When it comes to caravanning there are a couple of tasks that you generally have to get used to, such as filling up the fresh waste container (Aquaroll) and emptying the wastewater container (Wastemaster). With this post, I wanted to provide pretty much everything useful I could think of about solutions for dealing with caravan wastewater. The post will start with beginners advice on using a wastemaster etc. However, the second part of this post will then move onto how you can improve the wastewater system in your caravan and fully serviced pitches. The reality is many caravan wastewater (greywater) setups sooner or later are going to lead to issues which I’ll discuss below.
Here at Horton Common, all our pitches are fully serviced and we have a ‘unique’ system for dealing with our guest’s caravan wastewater. Later in this post, I’ll discuss how and why I came up with this system. I personally believe its the best system out there to handle wastewater from a caravan or motorhome, and many of our guests agree and you can see from our reviews. You can use the Table of Contents below to jump to particular sections. As stated, experienced caravanners may want to jump to the lower sections of this post and avoid the basic’s introduction on using a wastemaster etc.
Beginners Guide to Dealing With Caravan Waste Water
Let’s presume for a second you’re new to caravanning and you are visiting a normal caravan pitch (none serviced). You, therefore, need to bring a wastewater container with you. Caravan site owners don’t want that wastewater coming out of the van and going on the ground. The reason being, its obviously not just water. Caravan wastewater contains food waste, detergents and soaps. Hence, just dropping that wastewater on the ground can create issues with rodents, create unpleasant smells and potentially kill the grass.
Wastemasters and Alternatives
You will hear the term ‘Wastemaster’ as a general description for caravan greywater containers. However, its actually a trademarked wastewater collector developed by F L Hitchman Limited. F L Hitchman also developed the Aquaroll, again that’s a trademarked freshwater collector. There are other products on the market which can do the same job. However, they cannot obviously call themselves a ‘Wastemaster’.
The Wastemaster is probably the most common caravan wastewater collector used by UK caravanners: Image – Amazon
Wastemasters are available in either black of beige plastic, however, both versions have the same capacity of 38 litres. You will notice there are two removable screw caps. The screw cap near the wheels is sometimes used as an entry point for the caravan wastewater. However, its primary purpose is for emptying the wastemaster. When the Wastemaster is full, make sure both caps are screwed tight. Then wheel the Wastemaster to a suitable location following the instructions of the site owner. There may be a dedicated greywater emptying point, or you may just be instructed to empty the Wastemaster under a hedge etc. While the Wastemaster is stood vertically, just unscrew the cap by the wheels and let it drain out.
Streetwise Waste Hog
Wastemasters in generall appear well made from good quality plastic and come with a 10-year guarantee. With regards to alternatives, you could also consider the ‘Waste Hog’ from Streetwise. With regards to price, there is not much difference between the Wastemaster and Waste Hog. However, there is a difference when it comes to capacity. Where a Wastemaster has a capacity of 38 litres, a Waste Hog has a capacity of 46 litres.
Now that difference in capacity of 8 litres may not seem much, but remember there is virtually no difference in price between these two wastewater containers. That 8 litres may be the difference in having to empty the wastewater collection a day less frequently. Though obviously, if your having showers don’t expect that difference in capacity to go far. What I would note is their promotional image above is not going to take full advantage of its additional capacity. Using the entry cap near the handle its obviously lower than the cap near the wheel. Hence, it will start to overflow more quickly. Therefore in general, it very rarely makes sense to actually use the top entry point.
Caravan Wastewater Outlet Pipes
To be able to use a Wastemaster or Waste Hog, you will need either flexible or rigid pipes which connect from the outlets on your caravan. Typically, your caravan will come with the flexible pipes and typically a Y piece which links the two pipes into one. The most common caravan setup is one wastewater pipe which comes from the bathroom and links the shower and bathroom sink. The second wastewater outlet is from the kitchen sink. Some caravans, have a triple wastewater pipe setup, separating the shower from the bathroom sink. I see this setup typically with our guests who turn up with Lunar caravans.
Issues With Caravan Wastewater Outlet Pipes
Now, there are issues with using caravan wastewater outlet couplings and adapters. Its why I created a solution for our guests so they don’t have to use them (more about that below). So the wastewater outlets that leave your caravan have an internal diameter of 28.5mm. Well, the wastewater pipe adapters and couplings link all the wastewater pipes together to a single pipe, again with a 28.5mm diameter. You can probably see where I’m going with this.
If you are only using one facility at the time, no problem. But what about if one person is having a shower and someone else is in the kitchen preparing a meal? Therefore, you have wastewater coming from the kitchen sink and shower at the same time. A shower on its own is taking up the capacity of that wastewater outlet, hence its not really designed to cope with more wastewater. There is a reason your home plumbing pipe diameter steps up in size before it reaches the drain. To avoid this issue of under capacity.
Therefore, what sometimes happens is the wastewater starts to back up in the caravan. The person at the kitchen sink is unlikely to notice due to how high the sink drain is. However, the person in the shower may start to notice water coming back up the drain and have to turn the shower off. This is an issue that’s happened to my family in the past with our caravan, and I’ve had our guests describe the same issue when they have used other caravan sites without our wastewater solution. Its not a common scenario, but having to stop a shower to wait for it to drain is frustrating.
Try and Avoid Couplings and Single Pipe Connectors
To avoid the issue described above I would recommend where possible not using couplings and connectors to create a single 28.8mm pipe into your wastewater collector. Depending on the size of the inlet port on your Wastemaster/Water Hog that’s easier said than done. If its very narrow you may only be able to get one waste pipe into one port. Hence in this scenario, you could purchase some flexible wastewater pipe and cut sufficient length to use both ports on your wastewater collector.
However, if you have a Lunar caravan or similar with a triple wastewater outlet that’s another issue. In that case, you could use one double pipe adapter, and again use both ports on the wastewater container. Separating the bathroom and kitchen wastewater outlets. Its obviously unlikely the shower and bathroom sink will be used at the same time.
Drooping Wastewater Pipes Lead to Problems
So at the start of this post, I used an image from Practical Caravan of a caravan wastewater collector. It was a deliberate choice as I wanted to discuss this image later in the post, hence now. What’s wrong with this caravan wastewater setup?
Yes, you guessed it, that drooping flexible waste pipe. Let’s ignore for the minute my comments above on avoiding the use of waste pipe couplings and just focus on the position and length of the waste pipe. To get into the Wastemaster/Water Hog the wastewater has to fight against gravity, hence only the pressure of additional wastewater will push it into the wastewater container. This can actually cause a back up of wastewater into the caravan (shower drain). At the lowest point in that drooping loop, food waste can collect and get stuck. Really, that second piece of flexible grey pipe after the double to single pipe adapter is redundant. The Wastemaster/ Water Hog should just be moved closer to the outlets.
Improving Your Caravans Wastewater Plumbing
In most cases, the majority of the wastewater pipework on your caravan will be done with the flexible grey pipe. Now, if you have never used this pipe before you may not be aware, but it doesn’t have a smooth interior surface. You can get smooth bore corrugated pipe, however as you may have guessed, its more expensive. Hence, unless you have one of the more ‘premium’ caravans its like you will have the standard grey corrugated wastewater pipework throughout.
The problem is grease from the kitchen sink in your caravan just loves to get stuck within a corrugated waste pipe. Over time this can build up and create blockages. Obviously, how quickly this happens will depend on how frequently you use your caravan. But sooner or later, its going to become an issue. Therefore, as per the Practical Caravan video below, you may want to correct this issue:
In the video, John replaced the corrugated flexible grey caravan wastewater pipe with solid smooth bore plastic pipe used in domestic plumbing. Alternatively, you could (if you can find some) replace with smoothbore 28.5mm flexible pipe. It does exist, but it can be tricky to get hold of.
Caravan Wastewater on Fully Serviced Pitches
So what if you could leave your Wastermaster or Waste Hog at home? You would save a little bit on caravan weight, but save quite a bit of space when loading your caravan. However, the main benefit would be not having to empty the thing every couple of days. Well on a fully serviced pitch for caravans and motorhomes you can leave your wastewater collector at home! Hang on though, how is the greywater collected from your caravan? Well, if you’re on pretty much any other fully serviced caravan pitch in the UK other than Horton Common you’re going to need to carry a length of solid plastic or flexible plastic pipe with you along with an adapter. I’ll let Dan explain:
So as you can see from the video, Dan uses a double to single pipe adapter along with a length of solid pipe to connect to the drain. He also uses a Bungie to support the weight of the pipe. He’s having to go to all this effort because different sites have their drain located in different positions. So I now get to talk about why Horton Common is different and better. 🙂
The Problem with Most Fully Serviced Pitches (Not Horton Common)
So in 2013 when I was first started thinking of setting up Horton Common, I knew I wanted to go down the fully serviced pitch route. We cannot have toilet and shower facilities due to planning restrictions (Green Belt). Therefore I was thinking about how I could make this little caravan site stand out from other small sites and larger sites for that matter. My family has been caravanning since I was a child, so we all chipped in making a list of all the things we would want on a small site. Having power, freshwater and wastewater removal from each pitch became my key objective.
So I studied the fully serviced facilities on other caravan sites. While the freshwater supply is pretty easy, drainage was obviously more difficult. They all had a drainage grid located somewhere on the pitch. However, caravans and motorhomes come in all shapes and sizes. Some have the wastewater drainage outlets on the left, some on the right and some are even on the rear.
I realised other caravan sites were expecting their guests to carry in their caravan several meters of drainage pipe. First, that’s obviously a ‘barrier to entry’, as a guest may not have enough pipe depending on where the wastewater exits the van. Furthermore, they may not be able to create sufficient fall to the drain. Unfortunately, you’re not going to get water to drain uphill. Therefore, I thought to my self ‘the only truly universal wastewater solution is to take the drain to the caravan!’
Our Solution For Caravan Waste Water Removal
As you can see from the image above and on our homepage we have pretty amazing views here at Horton Common. So I also knew I wanted all the pitches to face the view. This also followed the rise and fall of the field. Therefore, the caravan pitches are slightly higher than the road in front of the pitches which has a drain underneath. Therefore, each pitch has a drain point. However, as stated above, I knew I had to somehow take the drain to the wastewater outlets on the caravan. Well, with some trough planters, plumbing fittings and some commercial hose pipe I had my solution.
Yes, It Is a Trough Planter
Our trough caravan wastewater solution has been in place for 5 years now and its still going strong. I wasn’t sure how been exposed to UV from the sun 365 days a year was going to affect the trough planters and hose pipe. But they are actually holding up pretty well. I’ll probably replace both within the next couple of years. Note I’ve used a commercial hose pipe which has a much wider diameter than a standard domestic hose pipe. Therefore it doesn’t get blocked up with food particles etc. Every couple of months I take a bucket of hot water and soap to clean out the troughs, but that’s all the maintenance they need.
With this system, it doesn’t matter how big or small the caravan is. It doesn’t matter if the wastewater outlet is on the left, right or back of the caravan. No surplus flexible grey plastic pipe is required. And no double/triple to single outlet couples is required. Guests simply turn up, set up and level the caravan or level their motorhome, position the trough under the wastewater outlets and that’s it. Along with a hose connection to fill up the Aquaroll with freshwater, guests can have a shower any time they feel like it rain or shine, with no need to fill up or empty containers.
Conclusions on Wastewater Solutions for Caravans and Motorhomes
Most caravan sites, unlike Horton Common, don’t have fully serviced pitches with such a flexible and low maintenance wastewater solution. Therefore that means your going to have to take a Wastemaster or Waste Hog along with you. I would encourage you to consider my points above on the use of waste pipe adapters and couplings to reduce issues with blockages etc.
Anyway, I hope you found the information above useful. And I hope you also consider coming to visit us at some point in the future here at Horton Common :).