Self-containment in a Bushtracker

Submitted: Friday, Nov 25, 2005 at 12:15
ThreadID: 122344 Views:7630 Replies:4 FollowUps:1
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I realize that some people may think that this is a "(silly") topic to post seeking discussion but I think there are some sensible arguments to be made here.
My wife and I are hoping to order a Bushtracker sometime next year and this represents just one of the discussions we have been having¡K anyways, read on!

I have been reading with some interest on the CMCA forum the proposal and interim implementation of a self-containment scheme whereby motorhomes and campervans are given a self-containment accreditation based on their ability to:
„X carry X number of litres of water
„X retain X number of litres of "(greywater")
„X retain X number of litres of "(blackwater")
„X Store all garbage on board in a sealed manner
These are then calculated on a per person, per day basis
Based on these calculations the number of days a vehicle could be "(Self-contained") is determined.

The interesting part for me was that with the possible exception of retaining "(greywater") most Bushtrackers are every bit as self contained as motorhomes (Which is one of the main reasons we find them such an attractive choice of vehicle).

Many people that enjoy the Bushtracker lifestyle in particular, enjoy visiting scenic naturally beautiful locations which are often (though not always) located in out of the way places. Some of these wonderful places are in National Parks, some on Crown land, some on private property etc.

Here"'s the interesting bit I think¡K I believe that in the not too distant future the ability to be "(self-contained") will become a very desirable quality as people in general, managed park areas, local governments and possibly landowners etc will find even the relatively minor waste greywater being released from most caravans to be an unacceptable form of pollution. I do know that the motorhome club is actively working to allow its members greater access into restricted areas both now and in the future and it wants its club members to be seen as clean and green.

I am not suggesting a self-containment scheme for Bushtrackers. What my wife and I were wondering is, do you believe that the ability to be fully self contained will become more important in the not too distant future? Will the ability to effectively retain and responsibly dispose of grey water become more important? I would really appreciate hearing peoples"' ideas about this.
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Reply By: Bushtracker - Friday, Nov 25, 2005 at 19:31

Friday, Nov 25, 2005 at 19:31
Initial reaction from the Lone Ranger:
Yes, for the poor motorhome people that are stuck going to civilized Tourist venues as their equipment cannot get out Bush proper... This is a green concept born of city use and travel, particularly from the U.S. where all the venues are all civilized... Motorhomes cannot go far afield, and when in civilized surrounds the grey water dumping off in the gutter or campground grass is definitely not acceptable!!! You will find that city venues in Australia will often have a grey water disposal sewer line that runs in each site, and you simply put your drain hose that we supply into it. Not a problem. Common for almost all civilized caravan parks....

However, how does this relate to Bushtracker? As far as out bush proper? We go to the "other Australia" , the one that is often not on the map as the Government cannot afford to improve the roads in there, or rescue poorly equipped Tourists broken down in there. That "Other Australia" is where the Locals go, and out Bush the last thing you would want to do is be so selfish as to hoard your grey water.. Ha! Water that poor tree over there... Wanna be a Greenie? Bushtrackers are specifically designed not to be residents in caravan parks, instead as you would know by now, Bushtracker is designed to be self-sufficient and independent out there in the Bush. Another perspective more practical than hoarding your grey water to dump it into a city power consuming sewer treatment plant, from a Greenie perspective that is real and not a fad? Here is the Rangers perspective: Most of the country still lives in drought. Trees are dying all over the place for lack of water, if you really want to be practical, that long shower and such could save a tree with a good soak that might do it for a half a year.

So no, I think overall it is a for the motorhome clubs you see going to a civilized place in a big pack and camping somewhere exciting like the local school grounds. Personally, if that was all I could do is go to civilized venues and stay pack in a group in suburbia, I would leave my money in the Bank instead of buying a motorhome, and stay in the local resort. You are going to be stuck with bus loads of Tourists anyway..

But that is not what Bushtracker is all about. Bushtracker is about getting to the untouched beautiful places, a voyage of discover away from the crowds, free to wander at will, secure and self-sufficient. Once a week or so we check into a caravan park, and they will have a grey water dump line right at our site. We check in to town to party, see the sights, do laundry, go out to dinner and shopping... But then it is back out Bush where your grey water could save a tree. The tiny bit of soap does no harm, and the water could be equal to what the tree gets in a year. I have fed trees that way on sites I return to occasionally and it is gratifying to see the green spot and clump of bushes and trees. The small amount of detergents seem to do no harm to the plants. We used to even dump peppermint shampoo and bathwater on gardens as the peppermint warded off bugs! So no, I see no reason to go to grey water containment unless you are staying in the city in a motorhome... It would take up space better spent in taking more water tanks, more small trees to save out Bush... That is a real greenie for ya!

I know what small trees would vote...

Regards, from an ever practical Ranger.
Semper Fidelis

"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: Flipp'n Lorry - Friday, Nov 25, 2005 at 21:58

Friday, Nov 25, 2005 at 21:58
My family have lived on a property for over 25 years and all there grey water was used to water plants and veges No drop was wasted accept for the toilets.

if you ask property owners who are dependent on the rainfall for water, what they would do with their grey water , it would be the same into the garden So I.m with the Lone Ranger, we always water a tree when out bush and we move our pipe around to others depending how long we are staying. But we are mindful about how close we are to natural run offs or creeks and rivers. As there is a distance you should not drop your grey water from a natural run off.
Best wishes
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Reply By: Summer Breeze - Sunday, Nov 27, 2005 at 09:20

Sunday, Nov 27, 2005 at 09:20
Ranger and Flipp'n Lorry,
Thanks for the comments! No surprises and pretty much what I had expected. I did appreciate the obvious comment about camping near water courses etc.
I thought I had heard that a council somewhere in the north western part of Queensland had closed some bush camping areas along some of its rivers because some tourists doing "undesirable" things along one of its rivers. I don't recall if it was garbage, or even more offensive material but I believe the council reaction was to ban everyone.
Thanks for taking the time!
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Nov 29, 2005 at 01:40

Tuesday, Nov 29, 2005 at 01:40
That undesirable business, from stupid Tourists not burying their business, is why I invented the water sterilisation system we use. I caught Hepatitis from a clear running stream in 1973 when out Deer hunting, and cannot catch it again without serious health problems... DO NOT trust any "Open to Air" water sources in Australia now... Ten years ago yes, maybe, but not now. Birds and bats have picked up some nasties from India and such that tourists and backpackers brought in and spread them... From about here north even rain water systems watch material off the roof and should be suspect. A good ceramic .2 micron filter will take care of it if you are in a position needing to drink it... HOWEVER, this relates to roof rain water collection systems only... Luckily most of those bird and bat spread organisms can be filtered out without going the sterilisation which is slow at two litres a minute thru UV after filtering...

BUT just know that you cannot filter out Hepatitus, as it is not just a virus, it is smaller... Not just a Micro Virus, it is a Sub-Micro Virus. It takes 2700 Angstrom Ultra Violet to do that. So do not trust open to air water courses.

I will brush my teeth in such unknown water, with a shot of Scotch in there set for few minutes. Hard to throw it out though. So I usually will have another not wasted later.. Ha! Any excuse for a medicinal touch... LOL..

Da Ranger, out der exploring the edge of the unknown....
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: Summer Breeze - Tuesday, Nov 29, 2005 at 07:26

Tuesday, Nov 29, 2005 at 07:26
Yes! Hepatitus is very serious stuff and I can see why you in particular and everyone in general should take their water quality as a serious priority. Hepatitus and some other equally nasty water born bugs can make you very ill. Until just two years ago our family got all of our water from a crystal clear creek over a 20 year period. Every drop was boiled but even being very careful we still had cases of giardia and assorted tummy bugs. Having said that we were lucky we never had any other more serious water borne bugs.

The medicinal scotch or rum has often been tried (and relied upon) in the bush but like your comment I believe that a goodly portion was applied as a second medicinal insurance dose.

I was very priviliged about 27-28 years ago to sit at a kitchen table with one of the "real" truckie characters that use to drive the roads and tracks of Cape York during the 60's and 70's and she (yes that's right, she) told stories of getting bogged when an early or unseasonably late wet would hit and catch them on the road. Based on her stories OP rum was used to sterilize and as a "brain tonic" to help them figure out how to get the truck unbogged. Of course the worse the bog the more OP rum that was required. Priceless characters and stories!
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