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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New system promises to "disinfect and deodorize" your gray water. Do you need it?

A lot of RV folks are innovative. Maybe it's all the time we have behind the wheel between stops, gives us time to sort out strange thoughts and pursue them. Now there's a new one floating around – if you'll pardon a plumbers pun: Dubbed the "Treat & Transfer" system, it promises to make handling excess gray water a snap. Will it really?

The heart of the matter, as posted on a late September YouTube video release, is a device that acts as a go-between your gray water tank and the eventual dumping place for your gray water. A gent named Dan Carvin promotes the system, and the video assures us that gray water we should consider "infected waste" since so much of it is 'contaminated with e-coli' will come out clean and "deodorized" once run through the "Treat & Transfer" system.

Why do we need this $139 miracle? It's specifically aimed at RVers who boondock and don't want to bring the rig back to civilization just to dump their tanks. With Carvin's new patent-pending technology, a small device is connected to your gray water outflow port, and also to your 12-volt electrical system. Gray water is automatically run through the system (which includes a chlorinator of some sort), then feeds out through a small bit of tubing to a customer-supplied portable waste tank. In the video, Carvin's waste tank is an old plastic gas can, painted blue (presumably to keep you from filling your generator with gray water by mistake).

A float system in the delivery end of the works keeps you from overfilling the waste tank. When the tank is full, you can lug the portable waste tank to an appropriate place to dump it.

Assuming that Treat & Transfer works as billed, our curmudgeonly question is, Why? Why drop $139 on a system to simply chlorinate your gray water, and in the process "deodorize" it, when you'll be lugging it off to a dump station anyway? We've carted hundreds of gallons of gray water off in a cheap "blue boy" waste tank without hardly raising a nose hair.

Maybe the "read between the lines" of this is to simply treat your gray water with the new system and pump it off in the weeds – after all, it's deodorized so nobody will smell it, and it's chlorinated so any e-coli will be a "dead issue." If that's the real theory, we doubt that the authorities would agree with the program.

We tried to learn more about the system. Carvin doesn't maintain a website associated with his e-mail. On our first try to contact him by phone, we got a number of rings, then a pickup to dead air. Presumably a wonky answering machine. Sorry, but none of this builds a great deal of confidence.

If you want to pursue it, here's a link to the Treat & Transfer video.


  1. The bacteria in grey water can be killed with a little bleach. There are other things in your grey water, though. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, grease, and food particles from dish washing are also in the grey water. A device to remove all of these things would need to be quite a bit larger than this device. Chlorination only kills the bacteria. You can filter out the larger food particles, but tiny ones will get through.

    Dumping these things on the ground has several effects on the environment. There is also a smell, which seems to be a combination of perfumes from the soap and shampoo, and from the fermentation of the food particles.

  2. Agreed that treatment is unnecessary when using a blue boy, etc. for proper disposal. Grey water is generally fairly innocuous and in some states can be discharged directly or used for irrigation– if you have a permit. In most states, any discharge of any wastewater is forbidden, although in some states there are general permits for particular types or brands of treatment systems. Bottom line is that to use this legally for direct disposal would require permitting on a state-by-state, or even county –by-county basis.