Use the Nosefish Shower

You should set your shower up on a plastic tarp, to protect the playa and give you something to stand on instead of the playa when you get in and out in your bare feet. The shower needs to be tied to the ground before it can be used. Careful, if someone used the shower before you, the tarp might be slick if some of their water spilled or blew in the wind.

The shower is designed to work with a solar shower bag, which you can purchase at a sporting goods store. It takes about 60-90 minutes to get HOT on the playa. Put it on the hood of your car in the sun. Careful! You can burn yourself easily with solar heated water.

You may need to shorten the tube on your shower bag. A long tube is harder to get over your head (or requires a very, very tall shower). You can remove the shower head from the tube, cut the tube shorter, and reinstall the shower head. You can use a little water with a tiny amount of Dr. Bronner's in it as a lubricant to insert the shower head if it is too hard to fit back into the tube.

The shower is designed to work with those 2.5 gallon water jugs. They roughly resemble a small suitcase. That is enough water for one shower.

You'll need one empty water jug, which you should cut a hole in the top side of, right behind the handle. You can use one that you emptied for drinking water. The hole should be about 1 inch in diameter. It also works if you cut a flap in the top. Be careful to leave the handle intact, so you can lift it even if it is full of water. You'll insert the drain tube from the shower into this hole or flap to catch all the water from the shower. Be sure the catch jug is empty before you begin your shower.

Take a fresh water jug and pull off the valve from the jug. It is on a plastic cover which can be pulled off whole, leaving a big hole about 1.5 inches in diameter in the front of the jug. Have a friend hold your solar shower bag and pour the water in. Save the valve assembly and the jug. *Do not puncture or injure the jug* -- you'll need it to transport your water home.

After heating your water in the solar shower bag, you tie a rope to its handle and throw the other end of the rope over the shower bar at the top. Then you hoist it up over your head and secure the other end to the base of your shower with a bungie cord.

After your shower, the catch jug will contain all your shower water. The catch jug still has its valve intact. Open the valve and pour the graywater into your original, unpunctured water jug. When all the water is back in the original jug, replace the valve assembly by pressing it on (start at one edge and apply pressure around the valve assembly until it snaps on.)

Test the just-filled water container to be sure it doesn't leak. Double check that the valve is securely attached to the jug again.

Once it is sealed, you can carry it home and dispose of it in a bathtub or a sanitary sewer at an RV park. It is too much water for a toilet, so don't make a mess at a rest stop. The graywater is secure in the jug and will make it all the way home, just as well as the fresh water made it all the way to Burning Man.

If you have no glitter on your body, and no body paint, basically nothing but suntan lotion and sweat, and you use only biodegradable soap, such as Dr. Bronners, then you may elect to treat your graywater. Properly treated graywater can be sprinkled on the roads -- it is both legal and ethical to sprinkle treated gray water on the roads.

Treating Graywater

At camp Nosefish we treat our graywater as follows:
  • Inspect the water for signs that the water is untreatable, such as glitter, paint, dye, etc. If it has glitter or dye in it, store it and take it home and dump it down a sanitary sewer at an RV park or your bathtub at home. If there is grease or floating fats in the water, and they float to the top, remove them before filtering the water.
  • Filter the water through a nylon stocking to remove hair, skin, etc.
  • Make a filter holder with a big can (e.g. from a big can of tomatoes with both ends cut out.) Use a strong rubber band to secure two layers of nylon stockings over one end (not too tight -- let it droop into the can).
  • Make a big funnel from a 1-gallon milk container by cutting 1" from the bottom (the handle makes an easy way to hold it when using it).
  • We filter the water from the catch bucket into a 5 gallon bucket. We let that bucket accumulate until we have 5 gallons to treat.
  • We use two people to handle the gray water. One holds the funnel and the filter -- the other carefully pours the graywater into the funnel.
  • After filtering it, treat the water with chlorine bleach -- about 2 tablespoons, or one "blorpfull" if you just pour some in. Let it stand for at least an hour.
  • Finally, sprinkle it on the road, or pour it very, very slowly over a very large area. Don't just pour 5 gallons of treated gray water onto the road! That would create a mud puddle that *nobody* wants to wander through. Also, only pour water on the road during the hot part of the day. The water should soak in and evaporate quickly so it isn't a hazard or a yucky spot. A plant watering can is ideal because it spreads it out evenly over a large area.

We strongly recommend against gray water evaporation pools for lots of reasons! Read our evap pool rant for a good summary of why it is better not to build an evap pool.

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