If you’ve got a portable toilet, or a toilet in your caravan or RV you’d be well and truly familiar with dump points. If not, when you have to dispose of your waste when travelling you will eventually become very familiar with them.
Speaking of which, if you are unsure about how to use camping and caravan toilets, we’ve written the ultimate guide to camping toilets.
What is a dump point?
Dump points are designated septic holding tanks, located all over Australia. They are set up for those travelling to empty their waste in a responsible, easy and simple way.
You’ll find them in most major towns, and within caravan parks themselves. The formal dump points have a blue lid that you can open and close, with many on private properties being very different!
Who looks after the dump points?
Dump points are generally maintained by the shire they are in, unless they are on private property (in which case the land owner looks after it).
This means that when you drive through small towns, know that if they have a dump point, they own and service it, and are doing you (a traveller) a big favour, and they deserve support. Towns that make it easy for travellers are few and far between, and deserve to have some money spent in them to keep it all ticking along!
Finding dump points in Australia
There are a lot of dump points in Australia. You’ll find them at most caravan parks, visitor centres and located seemingly in the middle of no where.
The easiest way to find a dump point in Australia is to use Wikicamps, which not only allows you to find great camp sites quickly and easily, but will show you where you can shower, fill water tanks and find a dump point.
You can spend a fair bit of time looking for dump points, and a good rule of thumb is never to drive past one with a toilet that has some waste in it.
How do you use a dump point?
If you’ve never used a dump point before, don’t feel concerned. They are really easy to use, and you’ll be done and dusted in no time.
Firstly, find the dump point, and arrive. If there’s a que, which there often is, take your turn and wait. Don’t push in, and upset others.
Once its your turn, wheel or carry your cassette up to the dump point and open the blue lid. Unscrew your lid, and put it well and truly away from the dump point. Don’t hold onto it, or keep it near the dump point as you wouldn’t be the first person to lose your cap down the dump point!
From there, find the breather button (which allows air into the cassette) and carefully tip the contents out, down the slope and into the hole without spilling any, or taking your finger off the breather. If you don’t use the breather, it will gasp for air, flow out slowly and you’ll likely end up bearing the brunt of some of it!
Once its empty, take your cassette to the water tap nearby and fill it with a couple of litres of water. Put the cap back on, and give it a good shake around.
Remove the cap, put it somewhere safe and then tip the contents out again. When you are finished, wash any remaining muck down the dump point using the hose, close the lid and put your cap back on, before moving out of the way.
The last, and most important step is to wash your hands. We carry a bottle of hand sanitizer in the car and camper trailer and just squirt some on and rub it all around. No doubt there’s a heap of germs around at dump points, and you should do your best to avoid them.
Can you fill up with water at a dump point?
Dump points often have a water source next to them for washing your cassettes out, and for cleaning the dump point. You could fill your water tanks from these, but its not a good idea purely from a hygiene perspective.
If there is a water tap nearby, it will be further away, and be clearly labelled that its suitable for drinking.
Should you put grey water down the dump point?
Grey water that is older than 24 hours is acceptably put into dump points, but do it respectfully as you’ll be letting a heap of water out. Alternatively, you will find dedicated grey water dump points that are far more suitable.
Keen to know if you need a Caravan Grey Water Tank? We’ve done a post on that too!
Why not just tip your septic waste down a toilet?
A lot of caravan parks have their own septic system, and its extremely bad practice to tip your toilet waste down them. Not only can it make a mess, but the chemicals in your toilet will affect the septic system and you can actually cause several thousand dollars worth of damage by doing so.
Long drop toilets work on a similar principle, and emptying your toilet waste down them kills the bacteria that breaks down the waste, and then you end up with a big stinking mess that is hard to get back to its intended condition.
Don’t put the toilet waste down anyone else’s toilet. You can do it at home as long as its not connected to a storage septic system, or you’ll end up with the same issue.
Extending your time between dump points
If you are tired of visiting dump points every couple of days, there are actually a number of options available. The first, and most simple is to purchase a spare cassette, which you just swap out when the one you are using is full.
Effectively this doubles the time you can stay away from a dump point, and makes travelling a lot more convenient. Nothing is worse than having to leave an amazing camp site because your toilet is full and you have no choice!
If you are able to limit how much you use your toilet, go for it. For example, if we are camping in the bush, my two boys and I will often pee in the bush, and it saves filling the toilet up unnecessarily.
Alternatively, you can purchase composting toilets, which separate your number 1 and 2’s, and allow for them to fill much faster. These are becoming far more popular in caravans today because of the significant number of benefits available.
Last, but not least is the macerator toilet is another option that often comes with a much larger tank (around 100L). Considering that’s nearly 4 times the size of a normal cassette toilet, its no wonder you get a much longer time frame out of it.
How can you stop your toilet from smelling?
Dump points will always smell. Some aren’t bad, and some can be pretty feral. Generally the worse part is your own toilet though, and if you haven’t used the right chemicals, or the right dosage it can be pretty putrid.
There’s some rather entertaining YouTube videos out there of people emptying their camping toilets and not having much fun doing so.
We’ve started using a new toilet chemical that seems to be better than anything else we’ve tried, and we’ll do a longer term review on it soon.
Dump points are a part of life
If you are living on the road, you really don’t have much of a choice when it comes to dump points. They just become a part of life, and whilst its not something you don’t look forward to, they aren’t too bad once you get the hang of it, and realise there’s no alternative anyway!
Just like you pull in to get fuel and food, and fill water tanks up, you’ll get used to stopping to empty the toilet waste down a dump point!
Who uses the dump point in your family or travel arrangement? What tips have you learnt along the way?