Virgin in need of evap advice

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.
Endjie
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Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by Endjie » Fri Mar 13, 2015 6:26 am

Dear vets,

Will this work as evapotron? Planning to put it in a small bassin. Thing works on solar power.
full31574780_a.jpg
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Thanks!
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motskyroonmatick
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by motskyroonmatick » Fri Mar 13, 2015 9:23 am

I've had great success with large scale evaporation and I've had failures too. In the end I found it was easiest to haul the grey water back out and dispose of it at home. It took the least amount of time and had the highest success rate.

Here is some good reading. Welocme!!! https://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic.php?t=12911
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by trilobyte » Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:26 am

Welcome to the site!

The thing you're going to want to remember when considering some store-bought pre-fab solution is that absolutely none of them are designed for the environment you will be using it in. So even if the product works as advertised, it's very questionable as to whether it will do what you need in the desert.

Taking the little backyard piece that you've posted, that's designed to circulate water in a small pond. It's going to assume that you have a minimum depth of water that's probably going to be a lot more than you will want to have on the playa (ideally you're evaporating down to an empty pond). There may also be questions about how well the pump can handle fine contaminants (ie playa dust).

Being new to the event as well as to evap ponds in the desert, as a backup you should probably have a plan to be able to take all of your camp's waste water back out with you. Have that contingency plan so that if everything goes wrong, you're still covered for your needs (and not dumping on the playa or leaving anything behind). From there, any success you do have on the playa will just make the trip out that much easier. Good luck!

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Ratty
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by Ratty » Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:48 am

If you had a container deep enough to cover the intake of that pump it would be a lot of water to get rid of. A better idea would be to reduce your water use by washing dishes with a spray bottle and washing yourself with wipes and minimum water. Besides that, the wind would blow your fountain spray all over the playa and the nozzles would clog. It is pretty though. If you really want a small evap system think wicking.
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by some seeing eye » Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:02 am

Welcome to the wild world of ePlaya, we are definitely an inventive bunch.

A solo camper, if they are not washing their hair or full on showering or running a kitchen with washing can get by with low water methods - no evap. If you are the virgin put in charge of evaporation for a camp that has those needs, the evapotron is currently the best setup.
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Ratty
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by Ratty » Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:08 am

I'm in a camp of 2 or 3 people using a restaurant bus tray for our waste water. A few cotton t-shirt rags wick the water up and it disappears. (Leaving what we refer to as the toxic dump.) Food and dirt accumulate in the tray and at the end of the week I bag it and drag it home. It ain't pretty but we hide it behind a tent and it works.
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by wolfraider » Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:56 pm

Last year we had great luck with a brown tarp and three 2 X 4s duct taped together to make an evap pond. Tied a used water jug to a stake to use as a squeegee to spread the water out maybe 2-3 times a day. Main thing is lots of surface area and the more it gets spread out the faster it dries.

We had 4 people in our camp and all showered roughly every other day. We splurged on the RV for other grey water but still use Ratty's suggestion of the spray bottle to clean dishes and conserve water. We shower outside since inside the RV uses SO MUCH WATER it's ludicrous. And baby wipe showers are GLORIOUS!

This year the camp is expanding so not sure how well this solution will handle the extra people. Probably won't.

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some seeing eye
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by some seeing eye » Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:11 pm

Wolfraider, cool post. Represent!
When I started in managing greywater for a 100 camp that grew to 500+ i used the 2x4 evaporation pond sized by persons and gallons per day. Somewhere I have the theoretical gallons/day/square foot physics for Nevada.
So your reasoning is sound! Thanks!
But I would say that many camps today are using fabric surface area to evaporate their grey, even some super cheap towels and fabric, onto the evapotron - the playa climate is favorable!
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by wolfraider » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:13 am

Thanks, SSE! Been a long time reader on ePlaya not wanting to be that guy that's under-informed.

I was looking into Evapotrons too and have seen some really smart ideas that use wind power and such (some even rotate 360 degrees so they always work!). Was considering trying one for 2015 but I don't think we're going to generate that much more grey water. I'm more concerned with a proper shade structure for my camp.

When managing that much grey water, have you ever been concerned about airborne viruses and such? Do you ever add a cap full of bleach or other disinfectant? I supposed this would only apply if a lot of your grey water comes from cooking/cleaning.

*EDIT* typo

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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by Elliot » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:48 am

While there are successful evap -ponds and -trons, I have seen so many failures that I always recommend hauling the waste back out.
I also feel that the germ issue may be a real threat, and the Event may have been lucky so far in that we have not had a significant Legionnaires Disease type of incident. Definitely add bleach.
Barrels of waste water can become stinky. The cure is to add RV waste tank chemical. That stuff works wonders.

Now...that brings us to a question: How would bleach and RV-chemical go together? And I do not know. Anybody?
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by mudpuppy000 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:38 pm

One thing I've found that works well is get a huge bath towel, as thick as you can get and spread it out on the roof of your vehicle. Pour you grey water on that and it'll be dry in an hour or so with the sun/wind going at it.

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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by asr9754 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:31 pm

I wanted to try something like that fountain pump when I was doing our camp's evap system. I decided against it, but if you try it, let us know.

I would 100% agree that it might not handle the playa dust and debris that ends up in gray water. You'd need to filter or strain the graywater. Also you would need a minimum water level for the pump to work. And the wind would blow the fountain spray all over. It might work inside a deep 5-gallon bucket or a keg tub--something where the tub walls are taller than the fountain's spray. Use a black bucket, the heat would help evap the water. It might work. But I would not expect it to get rid of a large quantity of water per day, so also I 100% agree that you need a backup plan, such as jugs and a funnel to pack-out your old gray water.

But managing water is a whole system, you need to think about supply, conservation, etc....as well as evaporation. How big is your camp? Are you planning on cooking? Showering? Dishes? Coolers for ice? Are you doing communal water or individual? The best thing you can do for evaporation is to minimize water use. Lots of suggestions on Eplaya. My favorites: put ice in a big ziplock bag in your cooler. When the ice melts, it's still clean enough to use for cooking or washing up. Spray-bottles for washing dishes. Keep empty jugs to reuse. Short short showers, if at all. Educate your camp mates. Don't provide a graywater receptacle and expect it not to get filled almost immediately by your camp mates. People see tub, people fill tub.

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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by Joeln » Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:37 pm

That is so true it's not funny at all.
asr9754 wrote:Don't provide a graywater receptacle and expect it not to get filled almost immediately by your camp mates. People see tub, people fill tub.
Collapse first and avoid the rush

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some seeing eye
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by some seeing eye » Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:59 pm

*Do not combine bleach with RV water treatments*

For grey water evapotrons or evaporation pools:
RV grey-black treatment products, probably not useful.
Bleach is inactivated by sun, renew every 2 hours by smell if you use.
Bleach probably does not add much safety to evaporation to nearby dwellers
Do not combine bacterial RV grey-black treatment products with bleach, defeats the purpose.


RV water treatments are bacteria selected to help break down the organic materials in the grey or black water, probably some scents in there. To know for sure, contact the manufacturer of the RV water treatment and get a MSDS. They are required by law to provide.

As for adding RV water treatment to playa greywater, especially if it has a lot of playa dust in it from say showering. It is unlikely the bacteria in the RV water treatment is selected to survive in an alkaline solution. So probably not effective beyond the scent.

Bleach is going to kill the "beneficial" bacteria in the RV water treatment.

As for viruses and bacteria in kitchen and shower waste. There will be a small amount of coliform bacteria from the poo hole on the skin. Doubt much virus. There might be something that wants to grow in the alkaline solution, but doubt it is more harmful than playa dust.

If you have a compromised immune system, consult a physician before attending.
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:39 pm

I wonder if the UV rays of the direct sunlight on the playa have a substantial affect on bacteria???
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by pretty_monster » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:43 am

asr9754 wrote: ... But managing water is a whole system, you need to think about supply, conservation, etc....as well as evaporation. How big is your camp? Are you planning on cooking? Showering? Dishes? Coolers for ice? Are you doing communal water or individual? The best thing you can do for evaporation is to minimize water use. Lots of suggestions on Eplaya. My favorites: put ice in a big ziplock bag in your cooler. When the ice melts, it's still clean enough to use for cooking or washing up. Spray-bottles for washing dishes. Keep empty jugs to reuse. Short short showers, if at all. Educate your camp mates...
minimize water use! srsly. i am amazed at the lengths people will go to to evap gray water but who don't want to be bothered with just not using much water to begin with. the biggest culprit is showers. i really do not understand the trouble to which people go to to shower on the playa. you'll just be dusty again in 5 seconds. learn to do a baby wipe bath or a sponge bath.
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by dragonpilot » Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:29 pm

lollergirl wrote:
asr9754 wrote: ... But managing water is a whole system, you need to think about supply, conservation, etc....as well as evaporation. How big is your camp? Are you planning on cooking? Showering? Dishes? Coolers for ice? Are you doing communal water or individual? The best thing you can do for evaporation is to minimize water use. Lots of suggestions on Eplaya. My favorites: put ice in a big ziplock bag in your cooler. When the ice melts, it's still clean enough to use for cooking or washing up. Spray-bottles for washing dishes. Keep empty jugs to reuse. Short short showers, if at all. Educate your camp mates...
minimize water use! srsly. i am amazed at the lengths people will go to to evap gray water but who don't want to be bothered with just not using much water to begin with. the biggest culprit is showers. i really do not understand the trouble to which people go to to shower on the playa. you'll just be dusty again in 5 seconds. learn to do a baby wipe bath or a sponge bath.
Yes...fer dawg's sake. Why is everyone so fired up to live like they live in defaultia? Try going w/o a water-consuming bath for just one day...then go for two! Pretty soon you'll make it the whole week!
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by Endjie » Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:32 am

Hi guys,

Thank you all for this sound advice!!!

@ Trilobyte: Thanks for the welcome. I didn't take the minimum water dept in consideration, so good pointer. We'll be bringing enough jugs with us to haul everything back in case this doesn't wok.

@ Ratty: thanks for the tips! The towel-thing sound great. It seems there's only going to be the two of us. We're experienced campers and we don't like showers. The spray for the dishes. WOW. But the fountain is cute, so I bought it anyway. I like trial and error, but I'll make a shield to prevent my fountain spaying our germ-infested greywater on the neighbors...

@ Some seeing eye: Hahaha. Virgings in charge of a camp's evapotron? Really? Does that happen?

@ Wolfraider: The pond sound great. A smaller version would definitely suffice.

@ asr9754: I'll bring it, experiment with it and I'll let you know!

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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by asr9754 » Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:03 am

Great! With just 2 of you, you have room to experiment without ending up with an icky mess from too many campers freeloading on your evap tub. You may have already seen this, but consider adding a little splash of bleach to your evap tub once a day or so, to keep the germs and smells bay. Good luck!

If you get a 5-gallon black bucket w/ a lid, it's multi purpose--you can pack stuff in it on your way to the desert, try it for your evap system, and if it doesn't work well, you can pack out your graywater in the same bucket. Restaurants and paint stores often give away leftover 5-gal buckets for free.

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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by Captain Goddammit » Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:08 pm

I'm gonna speak up from the other perspective.
The question was about handling grey water, not about how to conserve water.
One of my favorite things to do at Burning Man is to create all the comforts of home, including having real showers, not a windex bottle and a paper towel. Burn your own way, if you want to suffer, by all means, have at it.

So - to answer the question that was asked (not spout minimalist hogwash about going small), no I don't think that pond pump is a good idea but evapotrons do seem to work well.
I wholeheartedly agree with the advice about bringing adequate containers to haul your greywater out in case of evap failure.
I also find that simply hauling your grey out in barrels really is the best, most effective plan. That eliminates a lot of hassle, it's easier, cleaner, and more reliable.
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by Elliot » Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:41 pm

What the captain said. And to prevent foul odor from the grey water sitting in the sun for a week, pour a little "RV holding tank chemical" in it. RV chemical is sold in countless stores like hardware stores, auto parts stores and big boxes.
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by DoctorIknow » Fri Apr 17, 2015 5:38 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:I wholeheartedly agree with the advice about bringing adequate containers to haul your greywater out in case of evap failure.
I went through many evap builds/experiences and there is no other single infrastructure improvement I've ever made out there that has made me more pleased than to NOT do evap at all and instead just haul it out.

I mean: Is the point of any kind of evap to have a lighter load when leaving BM?

For sure, collecting grey water and container-ing it will take less time off and on the playa than any evap system.

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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by pretty_monster » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:04 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:I'm gonna speak up from the other perspective.
The question was about handling grey water, not about how to conserve water.
One of my favorite things to do at Burning Man is to create all the comforts of home, including having real showers, not a windex bottle and a paper towel. Burn your own way, if you want to suffer, by all means, have at it.
you do you but let's be honest: it's not "suffering" to not have a traditional defaultia shower for a week. i would have been saved A LOT of suffering and hassle my first burn if someone had explained to me exactly how one gets fresh & clean on the playa without a shower. i think of all that mess whenever i see a burgin asking about gray water. there is no actual need to deal with massive amounts of gray water. there are a lot of options between "wasting gallons of water on a shower every day" and "dirty stinking hippy".
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by Captain Goddammit » Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:01 am

You're just as "right" as I am... it all depends on how you travel.
If you fly in or come in a small vehicle that changes things.
If you have or rent a truck, bring lots of water and barrels to haul it back out.
My "virgin" year I brought 100 gallons of water and I still do.
Take real showers.
Be very happy.
Why not?!
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by asr9754 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:12 am

Ha ha all great ideas. At the risk of going off topic, I tend to be in the middle--I do like to shower on playa, typically every other day, but I hate dealing with graywater, especially other people's. My first several failed attempts at evap have shown me that conservation is a better use of my time and energy. So I use a very low-flow misting sprayer to shower, take less than 5 minute showers, and pack out the waste water in old water jugs. I typically haul home less than 5 gals for the whole week. Each camper is responsible for their own shower water. We have no communal evap tray--this was the best decision we made for our camp of 20 or so. If you want to shower, deal with your own waste. For dishes and other cleanup around camp, we use wet-wipes and spray misters which produces ZERO graywater.

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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by CyanEssence » Fri May 15, 2015 12:17 am

I once volunteered in a biology lab at a major research university (not a teaching lab, but a working research facility). We added bleach to liquid bio-waste containers so that 10% of the final solution (waste + bleach) was bleach (regular 6%, off the grocery store shelf bleach, not industrial strength bleach).

For example, if the waste collecting vessel was 10 gallons, we would pour one gallon of chlorox store bought bleach into the empty vessel in the morning, and by the time it reached the 10 gallon mark, the liquid in the container was at 10% bleach (and it was never less than 10% bleach because the bleach was added first).

I imagine that the people who came up with this protocol were PhD's in one form of biological science or another, and had every concern imaginable about infectious disease control in mind.

There may be other factors to consider. Temperature, light exposure, and air exposure/evaporation come to mind. I don't know much about these.

This may be overkill, but if you are worried about spilling potentially hazardous grey water on yourself when you haul it out, this precaution might ease your mind.

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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by DoctorIknow » Fri May 15, 2015 2:32 am

asr9754 wrote:.... and pack out the waste water in old water jugs.
Speaking of water jugs: Do not try to save a few pennies when buying drinking water.
Just say no to 2.5 gallon containers.
Just say no to frosty plastic gallon bottles:

Because:
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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by asr9754 » Fri May 15, 2015 11:09 am

+1 for screw cap jugs, and pack a funnel in your playa kit. Also LABEL the jugs! Melted cooler water looks like clear drinking water, but might not be... When you fill a graywater jug full, label it and duct tape the lid, so no one drunkenly opens it in the dark....gross. Pro tip; hide your partially full graywater jug. People see jug, people fill jug.

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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by ruebear » Mon May 25, 2015 12:32 pm

This entire thread was really helpful. Thank you everyone!

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Re: Virgin in need of evap advice

Post by zerzura » Tue May 26, 2015 10:36 am

We use the combo of:
Low water use for dishes and cooking.
A pump solar shower that is low use (I love this: http://www.duckworksbbs.com/gear/shower/)
Small amounts of Greywater is either collected, strained through a nylon, treated with a bit of bleach, then sprinkled (not dumped) on the road during the day. I use camp biodegradable soap.
Larger amounts are collected in a reused water container, a little bit of bleach added, then hauled home. The amount from the showers are very small due to the pump solar shower. We make everyone in camp responsible for their own greywater, mostly because I think evap ponds and even evap devices are super gross.

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