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Diverting Urine into the Gray Water Tank

A significant number of people have asked me what I think about using an EUD accessory (external urine diverter) or a BEX kit (bottom exit kit) to funnel the urine into the gray water tank. Many have simply said that is what they plan on doing and it is an interesting idea worth considering. It would allow you several options regarding wastewater storage and disposal. Let’s take a look.

First, let’s establish some facts. Urine is normally 99% sterile. Unless you have a urinary tract infection, kidney infection or bladder infection, it is a good replacement for sterile water. As strange as it may sound, as a former Army Special Forces Medic, we were taught that in survival situations or as POWs, we could use it as sterile water for wound lavage, to rinse out minor surgery, or for treating insect bites and stings. It was always a great source for jokes and macho banter. The Army doctors at Fort Sam referred to us as “Speckled Feces.” They marched like a mob, most of them didn’t know their right foot from their left and they couldn’t read a compass with surgical loupes, but as “Officers” go, they were pretty cool guys. Point is, we need to lighten up when it comes to dealing with our waste. Mixing your urine with your gray water isn’t the plague that our weak-kneed, unelected, government bureaucrats would have us believe. The main thing is, don’t dump it somewhere where it is going to find its way into standing water. It can do some temporary damage in the form of algae blooms or fish kills if it were done on a large scale but nature will correct that too. Your little gray water tank isn’t going to have any adverse effect, in fact it will in most cases feed and make happy the surrounding vegetation. But I’ll show you how to prevent pollution in a minute.

The EUD is probably the better choice if you are going to direct your urine into the gray water tank. The BEX kit is designed to work with the existing toilet flange. It would make sense to use the BEX kit where you need to exit the drain line out of the bottom of your C-Head at a point that is under the solid waste bucket. This could work with the basic model and the wedged back model. It would also make sense to use the BEX kit if you can make a connection between the black water tank and the gray water tank so that the wastewater flows from one into the other freely.

The EUD collects and diverts the urine out of your C-Head toilet, usually through a hole in the side or back but you could also direct it out the bottom front section of your C-Head by slightly raising the toilet and running the tubing under it and out. A shorty model is probably the preferable choice for that. Engineering the connection between the EUD and the gray water tank is something that each owner will have to design him/herself. You can connect it into the gray water drain line coming from the bathroom vanity which is usually closely located to the toilet. Using gravity feed flow is preferable but that option may not be possible. You may have to go up and over something which would trap urine in the line. Allowing urine to stand in the line is not a good idea because of the buildup of scale, so it will need to be flushed with water after each use to clear the line. In that case, you may want to consider using the pump tank accessory instead of the EUD. It can be used with a hand operated or 12-volt pump to move the urine up and over any obstacles then into the gray water drain line. It would in any event, use the least flush water and thus extend the time between having to empty the holding tank. Read about the pump tank (here) and (here).

Attaching the tubing running from the accessory to the drain line can be challenging. I can tell you that I have had great success with the following method. Whether you are using rigid PVC pipe or flexible pipe, find a hole saw bit that is the diameter of the tubing or pipe. Test the fit on a piece of pipe. It is best to get a snug fit between the two pipes. If you have to, cut a smaller hole and ream it out using a Dremel tool with a barrel sander tip until the fit is snug. Locate where you want the connection to be on the sink drain line and cut a hole in the side of the pipe. Be sure that it is between the p-trap and the holding tank or you may get odor coming out of the sink or shower or whichever drain line you are coming off of. There are some issues regarding ventilation when piping directly into the holding tank so read the articles on that (here).

Cut a small piece off the end of a PVC connector to use as a stop ring and slide it on the end of the EUD drain line so that about 1/2 inch of the tubing is exposed. You can glue it in place with PVC cement. Lightly sand around the diameter of the drain line where you drilled your hole to make the connection. Using plumbers epoxy putty, insert the pipe into the hole to the stop ring and apply the epoxy putty around both pipes and hold it in place for five minutes until it sets up. Now, using glass tape and 5 minute epoxy, wrap the pipes covering the putty. And finally, if you really want to be sure, use atomic tape or any self fusing rubber tape to cover the epoxy glass to thoroughly seal the connection. Voila!

For those of you directing your urine into the black water tank, read my article on the urine diffuser. It will make your life as a boondocker much easier. Usually the rules for camping on public lands state that your bodily waste should be buried in a hole at least 6 to 12 inches deep. This is commonly referred to as a “cat hole.” It is not only legal but the preferred method of disposing of waste in the wild on public lands. A urine diffuser is something you can make very easily using a section of 4-inch PVC sewer pipe, a 4-inch cap that has been modified to take a female garden hose connector and a section of dedicated modified garden hose. Read about it (here).

Please feel free to make constructive comments or ask questions.

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