I wouldn't leave gray water on the site. As I mentioned, I have a 5 gallon bucket (as do most who have PUP campers with no holding tanks). I fill the bucket and tote it away from the site and pour it out to water the trees. I explained my practice of collecting and dumping in the toilet in close-quarters camping (e.g. private commercial campgrounds and state/national park campgrounds).
I appreciate your response, but as former executive director of a nonprofit focused on pesticides and toxic chemicals, I know what is in "typical" gray water...not just mine. They use Dawn dishwashing detergent to save wildlife contaminated with crude oil from spills. You put shampoo and hand soap on your body...your baby even. Nobody should be using antibacterial soaps, and I don't, but even those who do use so little that the concentrations are negligible. The food waste in tent-campers' dishwater seldom makes it off-site, but gray water from a PUP or holding tank can be toted some distance from the site. And given the limitations of PUP drain plumbing, the particulates in gray water are minimal (at least if you're smart). Finally, I provided evidence (and there are tons more sources) that surfactants (soaps and mild detergents) are actually good for plants and soils. The way soap works is that it is a "wetting agent" further allowing water to penetrate and move through soils.
timfromma: I may sound argumentative, but I didn't hear anything in your response that addressed why gray water might be toxic in some way. Yes, if dumped on site, 25 to 30 gallons of gray water (3 or 4 days worth) might leave a smelly, oily (cooking oils), mess. But distributed through the nearby forest...at least in dry climates like Colorado...that precious water (and the nutrients in the water) are far more beneficial than any imagined harm. The state of Colorado actually has regulations enabling property owners to use gray water for on-site irrigation, and gray water is used for irrigation in many forms of agriculture and on golf courses. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wq-graywater
It's also fair to point out that many of the particulates in gray water - say coffee grounds - are beneficial for the soil: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/com...-gardening.htm
Hell, people with dogs have dog pee all over the area where they camp, and only some (including me) clean up their dogs' poop. The environmental hazard from 2 black labs FAR exceeds the hazard from gray water. And what about tent campers who, at best, bury their solid human waste behind a tree, pee essentially anywhere, wash dishes on site, etc.?
I understand that "optically" gray water seems nasty, but a septic system puts black and gray water in the ground in a concentrated location, and people using septics are often on wells located about 100 feet from the leach field. By the time the effluent reaches the water table, the soils have purified it. How is gray water different?
So, I'm sincerely asking for some hard evidence that REASONABLY HANDLED gray water is an environmental hazard as opposed to a "yuk" factor in one's mind only. Please get past the idea that gray water is dumping straight onto the site and address the idea of using it to water the landscape 50 feet from the site when boondocking and the nearest camper is not even in view?
P.S. In many years of camping and dumping PUP gray water in the nearby woods, the food waste residue has never attracted a bear or other wildlife. In fact, I can walk my dogs right past a fresh dump of gray water, and they ignore it. Meanwhile, they will hone in on the scent of two-week old dog pee from 20 to 30 feet downwind. Let's be clear. Food draws them in like flies to honey, but they ignore the scent of any particulates in gray water. So the odor is not an attractant, nor is it offensive if not concentrated in one spot.
Thanks for your patience. I think this is a legitimate question worth exploring. Last weekend, we were in the Pike National Forest, near the Lost Creek Wilderness. This is serious bear country, and we take all the precautions. I dumped 4 x 5 gallon buckets of gray water in four separate locations - sharing it with four stands of trees. No bears...and no bears EVER attracted to gray water dump spots in more than 7 years of boondocking in the mountains of Colorado.