Dump stations are small facilities specifically designed to collect and safely dispose of grey and black wastewater from recreational vehicles, e.g. motorhomes, caravans, and boats. Hundreds of dump stations are located throughout New Zealand in public areas and at commercial campgrounds. These facilities are typically built in accordance with NZ Standard 5465:2001. 

It is imperative that local authorities provide well-functioning public dump stations in their cities and districts. The Local Government Act 2002 and Section 23 of the Health Act 1956 require local authorities to improve, promote, and protect public health. Local authorities must assess the need for sanitary services to protect public health from indiscriminate waste disposal. 

Most local authorities, during their assessments under Part 7 of the Local Government Act, determine there is a need to provide public toilets, which serve / benefit residents and visitors alike. Local Government New Zealand’s guidance on assessing sanitary services notes:

For some territorial authorities, the need for and supply of effluent disposal facilities (i.e., facilities for the disposal of wastewater and sewage from trucks and campervans etc.) may be relevant in the assessment of public toilets (Local Government New Zealand (2000). The knowhow guide to assessing water and sanitary services under the Local Government Act 2002, p. 29.)

Dump stations protect the environment and public health by ensuring recreational vehicles have a proper place to dispose of their wastewater. A well-functioning public dump station will:

  • Provide a safe and convenient facility for both visitors and local ratepayers to use when they return home from their motorhome and caravan holidays.
  • Support the local visitor economy which benefits financially from domestic and international motorhome tourism.
  • Protect communities and the environment by providing facilities that encourage visitors and ratepayers to safely dispose of their wastewater.  

How do I get one?
Contact the NZMCA to discuss your needs and options by phoning 09 298 5466 or emailing [email protected].

The NZMCA offers financial assistance towards the installation of new public dump stations. Our assistance includes a one-off financial contribution towards budgeted capital works, the provision of a pre-cast concrete unit, and the reimbursement of the cost of signage to assist the public in locating the facility. The value of the NZMCA’s financial contribution depends on the budgeted cost of work and the necessity for a new dump station in the area.

Subject to availability, you may also apply to purchase a pre-cast concrete unit (photos above) from the NZMCA. The units are assembled by volunteers and sent directly from an NZMCA Park in Rolleston, near Christchurch. The purchase price varies depending on what you require, the cost of materials, and freight charges.

How much do they cost to install and maintain?
Installation costs vary depending on the proximity of underground services, the extent of earthworks required to provide large vehicle access, and who you engage to carry out the work. In our experience, a simple but well-functioning single-access dump station built by a local plumber/drainlayer in a public reserve with low traffic volumes and easy access to underground services can be installed for less than $25,000; whereas a more grandiose design that requires significant earthworks, project management and consultant fees, and resurfacing of the carriageway to improve vehicle manoeuvrability, might exceed $100,000.

The NZMCA does not subsidise maintenance costs, however in our experience a well-designed and properly installed facility will require minimal ongoing maintenance. Some local authorities have installed iron maidens (honesty boxes) next to their public dump stations to help offset maintenance costs. For example, the public dump stations in Tokaanui and Lumsden both have iron maidens installed to collect voluntary donations towards their potential annual maintenance costs. In 2015, the Southland District Council reported each dump station facility was receiving between $400-$500 per annum from voluntary donations and that this was more than adequate to keep on top of any maintenance requirements.

Examples of dump station designs

Single vehicle access

Dual vehicle access

Installation guidance
In addition to the above design examples, please refer to:

How do I use them?
For instructions on how to use a dump station, please refer to our Dump Station User Guide. This guide provides step-by-step instructions, complete with photographs for ease of understanding. The photographs have been kindly provided by NZMCA members - Shirley and Don Pooley #20734.

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