What is Galley Water in a Camper?
The term “galley” is a nautical term; many of the systems for boats and RVs cross over, as does the terminology. The galley is the kitchen in a boat or ship, and thus, galley water refers to both the fresh and wastewater from the kitchen.
Is Galley Wastewater the Same as Gray Water?
Yes, for the most part; most RVs store the wastewater from both the kitchen and shower in the same tank. However, some RVs separate the wastewater from the kitchen, and the bathroom sink and shower, into different tanks. If your RV has three handles to dump your wastewater, then your RV has a separate galley waste water tank.
If you have a small Class B or self-build camper van, or a pop-up camper, you may not have a shower at all. In that case, all of your gray water will be “galley gray water”.
Why Is There a Separate Tank for Galley Water?
Some RV manufacturers add a separate galley wastewater tank in high-end RV models that feature a clothes washer. If an RV has a clothes washer, that will generate a lot of soapy wastewater, thus justifying the need for a second “galley” gray water tank.
Another reason for a separate galley gray water tank could be because some jurisdictions allow the dumping of shower gray water, but not the dumping of kitchen gray water. RV manufacturers may add a separate galley wastewater tank to allow those who camp off-grid to comply with the law in all states.
Kitchen, or galley, gray water contains food particles, which will foster bacteria more than soapy shower water. This is why some jurisdictions consider “galley wastewater” closer to sewer waste than soapy water that was used for washing.
If you have a self-build camper van, then you will likely have a small freshwater tank just for the kitchen. Likewise, some small Class B vans, especially European models, may have a freshwater tank specifically for the kitchen.
Small campers, such as a self-build van or a pop-up camper, often use parts designed for boats; that can include a galley freshwater system. These fresh galley water systems may include a small 5-gallon freshwater tank, and a small electric pump or a manual hand pump. So in this regard, some campers will have fresh galley water.
While freshwater can also be considered galley water, when it comes to RVs and campers, it mostly refers to the wastewater from the kitchen.