously mentioned, grey water is technically semi-clean, but it will eventually turn into black water, which is why proper disposal of it in different stages is vital.

For instance, some mobile homeowners make the mistake of believing that they can reuse grey water for their private garden, however, that’s illegal, even if technically it is your own property. According to the law in South Carolina, any vessel equipped with an installed toilet must have an approved Marine Sanitation Device. Furthermore, it is illegal for any vessel to discharge treated or untreated sewage into zones specifically designated as “no discharge zones.” A violation would result in a criminal misdemeanor charge in addition to a fine.

Burning Man – Nevada

The Burning Man Festival is the biggest event to hit Nevada every year, and is an internationally renowned experience that draws huge crowds. Therefore, the issue of grey water and its disposal is incredibly vital. Because so many festival goers tend to go to Burning Man using their own RVs, the festival has set up their own set of policies and procedures concurrent with state law. Dump stations are provided by the state, and while grey water is technically legal in most cases, it truly depends on the context. If you have left the grey water to fester long enough at Burning Man, you would definitely be slapped with a criminal charge.

Beware the Kitchen – Arizona

In some states, the misuse of grey water in the kitchen is not only harmful but also illegal. Homeowners must ensure that their abodes are well-equipped to handle excess dishwater or bathwater; if not they will be subject to violation of the state and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

A Dark Matter

Whatever the case, and whichever state you reside, make sure you understand the difference between grey and black water, and educate yourself on the legal ramifications according to your area. Also, always look into tools that can help you dispose your waste in a safe and efficient manner. With the technology available nowadays, you’re sure to find a helpful device within your price point.

Last edited by David James
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