ByRV DailyAugust 28, 2017


This may not be everyone’s (or anyone’s) favourite subject and just the thought of emptying the damn thing has been known to send a shiver up the spine, or at least bring a grimace to the face of many travellers – especially those who are new to this practice.


This dreaded job is definitely not the most enjoyable part of camping, but properly disposing of our daily human waste is a job which just has to be done. If you have moved on from the days of taking a spade and toilet roll for a walk in the bush and you now have the luxury of a chemical toilet/porta potty/eco loo, then things are somewhat more civilised, but even then, there are guidelines which should be followed to make the system work well for you and others.

To ensure your portable toilet system operates efficiently, make sure you use your Thetford or other chemicals according to instruction and put a couple of litres of clean fresh water into your unit with the chemicals. Don’t try to skimp, because they need those volumes to break things down and do the job properly. Nappy treatment containing sodium percarbonate is also a popular alternative to the other chemicals. Always be mindful of septic systems; your thoughtless disposal of chemicals can eliminate the bacteria required to make these systems work and render them useless.

When using these modern ablution facilities, please do not put any other waste/rubbish, including disposable nappies, sanitary pads, disposable wipes (or flushable, they’re not), into your cassette or the dump point. Such items can, unfortunately, clog up the system, putting it out of action and unusable until the blockage can be cleared. If you want to use ‘wet wipes’, a good idea is to place them into a plastic bag (keep a few bags close to your loo) and then put them in your rubbish. Wandering the country tipping out chemicals and leaving a trail of wipes gives all RVers a bad name and results in facilities being closed. Many local authorities do not have the funds to repeatedly repair blocked sewerage systems.

Depending on the capacity of your cassette toilet and the amount of waste accumulated, it is generally necessary to empty the unit at least every three or four days – much longer and the effect of the chemicals starts to wear off and unpleasant odours can emerge.

When it comes to dump points there are more and more of these facilities being set up in towns and popular camping spots around the country. The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA), KEA Campers and local authorities are to be congratulated on this initiative. Camps 8 and 9 books and other medium have a list of dump point sites around Australia.



When emptying your unit, always ensure you hold the cassette outlet as close as possible to the dump point hole, or even into the neck of the hole, to minimise mess and splatter! If the hole has a cover – remove it first.

In most places a tap/hose is supplied to wash down the dump point after you have used it, to rinse out your cassette unit (at least a couple of times) and put a couple of litres of water into it with your new lot of chemicals for ongoing use. Where only one tap/hose is provided, do not use it to top up your drinking water tanks. This may not be potable drinking water and in any case, serious contamination can occur in these situations because of where this hose has been – washing down the dump point and cleaning the insides of cassettes, etc. A dump point which is left closed up, clean and tidy by the way, makes it much more healthy, hygienic and pleasant for the next person who uses the facility compared to a filthy/obnoxious mess like we have unfortunately come across a couple of times in our travels. Use your own water supply (sparingly, of course) to do the wash down job if no other water is supplied.

Another thing to remember at dump points, this is not a communal activity! The unwritten rule is to use the dump point one at a time – it is total ignorance or just plain bad manners to be dumping two (or more) at a time – let alone the embarrassment of splashing someone with your toilet waste! Stand back and let the other person finish their job. You can certainly have a sociable time with others who may be standing back in a queue, but only one at a time at the site please.

By following these dump point guidelines, you have made this essential chore that much more pleasant for yourself and others … and you can now once again get on with your holiday.