Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Talk about your camp or project's LNT plans (and MOOP problems) here. Ask questions or share ideas on what works and what doesn't.

Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby Dr. Dust » Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:21 pm

It happened on Sunday afternoon, I believe.

My campmate used his knife to create a couple of improvised foot baths out of a plastic 2.5gal water container. We used only Dr. B biodegradable soap and clean drinking water, which by the way was very therapeutic for my feet (I had my doubts, initially). Anyways, when I got tired of soaking my feet in the soapy water, I put on my flip flops and spread the water around on the street.

Some guy rode by on his bike and started saying "No, No! Puddles of moop are the worst to clean up, this is Leave No Trace, man. Nothing hits the ground."

He circled me on his bike once or twice. He was not wearing anything indicating that he was a ranger or DPW or any other event "staff". He didn't bother to introduce himself. It was hard not to laugh, so I just kept silent. I didn't want to further diminish his experience. As predicted, this disposal left no visible trace after it evaporated.

Am I negatively impacting the microbial ecosystems of the Black Rock playa surface? Am I posing a health hazard to other participants?

from http://www.burningman.com/environment/resources/grey_water.html

Frequently Asked Questions

1.What about scattering my grey water? What might be okay for a small (less than 5 people) group doesn't work in a large city.

For reasons of sanitation, and sheer volume, both Black Rock City and the BLM discourage scattering. However, if you're in a very small camp, with minimal dish and body washing water, you might choose to pour your grey water through a filter or sieve (better, a paint sieve or even pantyhose), disinfect the water, then, since it is treated, disperse it on your street to keep down dust. A watering can works nicely for sprinkling. Please be aware that just physically filtering dirty water does not remove bacteria or chemicals. Do not use water like this for misting or spraying on people.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:00 am

Did you seive your water?

And, honestly, with some people it's as much as you can do to get the basic rule embedded in their heads. Subtle exceptions are too much to ask for.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby CornMan » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:50 am

They have a whole different set of "festival rules" that transcend the BLM camping rules during Burning Man. No dogs, no dirt bikes, no high speed land records, no peeing on the ground, etc.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby illy dilly » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:03 am

We have, for years, dumped the water from the beer cooler on the street.
Though, if the water has be reused for hair washing, foot washing, or dish washing it goes into the evap pond.

Our theory is that beer cooler water is nothing more than melted ice and dust.

The water from the food cooler or any cooler that COULD POSSIBLY have something in it other than water and dust goes in the evap pond.

As for soapy water, even if it is biodegradable, its not just water. Its still probably cleaner than the water used by the water trucks, but that water is pulled from a local source that I imagine has a similar biology and mini-ecosystem as the water that forms on the playa in the spring. Which I believe is called Lake Lahontan.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby catinthefunnyhat » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:08 am

I would add that dumping water (as opposed to sprinkling it) on roads creates mud. Being on crutches, I discovered the hard way that small patches of mud are very slippery and easy to not notice. Fortunately, I was wearing my kneepads, so I kind of bounced. Still, creating hazards for your fellow burners is not always appreciated.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:19 am

If I have clean water to dump, I throw it under my truck so the puddle does'nt affect anyone while it dries. 8)
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby Bob » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:21 am

Ridiculous objection to an innocuous rule. Try again.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby illy dilly » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:23 am

Bob wrote:Ridiculous objection to an innocuous rule. Try again.

You talking to your self again Bob? Or who? :wink:
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby unjonharley » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:26 am

FIGJAM wrote:If I have clean water to dump, I throw it under my truck so the puddle does'nt affect anyone while it dries. 8)


That will also help keep the dust down in your camp.. I use a garden sprayer with clean dump water..
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby Bob » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:42 am

illy dilly wrote:
Bob wrote:Ridiculous objection to an innocuous rule. Try again.

You talking to your self again Bob? Or who?


Whom.

The OP seems to be arguing about simple established rules, based on his feeble objections to the methods and reasons given.

You, on the other hand, seem to have gotten excited simply over seeing my name. I'm wearing jeans and a t-shirt, btw. And your science is feeble, too. Jackass.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby scott_k » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:47 pm

Bob wrote:
illy dilly wrote:
Bob wrote:Ridiculous objection to an innocuous rule. Try again.

You talking to your self again Bob? Or who?


Whom.

The OP seems to be arguing about simple established rules, based on his feeble objections to the methods and reasons given.



If I have enough water for washing dishes, I also spread my cooler water around on the ground (though in tight area in my campsite, since it is a significantly greater amount of water). It's just dust and water (and < 0.001% microbial biomass that exists in our atmosphere already).

I'm proud to have left no visible trace at my campsite. All things considered, are there bacteria still decomposing microscopic particles of hemp seed oil soap somewhere on D street near 3:40? Possibly, though it would be difficult to prove with all of that pond water sprayed over it.

I certainly agree that it would have been best to dump this water into the evap pond. At the time, I thought about what it says on the grey water FAQ about spreading "clean" grey water on the street to keep the dust down. However, it makes sense that this can create an unnecessary hazard for people and should be avoided if possible.

But seriously speaking, the contents of the water that I dumped on to D street were:
Water.
Playa dust.
Microorganisms that live on my feet (in contact with the ground at all times regardless).
Dead skin cells shedding off of my feet (also an inevitable "trace" left by everyone who attends).
Aforementioned soap.

Technically, it does leave a trace, even if the trace is invisible. I do not object to that. However, in my estimation, this is more of an issue of to what extent one is a Leave No Trace purist.

I don't think anyone can claim have left zero detectable trace. Your skin sheds on the playa, your hair falls out, exhaust from your car emits tiny caustic particles that settle on the ground, the Man burns and microscopic ash particles become one with the playa and are never recovered, etc. If spreading "clean" grey water on the neighborhood roadways (which are watered with that icky water from that pond anyways) leaves no visible trace and doesn't interfere with anyone's experience, I really can't see how it's an issue.

I'm not negating the rules, I'm just trying to reach for information, and have an intelligent discussion on the differing philosophies relating to this issue.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby Dr. Dust » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:52 pm

^^ Inadvertently posted on my brother's account. (The message above was written by me, Dr. Dust.)
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby tattoogoddess » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:23 pm

i also to kinda wondered about this. i would take cooler water and put it in a bucket. i would use it with a rag and nothing else and sponge bathe my self (no soap) just to get a layer of dust off. i did this for 3 days. was i wrong to throw it on the playa after? water, dust, and skin cells. was i wrong?
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby jerroc » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:40 pm

Use an evap pond. Unless its ONLY boiled grey water. There may be other forms of playa contamination but there is no justification for adding to it.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby unjonharley » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:55 pm

The best answer to this is: Never let it hit the ground..

Sounds tough but planing ahead can do a lot..

If each person figures it is ok to drop and item on the ground, that would make 50 000 plus of that item left on the playa floor.

A little water might not hurt the playa.. But when the asshat next door sees you dump a pan... Well that's his go ahead to dump his RV tanks..

I make it a little game for myself.. Figure out what to bring that will be consumed with nothing let to bring home.. I use net bag(s) to dry any wipes, garbage, tin cans or plastic bags. One for recycle, one for compost and one for garbage.. Being a single camper I am able to tote the grey waters out.. Cooler and left over waters are put in a garden sprayer and sprayed around the camp for dust control..
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby Dr. Dust » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:00 pm

Best answer ^
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby Bob » Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:05 am

Read the rules.
Print the rules.
Don't expect to understand all the rules.
Put the rules in a binder with RULES on the cover.
Keep it handy around camp, for waving at passersby either breaking rules, or scolding you for breaking rules.

The greywater thing has as much to do w/ Nevada State Health as the BLM. I believe it's generally recognized that the playa is incapable of biodegrading anything in a conventional sense, and they don't want participants in casual contact with coliforms, but recognize people are going to dump small amounts of wash water; hence the suggestion for filtering plus disinfection.

Perhaps ironically, the BLM allows gorilla snot added in the water trucks for dust control, which is pre-approved on the basis that it's biodegradable.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby unjonharley » Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:30 am

Bob wrote:Read the rules.
Print the rules.
Don't expect to understand all the rules.
Put the rules in a binder with RULES on the cover.
Keep it handy around camp, for waving at passersby either breaking rules, or scolding you for breaking rules.

The greywater thing has as much to do w/ Nevada State Health as the BLM. I believe it's generally recognized that the playa is incapable of biodegrading anything in a conventional sense, and they don't want participants in casual contact with coliforms, but recognize people are going to dump small amounts of wash water; hence the suggestion for filtering plus disinfection.


A.K.A Never let it hit the ground..
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby Bob » Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:35 am

I meant to type, "it's generally recognized that the playa is incapable of biodegrading anything in a conventional sense, or 'killing' germs". Just as there's a myth circulating that vinegar cures playa dust, there's another myth that the playa "kills" germs. Untrue, and the Nevada State Health inspectors have the coliform test strips to "prove" it.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby CornMan » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:13 am

Our camp put roughly 150-200 gallons in the evaporator pond over the course of the week. On Monday, Sept 3rd, we had only 2-1/2 gallons left to put in a container to take home. None hit the playa.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby illy dilly » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:37 am

Bob wrote:You, on the other hand, seem to have gotten excited simply over seeing my name. I'm wearing jeans and a t-shirt, btw. And your science is feeble, too. Jackass.

:shock: Uuohhhh Bob! You're such a tease!
Though Bob I'd like to let you know that my science is absolutely accurate and light years beyond feeble. If you ever feel so inclined please stop by my camp and I'd be happy to discuss science in detail.

Bob wrote:
illy dilly wrote:
Bob wrote:Ridiculous objection to an innocuous rule. Try again.

You talking to your self again Bob? Or who?


Whom.

The OP seems to be arguing about simple established rules, based on his feeble objections to the methods and reasons given.

I see what ya mean. And I do agree. I'm just trying to confirm WHOM you were talking to.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby MyDearFriend » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:43 am

tattoogoddess wrote:i also to kinda wondered about this. i would take cooler water and put it in a bucket. i would use it with a rag and nothing else and sponge bathe my self (no soap) just to get a layer of dust off. i did this for 3 days. was i wrong to throw it on the playa after? water, dust, and skin cells. was i wrong?


TTG, you are on the right track! 8) I pour my cooler water into my garden sprayer (like Unjon) and then use it to bathe with. I stand on a towel or two (on a tarp so I REALLY leave no trace) and hose myself clean. Much better than a quick shower. Then I hang the towels to dry. Water all gone, soapsuds not an issue. 8) You could do the same with a washrag and a towel, let it slosh around and then air dry, no worries even with a really nice soap. 8)
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:55 am

You packed it in, you can pack it out. Simple as that.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby mulch » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:08 pm

so my project for this year is a hippie washing station.

an outdoor shower for my small camp and anyone we share with.

consists of a shower with a catch pool, a centrifugal prefilter, ozone oxidation chamber, large sand based filter, large charcoal based filter, UV sterilizer at the end and a propane heater for at night and all the pumps and generator and such.

this lets you recirculate the water and reuse it over and over again, coming out sterilized and clean for long hot showers. :) I plan on doing some water quality testing before then so I know how long it can recirculate and be practical, and was planning on having as big of a greywater tank to pack out as the source water tank is. Probably 200 gallons each.

If spraying clean water on the surrounding streets is beneficial to dust, and if I can validate that the water is clean but may have extra to get rid of, would there be anyone to contact to approve sprinkling it on the surrounding streets when the time comes so as to avoid an issue and to avoid packing it out? If I didnt need a greywater tank I could pack more fresh water.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby Savannah » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:33 pm

Sprinkling is allowed for filtered, sterilized grey water remnants in very small amounts; camps of 5 people or fewer who are still prepared to collect what doesn't evaporate. If you've got a good pond you'll have so little water left you'll be sprinkling it with a watering can.

http://www.burningman.com/environment/r ... water.html

However, it sounds like you're doing this on a larger scale if you're going to have 200 gallons. You'll probably going to need that greywater tank as backup, even if you have the most brilliant evaporation pond in the world, because something could go wrong with your system.

Here's a really good page with lots of strategies:
http://earthguardians.net/lnt_practices_water.htm
earthguardians(at)burningman(dot)com

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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby some seeing eye » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:01 pm

Will it wash ravers too?

I would start a new thread for your project.

You might look at the Dr Bronner's All-One Ark project. Doubt they reuse. There are also camps like the Astral Headwash and the human carcass wash with experiences that might be helpful.

Given the particle size of playa dust, doubt you will be able to filter it out without floculation and sedimentation which takes time, so you will be reusing tan water. There are some posts on the composition of playa dust.

A great contribution would be a duplicable camp size spray foam soaper and spray rinser that is super water efficient. It could be something like the widely duplicated Evapotron. You could document it in Instructables.

(BTW biodegradable is good, but it is not a panacea)
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:22 pm

I suspect that the County Health Department would be concerned. They might shut it down.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby Savannah » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:56 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:I suspect that the County Health Department would be concerned. They might shut it down.


If there is a public element to the water, then yes, possibly. Good point.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby missprism » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:10 pm

the poster said the shower is for their camp, no?

though it seems like an awful lot of effort just for a camp shower.
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Re: Is disposal of H20 + biodegradable soap on playa MOOP?

Postby mulch » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:48 pm

At what point do you think that a service like that would be considered public if it was made a available to our small camp and perhaps people you meet and nearby campers you interact with? I agree that eventhough I have the scientific know how to test and confirm very clean water, proving it to health officials is not what I want.

And yes it is a lot of trouble, but stop by one Wednesday night after crazying all night and take a 30 minute hot shower before crashing or going back for more and I suspect you will agree it will be spectacular.
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