Cheryl Brandstrom of Escondido recently made her annual camping trip to South Carlsbad State Beach campground. She had campsite on the bluff, great weather, good fishing, and yet came away miffed.
Prior to the summer, the state had installed a pay dump station. What had been a free amenity to departing RVers, to dump their rig’s black water waste, now cost $10.
“You pay $50 a night, without hook-ups, you think you’d be able to dump for free,” said Brandstrom. “You only get 15 minutes. Sometimes it takes us longer to clean out the tank.”
Most developed RV campgrounds offer the free service, as do customers at gas stations operating near national parks or U.S. Forest Service campgrounds.
Brandstrom said park volunteers told her that the Carlsbad campground had problems with trucks coming into the campground at night and dumping. That’s part of the reason for the pay dump station now, says Lisa Urbach, supervising state ranger for San Diego’s North Coast district.
“We heard from campers that during the night, business vehicles were coming in and illegally dumping,” said Urbach in a phone interview on November 9.
“So give campers a token,” Brandstrom said. “Or why not just lock them up overnight?”
At the South Carlsbad and Cardiff by the Sea’s San Elijo State Beach campground, volunteers mostly run the park. “We don’t have the staff to do that [to lock and unlock overnight],” responded Urbach.
Urbach stated the local water district’s sewer fees are going up. “We didn’t want to have to increase camp fees for everyone,” she said. “Tent campers don’t use the dump station.”
“Everybody was mad,” said Brandstrom. “I’ll bet 99 percent of RVers won’t pay to use it.” Brandstrom instead stopped on her way home at Escondido’s Freeway Trailer Sales, where, as a regular customer, she dumped her rig’s black water tank for free.
Both campgrounds have a one-year pilot program for the self-serve pay dump stations. If campers wish to comment on the new program, Urbach suggested they contact [email protected]