Firstly, what is a Cassette Toilet?
What can officially be called a Cassette Toilet is often referred to as a ‘Porta Potti’ (registered to Thetford).
Essentially, it is a permanently mounted or portable toilet with a ‘Black Water’ tank that can be removed for emptying.
The permanent Cassette Toilets are more popular in mobile homes and caravans – where you’ll find the (often) ceramic ‘throne’ sitting resplendently in the Ensuite. Funny how bigger setups have actual rooms…
While the portable type Cassette Toilets are more commonly found in makeshift pop-up tents (let’s call them an Ensuite too just to be fancy) alongside the rig or camper trailer. Smaller camper vans can also have portable toilets tucked under the bed or seat. Heck, I even use mine in the great outdoors with some pretty impressive views.
While the sizes of each vary, a good size Cassette Toilet would hold around 15 litres or so of Black Water. That’d be a weight of about 15kg to carry.
What’s Black Water?
Perhaps you’re more familiar with Grey Water – that’s the stuff that comes from your kitchen sink, shower and washing machine. Due to its somewhat dirty but ‘clean’ nature (soap and fats etc with no faecal matter).
So, that’s where the faecal matter comes in (or goes out) – this includes the toilet paper that one uses in the process. This is the stuff (Black Water) that needs to be captured in the Black Water tanks and disposed of correctly.
Note: Some campers and travellers dispose of their toilet paper separately in a bin etc. But I’m not going to discuss that here – other than to say that, if you camp with me, you won’t find me brandishing soiled paper about the campsite or placing it in the bin or camp fire.
How Do I Dispose of Black Water?
When camping and travelling, you will find more and more regional councils and camping grounds in Australia provide ‘Dump Points’ for you to dispose of your Black Water.
These Dump Points are effectively big outdoor toilets with large openings and a funnelled surround at ground level where you simply empty your Black Water tanks.
Note: Be sure to hang on to all your caps and bottles etc and place them to one side – you DO NOT want to go fishing for the treasured lid if it takes a dive.
There’s generally a hose at the Dump Point for you to rinse out your Black Water tank and to flush your ‘business’ down the chute.
Note: WikiCamps will show you the location of Dump Points – just go to the filter and select it. For Apple products refer https://apps.apple.com/au/app/wikicamps-australia/id505365608
Look for signage for dump points and public toilets
You will often find signs at public toilets and camping grounds that ask you not to dump your Black Water down the toilet bowls – Please comply with this request. It’s not unreasonable.
If you bring a Black Water home with you, you can dispose of that down your toilet at home – provided you are connected to a sewerage system.
How to dispose of Black Water at home
Note: Ive found two options for disposing of Black Water at home.
The first is to use a short length of 90mm PVC pipe to empty the tank into the toilet bowl. This will reduce the slashing of the Black Water as it hits the bowl.
The second is to empty the tank down your outdoor Overflow Relief Gully. That’s a a fancy word for that removable grated cap you’ll find on the outside of your house – possibly outside the bathroom. Just make sure its not a rainwater down pipe!
Do not dispose of your Black Water (and associate chemicals) down a septic system or a composting toilet like those found in national parks etc. The chemicals in your Black Water tank will upset all the good ‘bugs’ that are hard at work breaking down all the stuff in the system.
Note: I know that there are some chemicals out there that can be emptied into composting toilets or even into a simple hole that you dig in the ground – but this is not my area of expertise and many authorities simply don’t allow it.
For me, I carry a pack of disposable rubber gloves.
This is not so much to protect me from my business, but more to protect me from the person before me’s business when lifting the lid, turning the tap on or holding the hose. I mean, I love you all very deeply, but when it comes to your Black Water I’d like to keep away from that as much as possible.
I also carry disinfectant with me to clean my Black Water tank and Cassette Toilet at each emptying.
Camp Hero Status
Believe it or not ‘Camp Hero Status’ is still very much a part of the emptying process of your Cassette Toilet.
We all do it – I mean, if you don’t eat, you don’t shit. If you don’t shit, you die. It’s that simple.
So hold your head high as you do the ‘walk of shame’ to the Dump Point and wear the task as a badge (not literally though).
For Those Who Like to Count
I used the word ‘toilet’ 19 times (eh, make that 20) and the word ‘shit’ twice (now thrice).
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