How to use dump stations in New Zealand

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A dump station is a small facility designed for the proper disposal of wastewater from recreational vehicles e.g. motorhomes, campervans and boats.

If you are new to campervan camping, then this is definitely something you should read before you head off on your next dream adventure. And if you are already a camper veteran, then this might be old news to you, but it is always good to refresh your memory!

Take a couple of minutes to get familiar with dump stations:

There are a lot of dump stations all over the country.

They are provided by many regional councils, often in partnership with the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association. The NZMCA provided these facilities to club members and tourists alike, because their main goal is to keep New Zealand beautiful and camping accessible for everyone!

If there are donation boxes, make sure you drop in a few coins so that these facilities can be maintained.

Most of them are free and easy to access even for large motorhomes, so there are no excuses not to use them. This video by Campermate is very good at explaining all the need-to-know info about how to use a dump station.

Some helpful definitions to get you started:

  • Fresh Water = Water that is safe for people to drink, aka potable water or drinking water
  • Grey Water = Water from your sink and/or shower
  • Black Water = All the waste from your toilet
  • Toilet Cassette = The removable tank that holds your black water
  • Grey Water/Black Water Evacuation Hose = Hoses that connect to the onboard tanks to the dump station
  • Toilet Chemicals = chemicals designed only for portable toilet use which are usually a blue liquid or sachet of powder and are available at most campgrounds/outdoor stores/petrol stations, etc

Some handy tips to remember when using a dumb station:

  • Under the metal drain cover, there are two disposal pipes.
  • The one with the lid is for black water waste.
  • The one with the lid is for grey water waste.
  • If there is only one drain at the dump station, then you can dump both grey/black water waste there.
  • Use disposable gloves and remember to wash your hands after using the dump station.
  • Make sure you park close enough to the dump station so that your hose can reach.
  • Never fill your freshwater tank from the taps at a dump station unless it is sign posted as potable water/drinking water
  • Remember to clean up after yourself–if a dump station is busy with other travellers, be patient. You could use the waiting time to ask for some tips from people who already know how to do it.

Enjoy your adventure and remember to keep New Zealand beautiful!

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