Saturday, January 1, 2011

Grey hair in my Grey water

I don't know why they call it "grey" water.. its mostly a brackish brown.

This tiny house has no grey water holding tanks either. It does have a drain from the kitchen sink leading to the outside via PVC pipe and then drops down to a hose fitting. I attach a regular old garden hose to the fitting then the other end of the hose goes to a "Blue Boy".. attached in the same manner.. via hose.

It isn't as elegant as having a permanently affixed holding tank, but under most of my living situations, I would have to either move my rig to drain the tank, or drain the tank into a portable one and take it to the dump anyway. I have just, sort of, eliminated the middle part this way.

I have two blue boys, actually, as grey water will ovetake you without notice. One is in use, the other is in the wings. I swap them as needed. Dumping them is done simply enough, you take them to the blue boy dump, pour into the hole and rinse. I am small and can't lift a ton, so my tanks are 5 and 6 gallons. The 6 gallon one is set up to stand on end with a hose fitting on one, and a standard RV sewer hose fitting on the other. In the rare case I have sewer hook ups, I stand the thing on end, attach the garden hose on one end, the sewer hose on the other and the water simply passes thru the blue boy to the magic place. Gravity. Its everywhere.. and free.

Dumping this is also not gross. The blue boys have sealed caps and fittings so you can pick em up, swing them in a big circle over your head and not spill a drop. Your doctor will love you if you do this part, but I can't recommend this type of leak test.

Its just dish and shower water. Considering your hands have been immersed in it, and you entire body carried around the particles in it for a day.. not a big deal. Its already BEEN on you.

That leads me to popular question #2. Showering. Showering is the act of getting your entire body wet via some sort of flowing water, soaping up and rinsing off. I do this daily. I don't have a knob I turn that water comes out of and then drains away to an affixed tank.. no, not yet. But I DO stand under flowing water, soap up, rinse and get very clean.

Eventually, when I have the time (I have all the parts.. ain't that the story in any life) I will have a nice knob to turn, yes. It will give me both hot and cold water. For NOW, I make my own hot water.

A stainless steel teapot is my water heater for all things requiring the warm wet stuff. It still amazes me just how little is required for each task. In a Stay Put house, a traditional water heater constantly heats gallons and gallons of the stuff. All day and night long. I paid for that, even if I didn't need or actually use that much.

I can heat, to boiling, 2 quarts of hot water in the tea pot in about 4 minutes on my gas stovetop. It's my temporary version of an on demand hot water heater. Mixing with a gallon and 1/2 of room temp water creates the perfect shower temp for me and is just the right amount of water to get squeaky clean and then some.

The water is mixed in a nice container that came with my actual shower system. The system basically consists of a small submersible battery powered water pump, a hose and a shower head. There are a dozen different brands designed for temporary use while camping. Coleman, Zodi, Reliance and Northwest Territory are just a few names.. but they all are basically the same and function under the same concept. (For yet another post, the shower pump serves double duty, as it is the means for transferring water into my fresh water holding tank.)

I turn the pump on, water comes out of the shower head, pours all over my pitiful old bod and I get clean.. just like the rest of the world. And no, I ain't posting pics :-P

With no drainage system yet, I actually use a long and short Rubbermaid style tote tub to catch the water. I shower in a separate room in the trailer originally intended to be a closet, but it is HUGE and I am not sure why the manufacturer just didn't make a real bathroom there. Thats a post for another day too.. but I make it work by using a shower curtain that goes around the room and hangs into the tub. I don't make a mess and there is no water damage to the rig.

The tote tub then gets picked up and dumped into the sink and goes to the blue boy. No big deal, it isn't heavy.

I often do not use all the water I have prepped for the shower either. Getting clean can be done in just a couple minutes this way. With the low pressure system as I am using, it can take up to 5 mins to use all the water. I don't feel like I am getting a sub standard cleansing, I get completely soaked, completely rinsed and completely cleansed, head to foot..including shaving. I now realize that we as Stay Put folks don't know just how wasteful and un necessary a lot of our "necessities" are. Or just how expensive once all costs are totaled for the hardware and fuel to do this in a house.

I must admit that standing under a hot shower and just letting it run for therapeutic reasons is a pleasure, but it is not a necessity for daily use. When I am in a place that has a high pressure traditional shower available, and it is clean, I will use them for just that purpose.

And there will be no pics of THAT either.....


  1. Hi Gina. I've been following your blog for a couple of months now, & just wanted to say how informative your post is today. We have plans to full-time in our 17' Casita, and although it has holding tanks, water heater, & a wet-bath, we plan to bookdock as much as possible. Your ingenuity for using & disposing of gray water is inspirational! Thanks.

    I have a little blog at about our camping & traveling adventures, plus the ways we're trying to have all the comforts of "home" in a small travel trailer.

    ~~ Glenda ~~

  2. Thank You. You are going to have a blast once you hit the road and the Casita is a great choice for doing so.

    I still whimper over not having my 17 ft Burro anymore, but one of the things you will find is that you constantly need to make adjustments.. big and small, and what you originally envisioned is not always how it works best.

    My animals come first, and this is a great compromise for both them and me.. but I am keeping a stout eye out for more glass.. a Bigfoot 17, or something that will work even better for me.

    All it takes is money and time.. time I have, and its the better of the two.