Treating and sprinkling grey water - how much bleach?

Talk about your camp or project's LNT plans (and MOOP problems) here. Discuss cleanup tips. Ask questions or share ideas on what works and what doesn't.
User avatar
tahiti_treat
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:47 pm
Burning Since: 2011
Camp Name: NoTown

Treating and sprinkling grey water - how much bleach?

Postby tahiti_treat » Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:04 am

From the Burning Man website:

This method is only for small camps that already know how to minimize dishwater and body-washing water. If your gray water is both filtered and disinfected, and you don't form mud, you will be within the rules.

So, collect gray water in a container over which you have mounted panty-hose or a paint strainer. Add chlorine bleach regularly.

In your own camp space (NOT public areas like roads or shortcuts), use a garden sprinkler-can (or improvised equivalent, even just a spoon) to distribute water very sparsely during the hottest hours of the day. The droplets must be sparse enough that they soak in and dry up quickly, and the surface stays hard.

But keep in mind that somebody watching you might think that you are simply sloshing untreated gray water around, so be prepared to explain your careful process.


I plan to try this this year. However, there isn't a guideline for how much bleach to add. A drop? A splash? A couple glugs? Anyone tried this before and have opinions?

asr9754
Posts: 573
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:58 pm

Re: Treating and sprinkling grey water - how much bleach?

Postby asr9754 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:22 am

Buried in another area of the website:

Frequently Asked Questions

How dangerous is gray water? What can I do about it? Gray water is inherently unsanitary. It may contain bacteria, fungi, viruses, or other life. Gray water left to stand untreated in the desert warmth eventually becomes black water as microbial populations increase. To disinfect gray water, and suppress funky aromas, mix in Concentrated Clorox Regular Bleach or other chlorine-based bleach periodically. For some antibiotic-resistant pathogens, chlorine bleach is the only reliable killer. The active ingredient in chlorine bleach is sodium hypochlorite - a powerful disinfectant that decomposes into water and salt. Age, sunlight, warmth, and gray water impurities (including playa dust) all increase the rate of decomposition, soon exhausting the disinfecting power. Make sure your bleach is newly purchased, not left over from last year.

How much bleach do I need to disinfect? The following rule will help compensate for all these uncertainties. Use the No-Measure Rule of Thumb for Disinfecting: Follow Your Nose.

Loosen the cap of your bleach jug one-half turn: no farther, or it may come off. Using your thumb to restrain the cap, tip the jug over your gray water and dribble for about two seconds per gallon. Slosh or stir to mix, and half an hour later, sniff. If it doesn't have a strong chlorine tang (like a public swimming pool) dribble in more bleach and check it again later. Make this a morning and evening habit.

When buying chlorine bleach, check the label for the concentration of sodium hypochlorite. Concentrated Clorox Regular Bleach has about 9%. If another brand has 6%, it should cost two-thirds as much and you'll need to add 1.5 times as much. Scented products are always lower in hypochlorite. Bleach has a limited shelf life, and this year's leftover jug won't last until next year.

Disclaimer: We are not sanitation experts, but an expert at Clorox Corp reviewed this text. Following the guidelines above is not guaranteed to fully disinfect your water.

User avatar
tahiti_treat
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:47 pm
Burning Since: 2011
Camp Name: NoTown

Re: Treating and sprinkling grey water - how much bleach?

Postby tahiti_treat » Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:34 am

Oh awesome, thanks. That is super helpful.

User avatar
GreyCoyote
Posts: 2137
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:24 am
Burning Since: 2000

Re: Treating and sprinkling grey water - how much bleach?

Postby GreyCoyote » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:45 am

Pool shock (calcium hypochlorite) makes for an awesome chlorinator. It is about 40% chlorine and comes in a dry granular form. If you dont like to carry liquids, this stuff is cheap and works well. Look for it in the pool section of Louies, Homeless Despot, WallyMartus, etc.

As to how much chlorine to use, there isnt any reason to carefully measure. Dump a bit in, mix well, and let it sit. If you have a chlorinated solution in the shade and can read more than 4 ppm after an hour, you are good to go. Overdosing isnt harmful as any extra chlorine will be gone very quickly when the water hits the playa and sunshine.
"To sum up my compassion level, I think we should feed the unwanted animals to the homeless. Or visa versa. Too much attention and money is spent on both."
(A Beautiful Mind)

User avatar
trilobyte
Site Admin
Posts: 16452
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2004 10:54 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Camp Name: Eridu Society
Location: San Francisco
Contact:

Re: Treating and sprinkling grey water - how much bleach?

Postby trilobyte » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:44 am

DO NOT USE POOL CHEMICAL TABLETS!!!!!!

I'm going to say +1000 to what asr9754 posted above, and then lock this thread. That's the right answer, and trying your hand at pool chemicals (which are concentrated and contain many more things that are not good for the desert environment) or other variants is not the way to do it.

I'll add my camp's pro tip for bleach handling - rather than bring out a whole jug of the stuff, we get a small container from a local hair salon supply place and use that for bleach.


Return to “Leave No Trace”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest