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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: U.S. Gun rights again
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 12:13:57 -0400

Rob wrote:

> While at the range the other day, a division of the IRS was practicing
> on the rifle range with automatic weapons. Go figure. The range clerk
> said these IRS agents are at drug raids and other raids where large
> amounts of cash are found...they are usually working with the FBI, she
> said.

I'll give you one worse than that.  I was at an Atlanta area range a
few  years ago and saw an EPA wannabe SWAT team practicing.
Whathehell does the damned EPA need with ninja-clothed jackbooted
thugs?  What are they going to do, machine-gun a 55 gallon drum?  I
can see it now "Don't drop that gum wrapper or we'll shoot!".  After
watching them shoot for a bit, I wasn't too worried about them
actually hitting anyone.

From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: What would you pay for RV dump service?
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2008 11:38:06 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Sun, 19 Oct 2008 04:45:49 -0700 (PDT), "Hustlin' Hank" <>

>A few years ago I was camped at Lazy Days in Tampa. There was a guy
>who had a trailer, pressure washer and other associated equipment. He
>was washing and waxing RV's at the campsite for $5 a foot. he did a
>great job. He can no longer do that. He now does it in a specific area
>to contain all the bad chemicals (so I heard, not fact). Probably
>costs more too.

All so true.  People used to make good money with portable pressure wash rigs
working at truck stop sleep lots washing rigs while the drivers slept.  EPA
Nazis stopped that.  The reason, I sh*t you not, was that the oil and other
petroleum products being washed off were going into storm drains.

Now let's stop and think about that for a moment.  Where does every bit of
every drop of oil and other fluids that leak from vehicles end up?  That's
right, on some paved surface and then into storm drains.  Millions of those
drops are what make up the black streaks that run down the center of every
highway lane.

What the pressure-washer didn't knock off would mostly get knocked off during
the next rain storm.  The blast of water coming off tires on a wet roadway
isn't all that much different from the blast from a pressure washer.

All those petroleum products in "the environment" are bad, right?  Wrong.
There are a variety of bacteria and fungus that thrive on petroleum products.
Most folks who operate diesel rigs are familiar with the fungus that makes
slime in their fuel tanks when water is present.  These bacteria are the
reason there aren't massive pools of petroleum gunk alongside every roadway.
Different bacteria that like rubber are why there aren't piles of worn tire
dust mounded up on the sides of roads.

Appearances are all that matter to EPA and that rainbow sheen often visible
after washing a vehicle is what got their panties in a wad.  Anyone who is
sufficiently interested can go back about 10 years and read a few thousand
words of justification that say just that.

A client of my dad's (CPA) had such a service.  Ran several wash trucks.  He
was one of the few that had the resources to build a fixed pad and a "skimming
pond" to the EPA's specs.  This was all so silly that it would be funny if it
hadn't cost him so much money.  Especially the skimming pond.

Anyone who stops at the Flying J at the I-40/75 interchange in Knoxville can
see one that is almost identical.  There's a small pond with a floating oil
"pig" at one end.  This stops floating oil from reaching the pond exit.  Into
the oil side of the pig dips a belt made of hydrophobic material.  It dips
just under the surface of the water.  Oil is attracted to the stuff but water
is repelled.  The little, about 1" wide belt is slowly circulated by a small
gear motor.  It travels over a top pulley and then down to a pair of wringer
rollers kinda like what old wringer washing machines had.  This squeezes the
oil out of the belt and into a trough that leads to a 5 gallon bucket.  From
there the belt goes back to the pond in a continuous loop.

I became quite familiar with this unit, as I did his service.  The belts don't
last long so I changed them out and occasionally changed out the little Bodine
gear-motor that ran it.  I also became familiar with the magnitude of the
"problem".  A month's operation would generate about a 5 gallon bucket's worth
of oil/water emulsion.  I never got curious enough to try and separate the two
but it looked like there was far more water in the emulsion than oil.  Of
course, when it rained, the volume of water overwhelmed the pig and water
flowed right over it.  That was OK with EPA, strangely enough.

For this tiny cosmetic "problem", EPA shut down his mobile service that was so
convenient to both truckers and his employees, killed several jobs, made him
spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and forced truckers off the road to use
his service.  Idiotic.

To put this in perspective. a single Class 8 truck with a moderate oil leak
can easily go through 5 gallons of motor oil in a month.  That, of course,
drips right down onto the road surface, washes off into ditches where the
oil-loving bacteria have a smorgasbord.
>Besides, how much harm could he do to a dump valve as compared to
>ruining your paint and finish on your MH? I am guessing not more than
>$250 for dump valve, associated piping and labor, as compared to
>$1000's for a paint job/body work. Your priorities confuse me.

Well, unless the kid had a power buffer (he certainly shouldn't at that age),
I'm not sure how he could ruin the paint on a rig, especially since it's
usually either gelcoat or Imron.  There is a long history of success of kids
doing car washes for fund raising.  I used to frequent the one put on by the
local high school's Math Club that was raising money to go to the Math

A whole bunch of enthusiastic, well, nerds would assault my car with terry
towels and chamois and the result was far better than the commercial "hand
wash" in town.  They even had enough sense (they were nerds, after all) to use
a new towel when washing each car's interior windows.  The commercial outfit
did a very nice job of smearing spooge on my windows from the daily towel.

>Hank <~~~tries to use common sense occasionally

Yeah, me too, but there doesn't seem to be much in this thread.

Of the two RV ideas, I think that he'd have a better chance of success with
the RV washing.  The major problem would be getting permission from the RV
park's operators to wash-in-place.  Most ban such practices, assumedly to
prevent turning camping slots into swamps and avoiding massive water bills. If
y'all worked together and developed a low water process, it might work.

For quite some time now I've been using that Mr Clean system that Wallyworld
sells to wash both my vehicles and my MH.  They claim that it's no-touch but I
use a lamb's wool boot over a long handled brush to lightly scrub the car
between wash and rinse.  The gadget contains a water softener and liquid wax
and does a very competent job.  Doesn't use much water either.

Personally, my choice for work for a 14 year old would be in this order

1. Cutting grass/yard work
2. Washing rigs (cars might be easier to deal with than RVs.)*
3. Your dump idea. **

#3 requires the least capital investment but might be the hardest to sell to a
park.  Who knows until you actually try it?

* I'd kill for a kid who would come around every so often and wash and wax my
cars.  I'm not physically able to do it very often and I do not like the job
the only commercial outfit in town does plus they're 30 miles away.  I'd even
supply the supplies.  I've had a couple of candidates but the problem in both
cases was that their parents gave them such large allowances (teaching them
about the welfare state) that actually working wasn't worth the effort.

** Here's something else that you need to think about.  I was sitting around
our nightly campfire last night and I brought this dumping idea up with the
crowd.  Very few of the members move their RVs anymore so the sampling wasn't
representative but there was decent interest, especially when I asked 'em to
pretend that they still traveled.

One of the guys brought up something that I hadn't considered.  He's the
Superintendent of the wastewater plant in a medium-sized Alabama town.  His
concern was the wide variety of disease that the kid would be exposed to.
We're all naturally immune to the stuff that lives in our guts except for the
occasional disease organism, of course.  Not necessarily so with the flora of
other peoples' guts.

My friend listed all the things that he and his employees are vaccinated
against.  The list was fairly long and I didn't take notes but I do recall the
Hepatitis varieties, staph and a few others.  This would be a necessary cost
and inconvenience, especially for a young kid with an immature immune system.
You might want to call your local wastewater plant, talk to the boss and find
out what THEY vaccinate against.

He also described the precautions they take when there's a chance of exposure
to aerosol sewage, such as opening a pump casing or pipe flange where there
may be head pressure.  This involves a rubber rain suit with a hood that ties
around the full face respirator (primarily protection against eye, nose and
mouth spray contamination.)  fairly heavy rubber gloves taped to the rain suit
sleeves and rubber boots taped to the rain suit pant legs.

They use organic vapor/mist/HEPA particulate filters in the respirators, the
activated charcoal to kill most of the odor and the HEPA to filter out
bacteria.  They pass through a fairly strong bleach shower before undressing
after the job is finished.

My friend is one of the old fashioned level-headed rational guys and not one
of the neo-panphobic panty wetters that contaminate the world today.  I think
that his level of concern and the resultant protective measures are entirely

Your grandson wouldn't be dealing with pressurized sewage systems but he COULD
splash the stuff or get it on his hands and later inadvertently touch his nose
or eyes.

My grandfather ran a sewage treatment plant back in the 60s and used little
more protection than rubber gloves and boots.  However that was before
antibiotic-resistant bugs, mutant bugs such as E-coli-O157, the
Vancomycin-resistant Staph, the Hepatitis epidemic and the new critters that
have popped up out of nature.

Especially since so many folks now irrationally refuse to use formaldehyde
holding tank treatment, I think that I'd at least wear a rain jacket, gloves
and perhaps a respirator, or at least a dust mask containing activated
charcoal.  That would stop nose and mouth splashes. And safety glasses, of
course, to protect from eye splashes.  I think that I'd also have a garden
sprayer filled with bleach solution to use on myself in case of an accident.
And a bucket of bleach water to dip my gloved hands in between each dump.

I asked my friend what he would consider as the absolute minimum protection
and the above is about what he said.

Something to think about.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: What would you pay for RV dump service?
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2008 16:07:54 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Sun, 19 Oct 2008 10:09:56 -0700 (PDT), "Hustlin' Hank" <>

>On Oct 19, 11:38?am, Neon John <> wrote:
><snip, snip, snip and more snip>
>> Something to think about.
>> John
>Damn! I didn't mean to cause you to indulge in so much thought.
>Sorry  :-)

Apparently someone in your clan needs to.

>I thought about the hazards, and yes there are many, but no more than
>any other job. On federal property where he and I ride our dirtbikes
>there is an outhouse. Remember them? They are maintained by the park
>service. I am sure everyone who uses it are exposed to every hazard
>you mentioned. Everyone is exposed to these same hazards everyday when
>they use a public restroom.

Actually, no they're not.  Among other things, the probability of becoming
infected with a pathogen depends on a) the amount of exposure and b) the
frequency of exposure.  Or as one of the sayings in the trade goes "The devil
is in the dose."

Many pathogens have short lives outside the body.  More specifically, as the
temperature decreases from optimum and moisture evaporates, it dies.  That's
why you can't "catch the clap from a toilet seat".  Most of the stuff that
live on toilet seats is harmless.  Virulence and environmental toughness are
roughly inversely proportional most of the time.  That should be intuitive,
otherwise the first virulent, environmentally tough bug that came along would
kill every affected host.  The exceptions are called Pandemics.  Praise the
Lord the HIV virus isn't tough!

Secondly, the FS-operated sh*thouses contain antibacterial chemicals.  I've
never been curious enough to look at the drum that they pump the stuff from to
find out what is in it but it smells of formaldehyde.

Third, even ordinary outhouses have several anti-bacterial processes going on
"down there", not to mention the lime that most outhouse owners add
periodically to control odor.  These are similar bacterial processes as occur
in septic tanks.

Forth, your exposure to an outhouse environment is very occasional.  Even if
you got the squirts while out in the woods, you'd not use a given outhouse
more than half a dozen times or so.  And you certainly wouldn't be mucking
around "down there".

Let's compare that to what you propose your grand-kid to do.  The stuff in the
black water tank, assuming the owner hasn't used formaldehyde, bleach or other
strong antibacterial, is a perfect environment for bacterial multiplication.
That's why an untreated tank stinks so badly after a few days.  The
environment becomes hostile to some pathogens but perfect for others including
infectious agents.

So, as opposed to every example you cited, what comes out of the dump valve is
bacterially extremely "hot".  If it splashes in his eyes, nose or mouth or
gets on an open wound, he's just been inoculated with whatever is in the

Few of us who camp have avoided having some kind of "accident" involving
dumping.  The hose comes off or up out of the dump hole or, as happened to me
once, the whole damned valve assembly came off.  yeah, I got splashed with the
stuff, including my face.  The big difference is, it was MY stuff, stuff that
my body and its immune system already accommodates.  The stuff coming out of
the tanks of a line of RVs at a dump station certainly doesn't fit that

The other factor is that as adults, our immune systems are MUCH tougher than
those of a kid.  Our systems have been challenged literally billions of times.
Most of the time the system not only comes through but remembers the
challenge.  That is, it develops an immunity for that particular bug.  In the
rare instance when it fails, we get sick, develop an infection or whatnot.

Summarizing thus far, at this point we have an individual with an immature
immune system being placed in a position to be exposed to a vast variety of
foreign (as in foreign to him and to his family) pathogens.  That's bad enough
but it's not the end of the story.

Now consider the other half of the equation.  Frequency of exposure.  If there
is enough traffic to make this endeavor worthwhile, then there's enough
traffic to expose the kid to dozens, maybe a hundred or more different
pathogen packages, er, RVs.  Even if all that happens is a few drops of black
water drip on his gloves (he would be wearing gloves, wouldn't he?  Or is that
too much overkill for you?) as he unhooks the dump hose then his hands will be
grossly contaminated.  If he unconsciously scratches an itch on his nose or
touches his face, he's just grossly contaminated himself.

Even if he follows the advice of my friend the wastewater superintendent (who
has a Masters in Biology and a wall full of certifications and is widely
regarded as an expert in the field.) and dips his gloves in a bucket of bleach
water between dumpings, he's still at risk from splash to his clothes or face
unless he does the rest of the "overkill".

In my case, Hank, my secondary specialty, something that I hold a number of
certifications in is Health-Physics.  It's unlikely that you know what that is
so I'll explain.  We deal with radiological hygiene.  That is, protecting
workers and the public from radioactive materials.  Radiological and bacterial
hygiene are almost parallel disciplines.  Both involve tiny, sometimes
clusters of just a few atoms, of materials that are potentially harmful to
living things and that can be easily spread when "overkill", as you call it,
precautions are not taken.  Fortunately for my discipline, we have instruments
that can detect literally atoms of radioactive material so our job is much
easier than the guys on the infectious agents side.

Every worker who works with or could be exposed to radioactive material or
radiation has to receive several hours of health-physics training before he is
allowed to work.  Most of it is pretty basic - what the warning signs and
labels mean, basic radiation detection instrumentation and dosimetry use, body
awareness (where your hands and feet are and to get used to not scratching
every itch that arises), protective equipment use and a few other thing.

One of the training aids that I (and a number of other folks in parallel)
developed in the 70s was what I call a "powder room" drill.  The workers
(mostly tradesmen) are dressed out in anti-contamination apparel and sent into
a simulated hot work environment.  They do some tasks appropriate to their
trade (loosen nuts, move wires, etc) and come out.

Unbeknownst to them, the room is sprinkled at various locations with very
fine, invisible fluorescent powder that simulates radioactive material.  This
stuff is about as fine as face powder, is white in bulk form but invisible
when dispersed but glows bright blue under black light.

When the guys come out of the work area to the survey and decon area, they are
"surveyed" for contamination with instruments that look like geiger counters
but contain black light bulbs.  Most of the guys light up like blue neon! Even
when they've been wearing SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus, AKA Scott
Air Packs) like firemen use, there is usually a blue halo around their noses
and glowing spots on their faces.  That almost always is the result of the guy
thinking that since he really can't see any contamination, it'll be OK to lift
his mask to scratch that nose itch just this once.

Most guys also have bright blue splotches on their chests and around the
anti-C coverall pockets.  This is because many folks unconsciously wipe their
hands either on their chests when wearing mechanic's overalls, on their hips
or as I sometimes do when I want to hide the grease stain, inside my pocket.

When your hands are contaminated, that turns the process of coming out of the
C-zone from a simple matter of stripping off the gloves and then undressing to
carefully undressing while being monitored by an HP tech, many times
accompanied by being vacuumed with a HEPA vacuum cleaner.  Bodily
contamination usually happens during the undress so a decon shower usually

Oh, before I finish, almost every guy comes out with a brightly glowing crotch
too.  Adjusting the jewels inside a C-zone isn't a good idea.

EVERYONE who isn't trained makes these mistakes.  They're a natural part of
everyday activities.

Bacterial contamination is, IMO, MUCH more serious than radiological
contamination.  First off, we can easily detect and remove radioactive
materials.  Second, radioactivity doesn't multiply, grow or infect.  If it's
on your skin, it simply washes off.  If you breath a little, natural clearance
processes get rid of it in a few hours to a few days (a few things like Pu

Second, people can't be carriers of radioactive materials as they can of
biologicals.  My father became a carrier of a fairly harmless (to him) strain
of staph, the result of his war wounds and the Army medical corps' attempts to
finish what the germans failed to do.

While his status had no effect on him or us (we developed an immunity probably
while we were babies), it DID have a huge effect when he had to be
hospitalized.  The >20 pieces of german shrapnel still in him occasionally
tried to work their way out and/or developed infected pockets around them.

Hospitalization consisted of putting him in an isolation room with all the
precautions used for, say, an organ transplant recipient.  In this case, the
precautions were to prevent the Staph from getting OUT.  His Staph was
naturally drug-resistant or else they could have killed it off decades ago.

Now suppose we'd been camping at a place where your kid was doing dump duty.
Further suppose that I didn't use formaldehyde-based tank treatment like I
normally do.  Dad's excretions would be in the black water tank.  Now suppose
your kid gets a few drops of stuff from our black water tank on his hands and
a little while later, scratches that itch on the side of his nose.

He very well may have become infected and if he was, it would be with a
drug-resistant strain of Staph.  The difference is that instead of just
hanging out enjoying life, as pathogens do in carriers, in your kid it does
what Staph normally does - it tries to kill him.  If your kid recovers, it
will take months and lots and lots of dollars.  Get on the net and find out
what just one dose of Vancomycin costs, for example.

>Taking precautions is paramount, but there
>is overkill. Wearing a hazmat suit with full breathing apparatus is a
>little over kill. I know you didn't say that, just pointing out a

What you were pointing out is that you lack the education to be able to
evaluate the risks involved and to know how to specify appropriate protective
measures.  My original suggestion, wearing a rain suit (to keep spattered sh*t
out of his clothes), gloves, safety glasses and a snoot boot and my friend's
suggestion of having a sanitizing solution handy is hardly overkill.  Most
folks experienced in the field of industrial hygiene would consider that
minimally appropriate.  Most industrial hygienists would probably include at
least a full face shield and much better waterproofing but I don't consider
that necessary as long as the kid doesn't bathe himself in the stuff during
every dump.

>This seems to be the way america is headed.

If by that statement, you're observing the declining general educational level
of the populace, then I regretfully have to agree with you.

>Hank <~~~~ free thinker

Didn't you mean "feeble thinker"?


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