By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Being an occasional “follower” of various RV discussion groups – forums, if you will – we run across some, shall we say, interesting subjects. No doubt there’s plenty of chatter about the best tow service, clever hints for how to prepare quick meals, and the perennial favorite of what’s the best holding tank treatment. Poop is big on RV forums, and you just can’t seem to get anywhere on a forum without stepping right into it.
Which brings us to the point. For those who boondock regularly, a favorite question is how to be able to stay out on the boonies for as long as possible without having to come back to civilization. The big problem for most is holding tank capacity. We’ll spare you the clever ways folks are dealing with excess gray water, but one subject that should concern all of us is how to make that black water holding tank last and last.
One fellow, evidently somewhat new to the lifestyle, commented that he’d been out a few times with his rig without any problems until a recent trip when he had nine people stashed away in his Bounder for a weekend of camping. By the time he got back home, both his grey and black tanks were nigh unto overflowing and the odor was unbearable. What could he do to make things last better?
Ah, cat holes you say? Yes, that bivouac practice of digging a little hole out there in the wild, doing your duty, and then covering it back over, cat-like. We’d hate to see what the area around his Bounder would’ve looked like with cat holes from nine or ten beer-drinking, brats and burger eating cat hole diggers would be like. Something says it would soon be labeled an EPA “Super Fund Site.”
One suggestion made, and we hate to say it – it wasn’t the first place we’ve seen it made – was to simply deploy kitchen trash bags as covers over the open RV toilet. “Huh?” you say? Let us delicately put it: When you need to go Number 1, go find a handy bush. If you must eliminate certain, more hard-core, odoriferous bodily wastes, you do it in a kitchen trash bag that prevents your solid wastes from going down into the black water holding tank. Just do your thing man, tie the bag off, and dump it off later.
We have never, thankfully, had the thankless job of being the campground trash man. Just opening the lid of a dumpster is enough to make knees weak on a hot day. But it’s simply unimaginable to think of dealing with kitchen trash bags loaded with human waste. According to the American Public Health Association, “More than 100 different enteric viruses, including polio and hepatitis are known to be excreted in human feces and these viruses can live for months after the stool as passed from the body.”
For those who say, “There ought to be a law,” in many places there is. In Seattle, for example, a portion of the municipal code reads: “The following shall not be deposited or discarded into any commercial or residential garbage can, container or receptacle: Dead animals over fifteen (15) pounds; sewage; human or animal excrement . . .”
Seems like common sense, and if you will, human decency not to bag and trash your poop.