A desire to protect the environment and the need to control expenses are closely related themes driving the introduction of many new or improved products for campgrounds in this day and age.

Controlling how much water is used by installing coin-operated shower timers is one example highlighted by Paul Boutiette, president of King Supply Co., Manchaug, Mass.

Boutiette said King Supply’s biggest selling single product is a shower-control valve that shuts the water off every 30 seconds. The solution lets campground owners avoid charging for showers but still gives them a good measure of control.

“You don’t want to charge for a shower, but you don’t want water left running,” Boutiette explained. In addition to the direct expense of uncontrolled water use, he noted, having showers, faucets and toilets discharging water all day can eventually disrupt the balance necessary to keep septic systems working properly.

Keeping waste systems working smoothly also has led to good demand for a variety of other products for dump stations and campsite sewer connections. William Watts, president of Enviro Design Products, Dunnellon, Fla., says there’s been a notable hike in demand for campsite sewer caps as RVs have grown in size. Where there used to be a single inlet per station, he said, now often there are two. “These RVs are monsters (in size and capacities),” he said, adding that they’re increasingly featuring holding tanks both front and back.

Watts noted that the campground market also is beginning to insist on more variety in colors. A dump station cap that traditionally has been available in bright “DOT orange” for visibility is becoming available in yellow to fit in with KOA’s corporate color scheme.

Campground operators also are becoming more aware of the need to control what chemicals – and what foreign objects – are introduced into their waste management systems. A sewer hose restrictor patented by MWSS Manufacturing, Lakeland, Fla., is designed to prevent an entire hose from slipping away and clogging the works of a dump station, according to company president Jerry Hensley, Sr.

Todd Vice, RV and Marine sales manager for Walex Products Co., Wilmington, N.C., said mounting regulations have led many campground owners to become more aware of what goes into their septic systems. At the same time, they’ve raised awareness of the fact that too much of the wrong thing will kill the bacteria that make those systems work.

“Both ease of use and being environmentally friendly are more and more becoming issues for campground owners,” Vice said, noting that formaldehyde was used extensively for many years until associated hazards became more well known and lawmakers in places like California began working to limit its use.

Walex is one of many chemical treatment providers that promote their products as environmentally friendly, even visually with its green Bio-Pak deodorizer and waste digester “drop in” packs. The company is adding a line of holding tank treatment products for those who prefer to use liquids rather than the prepackaged dissolving tablets. This new offering helps them avoid overuse with a specially designed “tip and pour” dispenser.

The environmentally friendly theme, meanwhile, may be most visible in the colorful line of recycling containers being marketed under the Pilot Rock Park Equipment brand name by R.J. Thomas Manufacturing Co., Cherokee, Iowa. Marketing manager Bob Simonsen said the company’s trash and recycling containers include versions that are themselves made of recycled materials. “When collecting recyclables, many people like to use a recycled product to demonstrate what can be made from what they collect,” he explained.

Other new products are aimed at keeping campground environments cleaner and more pleasant, including the Dogi Pot line of dispensers for biodegradable plastic bags for cleaning up after man’s best camping friends from Tower Co., Manitowoc, Wis. –B.J. Smith