Practice minimum impact by carrying out toileting waste
In the Main Range area (above the treeline) of Kosciuszko National Park or any other area of the Australian Alps, if a park toilet is not available you are asked to be prepared for, and to follow carry out procedures for all your toileting waste (including used toilet paper, sanitary items, baby nappies and wipes etc.). Even if just visiting for a few hours or a day visit, you should be prepared for an unexpected toilet stop. Nature can call at any time!
You and your group can be easily prepared by carrying and using ‘poo tubes’ or ‘wag bag’ systems which are light, low bulk, clean and hygienic for later disposal. A good and comprehensive information resource for backcountry toileting and waste disposal etiquette, and best practice can be found in this Trailspace article : Human Waste Disposal in the Backcountry: How to pee and poop in the woods Please don’t dispose of bagged toilet waste or any other rubbish into flushing or pit toilets, they can block pump outs and contaminate composting systems. Your bagged general and toileting waste can be placed into general putrescible waste bins once you leave the park or when you get home.
Walk at least 100 paces from water and campsites. Dig 15cm deep and cover well.
In lower elevation or forested areas of the Australian Alps carry out options for human waste are still preferable. With so many people visiting the Alps – and the potential for spread of viruses or infectious diseases leading to short or long-term illness (such as gastroenteritis or hepatitis A) – the management of human waste is a serious issue. If faeces, urine or toilet paper gets into the water supply, or are uncovered by animals, the results are very unsightly and potentially dangerous for both people and animals.
Carelessness upstream could affect you downstream!
Where there are no toilets, carry out your toilet waste (above the treeline or popular backcountry areas), or please carry and use a trowel. Below the treeline walk at least 100 paces (or as far as practicable) from creeks, lakes, campsites and tracks, dig a hole as deep as your trowel/hand (about 15 cm), then bury your waste and the toilet paper very carefully. In high use areas without toilets, plan to carry out your toilet waste.
Collect water upstream of huts, campsites and toilets to avoid possible pollution. Boil water for at least five minutes to avoid gastroenteritis.
Wash at least 100 metres from watercourses
Please take care when washing yourself or your belongings. Detergents, toothpaste and soap (even biodegradable ones) harm fish and water-life. Instead of washing in creeks or lakes use a container well away from the water. When finished, spread the washing water and food scraps away from creeks or lakes so that it can filter through the soil before returning to the stream. Some people use hot water, gritty sand and a scourer instead of soap to clean billies and dishes.
Practice good camp hygiene
Research has found that most walker/visitor related stomach bugs and illnesses can be traced back to poor camp, toileting and food preparation hygiene rather than water quality issues. Whilst careful consideration about where to collect and how to treat water before drinking is important, good basic hygiene practices such as regular hand washing after toileting, and before eating and food preparation are just as important.