Caravan and RV Leave no Trace drive faces Dump Point issues as Australian road travel growth pressures environment

June 10, 2010
Caravan and RV Leave no Trace drive faces Dump Point issues as Australian road travel growth pressures environment

There is only one public Dump Point for thousands of road touring caravans and Recreational Vehicles (RV's) which travel between Melbourne and Sydney on the arterial Hume Highway route.

The Dump-Ezy unit is in a caravan park which subscribes to the view that Australian road travellers should Leave no Trace and allows it to be used free.

GoSee found it at Holbrook Motor Village run by Trevor and Sharon Liddell. The easy access caravan park is a member of the Top Tourist Parks of Australia chain.

Holbrook Motor Village carries the GoSee RV Friendly logo and can handle big rigs to 13.72 metres at $20 to $22 unpowered a double per night. Holbrook is about 4-5 hours drive from Melbourne and about 5-6 hours drive from Sydney.

The Holbrook Motor Village GPS is: South 35deg 43.47 East 147deg 18.28

Holbrook about 66km from Albury and the New South Wales/Victorian border will be by-passed by the Hume Highway as upgrades to the Hume are completed.

Trevor Liddell is on the Holbrook By-pass committee which is working to keep travellers coming to town.

As the latest April figures from the RVMAA support a recovery for the caravan manufacturing sector GoSee wonders how Australian tourism plans to cope with the liquid waste disposal needs of the Recreational Vehicle road tourism revenue earner.

The TRA Caravan and Camping Snapshot of the economic value of the caravan and camping industry to Australian tourism says $8 billion. That is $5.27 billion domestic and $2.75 billion international.

The CCIA Caravan and Camping Industry Profile of 2008 shows that there are 70,000 to 80,000 caravanners on the road in Australia at any one time.

A CMCA member survey on RV Spend Profiles and Travel Habits at the CMCA's Rockhampton Rally in 2009 showed that the average weekly spend of Recreational Vehicle tourists when travelling is up to $460 on average a week.

The survey shows 150 days per year as the average spent travelling and the time spent at each location as four nights.

Editor's Note: GoSee's practical experience in regular road travel supports the dollar value for two people.

This Australian road tourism sector is now 23 per cent higher in combined Year to Date towable and motorised production than it was in April 2009.

Camec,established in 1962, and one of the largest product suppliers, manufacturers and importers for the Australian and New Zealand recreational vehicle and marine market told GoSee that although their sales figures on grey and black water tanks were dilluted by elements like product sold to repairers, they often got calls about setting up RV's for independent self-contained travel.

A Camec sales source said that over the past four years there is also growing interest in setting up caravans and Recreational Vehicles to use water systems more efficiently.

Camec is a member of the Recreational Vehicles Manufacturers Association of Australia Inc. and Recreational Vehicle and Caravan Manufacturers Association of New Zealand.

GoSee's CMCA sources say dump points are fairly flexible and can be connected to septic systems, or just have a holding tank that can be pumped out on a regular basis.

The CMCA database shows that it has been involved in the establishment of 209 public Dump Points in partnership with the Queensland Government and KEA. Holbrook, the only public Dump Point on the Hume Highway between Melbourne and Sydney is one of these.

CMCA Wanderer magazine works on leave no trace  program
CMCA Wanderer magazine works on leave no trace program

CMCA and KEA have established 183 Dump Points and CMCA and the Queensland Government 26.

GoSee understands from CIA Victoria and the CMCA that more owners are opting to Leave No Trace and prefer to take personal responsibility for control of disposal of grey water from their caravans and Recreational Vehicle's.

Peter Wright of Caravan Industry Australia - (Victorian Trades Division), says the latest figures from the Recreational Vehicles Manufacturers Association of Australia Inc. (RVMAA) support a recovery for the caravan manufacturing sector.

While these figures represent the members of the RVMAA and not non-members or new imports they are a reliable indicator. March and April shows that 76 percent of RVMAA members reported. In January 83 percent responded and in February 73 percent.

It is estimated that non-members of the RVMAA produce about 370 towable units per quarter.

Peter wright says there are upward trends to install grey water tanks in caravans (motorhomes are equipped with these as standard) not so much black water tanks as toilets are generally the vacuum flush or mechanical type units that support their own removable black tank.

Sunny motorhome view camp kitchen Holbrook Motor Village
Sunny motorhome view camp kitchen Holbrook Motor Village

Figures from RVMAA for April 2010 for towable product are 14 per cent above April 2009. They are not 'sales figures' just production, although as the industry is running hot we take the view all products manufactured will be to consumer orders and not dealer stock, Peter Wright said.

So in a Year to Date comparison with April 2009 5,389 new towable and motorised units compared with 4,383 for April 2009 shows an increase of 23 per cent. Caravans, pop-tops and camper trailers are most sought after by buyers.

In 2009 RVMAA members built 14,827 towable and 1,226 motorised units for a total of 16,053.

Phillip Berry Manager Projects and Member Benefits Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia Ltd (CMCA) told GoSee that an increasing number of owners have modified their caravans to be self-contained, and manufacturers are now producing more self-contained units.

The latest Recreational Vehicle figures from CMCA show that their member vehicle fleet is now 26,500. The CMCA's total financial membership is 58,000 and 5000 CMCA vehicles are now Leave no Trace Accredited. The CMCA says 800 new members joined in April.

Big powered sites Holbrook  Motor Village
Big powered sites Holbrook Motor Village

There are now caravan owners who have had their units accredited under the CMCA's Leave No Trace (LNT) scheme. These owners also sign a declaration to agree to abide by an 11 point Code of Conduct to do the right thing at all times whilst on the road.

Phillip Berry says the CMCA supplies Dump-Ezy unit to councils under the CMCA subsidy schemes.

GoSee used and appreciated the Dump-Ezy design at caravan parks we visited on the GoSee Tow Around Tasmanian Tourist Parks in March.

Any unit given by CMCA has a plaque attached, Phillip Berry said.

Whenever we are contacted by a caravan park asking what is the best unit for them to install, we always recommend these units he said.

We have agreed to give new units to Bicheno, Swansea and Triabunna, (in Tasmania) and all three of these towns are now going through the process of being assessed to become RV Friendly Towns, Phillip Berry said.

Under the Agreement that we have with a council when we give them a unit, it must be installed in a location that allows rigs up to 19.5 metres access, it must be open during normal daylight hours every day of the year, and it must be free to all who use it, he said.

We also supply them with the information needed to install the unit correctly, Phillip Berry said.

Phillip Berry says there seems to be some confusion amongst RV tourists as to the correct disposal of grey water'.

800 new CMCA members joined in April 2010
800 new CMCA members joined in April 2010

Those who are LNT accredited will be aware, that in clause 9 of the Code of Conduct, it states: All grey and black water MUST be retained in holding tanks or suitable sealable containers at all times, unless permitted to drain grey water onto the ground by a controlling authority, he said.

If you are staying in a rest area, showground, campground, etc where it states that it is restricted to self-contained vehicles and no water is to be drained onto the ground, then all grey water must be collected into a sealable container if the unit is not fitted with a grey water holding tank.

THIS GREY WATER IS NOT TO BE PUT ONTO GARDENS OR AROUND TREES IN THAT AREA. It must be disposed of into a Dump Point, which may mean taking it off site. Please bear in mind that some councils are now adopting a zero tolerance policy regarding grey water, Phillip Berry said.

If you are permitted to drain the grey water onto the ground and you have a holding tank, then please do this by drip feed. Do not allow the tank to fill and then open the valve to allow all of the waste water to discharge at one time.

This only creates an area of soggy soil and can leave an unpleasant smell. Be considerate of others. You would not like to drive onto a site where someone had just discharged all their grey water waste, he said.

If you have collected your grey water into a container, then if allowed, it can be put onto gardens, but it is advisable, if possible, to ask where it is best to dispose of this waste, Phillip Berry said.

A section of the CMCA March gathering at Carrick Tasmania
A section of the CMCA March gathering at Carrick Tasmania
GoSee Alan meets  l-r Phil Berry, John Osborne and Diana Worner of CMCA
GoSee Alan meets l-r Phil Berry John Osborne and Diana Worner of CMCA
Trevor Liddell of Holbrook  Motor Village in the  parks enclosed camp kitchen
Trevor Liddell of Holbrook Motor Village in the parks enclosed camp kitchen