Fresh Water, and Grey and Black Waste the topic of champions.

The cassette.

OK it may seem like the dullest subject in the world but if you are in a motorhome it is important, VERY important.

For those of you in Ireland who think that paying for water is not on, get a grip and anyway you are really pay for the c**p to be taken away.


So what is the story, our lovely Elddis Encore can carry 100 litres of water. Given that in the UK an average couple will use 110 litres a day, you will see that you have be frugal on your travels.  That said it is easy to find spots to refill your tank, so running out is not usually a problem. But unlike home you have to store not only all your water, but all your waste as well. We have a 100 litre grey waste tank, used for shower washing up and such waste. And everybody’s least favorite subject our toilet can store approx. 15 litres Black waste.

Fresh Water

  • In Spain we have found that the water provided is perfectly safe to drink, and we do so without boiling it, we are now here over 4 months, and no issues to report. mind you we use it every day so it is always fresh and the tank is always refreshed.
  • Filling is easy just attach a hose and turn on the tap. we carry lots of fittings, to ensure that we can connect to virtually any tap. But if you are heading to Morocco or Turkey perhaps you will need to be more careful and boil before drinking.
  • Filling up is a matter of connecting a hose to the tap and filling your tank.
  • We always clean the tap with a disinfectant wipe before filing, a good habit we feel, as not everyone treats the taps provided, as hygienically as we might like. Also stick to a routine or you might just lose your filler cap as we did. Duct Tape to the rescue
  • To be clear the modern motorhome has both central heating for hot water and a real shower!
  • That said the limits on the amount of water come into focus here. So a basin of water to wash and shave with for David and a shower rinse brings water use down to about 6 – 8 litres. Karen can be a little more frugal. So with washing dishes and toilet usage our daily usage drops to about 20 litres a day.
Insert hose and turn on tap, in this case push and hold.
Duct Tape to the rescue. It took us two weeks to find a replacement

Grey Waste


  • All of this water ends up in our Grey waste tank beneath the vehicle. this holds 100 litres as well.
  • All the water from your sinks and shower ends up here.
  • A word of advice, never ever let fat down the sink as it can clog things up.
  • This can be emptied by parking over one of the many grey waste disposal sites. Turn the lever and the contents drain away beneath the van. All very easy
  • Sometimes if you are parked up drain into a bucket and carry over to waste point and pour down.
  • Grey waste can get a smell like rotten eggs and so you might have to keep your drain plugs in while moving so it does not enter the van when moving.
grey waste platform, just open the leaver and it drains to the middle and away. It is nice to rinse it off after use.
Draining into a bucket is not that bad and pop up buckets are genius!
It’s called gray water for a reason.


Black Waste

The cassette.
The cassette.

The toilet system in the van is a standard Thetford enclosed system, so the waste is kept in a cassette.

In it's place in the van.
In it’s place in the van.

All in all, it is not complicated and we have been very comfortable with the emptying and filling of the system. Here is a video of I think our second or third empty, and no it’s not a dirty movie. To be very fair we are lot quicker and efficient now!

Everyone is different, and our friends Julie and Jason have a far more detailed insight to all things black waste so here is a link to that.

Like all motorhomers we have some rules to do with the toilet. The main one being that we operate Spanish rules with regards to loo paper. None in the loo, like many palaces in Spain, France and Greece loo paper goes in a little bin and is disposed of regularly, (everyday). This makes the cassette easier to empty, and flush out. We also rinse the cassette out every time we empty.

You have to remember a litre of water weighs one Kg we can only carry around 450Kgs of stuff in the home and so it is important to make sure you empty your grey waste as often as possible as though you can carry 100 litres fresh and 100 litres grey water, if have not emptied your grey you will not be able to use your fresh.

To be fair waste disposal is a man’s job and Karen keeps this going, that said a full cassette is not light and dropping it, is NOT an option. So David get this chore.


It's not that bad really!
It’s not that bad really!


So all in all you have to be a little vigilant about your water use, but you really appreciate just how precious a resource it is. Travelling through Spain where water normally is in short supply, using 20 litres a day is far more environmentally friendly than 15 – 20 showers in your apartment or hotel, and you end up cleaner!

As usual any questions please ask, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Having been on the road for over four months now we are much more comfortable that we were. The people we have meet have always been helpful and kind. The life on the road has been enlightening and liberating.

Life in a Motorhome seems to also be very environmentally friendly. We will expand in this in a later blog.

Until then, Hasta Luego


  1. Great article as people are always asking these types of questions. I did the duct tape over the water filler thing – luckily I filled up at the van’s storage site so the cap was still there when we returned. Now when I unlock the cap, I leave the keys in it and place both in the passenger side foot well – that’s my little routine to ensure I shouldn’t need more duct tape any time soon!

  2. Hey Nolan
    Hope all is well and the climes of Spain are treating you all to an exciting trip.

    I’d say from reading a series of your posts , I’ve decided to do the ‘breaking bad’ approach so I can mentally commit to enjoying the situation in one large piece.

    Aside , I want to know about Spain , and I love your sense of fun and humour , whoever has stolen it down there , I want them to be sent to the wastage tank.

    Anyhow , lets chat soon , I want some funnies soon.

    Is mise le meas

    Paddy o Toole

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