Inspection certification when travelling into California? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-31-2016, 01:58 AM   #1
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Name: KRISTA
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Inspection certification when travelling into California?

Hi....we will be travelling from BC into the US for the first time with our renovated 1973 Trillium 1300, this summer (Washington, Oregon, N.Cali). Our first time south of the border in a trailer and not a tent! I'm confused by what is required for our trailer in regards to holding tanks and also certification. Specifically:

1 - We have an 8 gallon water tank. We use it mostly for washing hands, brushing teeth etc (grey water). We currently have no on-board grey holding tank for this - we have simply put a bucket underneather the expel hose on the outside behind the wheel to catch the waste water before putting it down the regular campground drain. Are we going to get stopped at the border for not having a self-contained unit? is this a state requirement? or only a requirement if you use water on board?

2 - While looking into RV Parks in San Francisco, we noticed one of them had a requirement for the following: "All RV’s must be self-contained. RV’s are expected to have proof of inspection by American National Standard Institute (ANSI).". What is the inspection for? Grey and black water (black water NA in our case), or other things as well? Do small tow trailers need to be looked at the same way as RV's or are teh requirements less?

BTW: we'll be staying in a variety of places: State Campgrounds, KOA's, RV Parks, (walmart parking lot?).....

Fortunately, we exersize common sense, but don't want to have any issues travelling south of the border. But at the same time don't want to install or implement systems that are overkill. Thanks for patience while we try to learn more about this... Krista
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Old 05-31-2016, 05:16 AM   #2
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Name: Dave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krista View Post
Hi....we will be travelling from BC into the US for the first time with our renovated 1973 Trillium 1300, this summer (Washington, Oregon, N.Cali). Our first time south of the border in a trailer and not a tent! I'm confused by what is required for our trailer in regards to holding tanks and also certification. Specifically:

1 - We have an 8 gallon water tank. We use it mostly for washing hands, brushing teeth etc (grey water). We currently have no on-board grey holding tank for this - we have simply put a bucket underneather the expel hose on the outside behind the wheel to catch the waste water before putting it down the regular campground drain. Are we going to get stopped at the border for not having a self-contained unit? is this a state requirement? or only a requirement if you use water on board?

2 - While looking into RV Parks in San Francisco, we noticed one of them had a requirement for the following: "All RV’s must be self-contained. RV’s are expected to have proof of inspection by American National Standard Institute (ANSI).". What is the inspection for? Grey and black water (black water NA in our case), or other things as well? Do small tow trailers need to be looked at the same way as RV's or are teh requirements less?

BTW: we'll be staying in a variety of places: State Campgrounds, KOA's, RV Parks, (walmart parking lot?).....

Fortunately, we exersize common sense, but don't want to have any issues travelling south of the border. But at the same time don't want to install or implement systems that are overkill. Thanks for patience while we try to learn more about this... Krista
Hi Krista, I might be able to answer some, I've lived/camped in Cal over 50 years. I don't see any problem crossing the border this way with any certs or inspections. As far as parks and not having a self contained unit.....might have a problem as just putting a bucket under it isn't considered self contained. A threaded hose to an outside holding tank may be OK. Others will be along soon with how they have addressed that. Really depends on the parks rules and rangers thoughts. Just as an example, at one SoCal beach site I had a leak from the kitchen faucet under the counter. Had nothing with me to tighten it up and had a few drops on the ground if the pump was on to long. The ranger came by, saw that and said if it wasn't fixed we would have to leave. Really, fresh water, at the beach? Yup. I put an open cooler under it to catch the few drips and he was cool with it. BTW, I've never had anyone even mention "ANSI". You shouldn't have any problems but you may want to contact any parks you're interested in for particulars. Happy camping to you.
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Old 05-31-2016, 07:13 AM   #3
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I think Dave is about right. There is no official government inspection or even list of requirements for the camping side. There are regulations about running lights, which are pretty simple and consistent from state to state, and trailer brakes, which vary among states. I know California requires them over 1500 pounds.

But rules regarding self containment and holding tanks are set by the individual campgrounds. I'd say with a minimum of a porta-potty and a fully enclosed external grey water tank, you should be good for most places on your list. A few high-end RV "resorts" and a few public areas without facilities might require full self-containment with onboard holding tanks, but very few.

Be aware that many municipalities in popular tourist areas (like most of coastal Southern California) do not permit overnight parking anywhere, including Walmarts and the like.

Have a wonderful visit!
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Old 05-31-2016, 08:51 AM   #4
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Name: Gordon
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Freaking Cali.. I hope I never have to go back.. they want to control every aspect of your life..
I found this which might help explain a little but I can't figure if it applies in the case of someone bringing their own trailer into Cali and it gave me such a headache I decided to stay east: California Assn of RV Parks and Campgrounds :: Resource Links and http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/di...18871-18871.11
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Old 05-31-2016, 09:22 AM   #5
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You will miss out on some nice places if you avoid California, Gordon.

The first link is merely a recommendation that RV parks require the RVIA emblem, probably "on advice of counsel." I can't imagine that many actually do. Perhaps some high-end, seasonal-type RV resorts might use it as a tool to keep the riff-raff out, along with age and size restrictions...

None of the state parks we've visited have cared one whit that our Scamp lacks the emblem, and I can't imagine that overnight campgrounds like KOAs would, either.

The second link specifies that if you connect to any public utilities, you are responsible to ensure your RV is safe to do so. There is no requirement for any specific inspection or certification. I'll bet you'll find similar codes on the books many places.

Going in and out of California, they've never inspected or asked about the trailer. They seem mainly concerned about any produce we might be bringing in.

In my experience, the places where you really have to mind your Ps and Qs are the national parks.
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Old 05-31-2016, 09:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
You will miss out on some nice places if you avoid California, Gordon.
Of course my comment was largely tongue-in-cheek, but there is some truth in it since California is so "different" from the 49 other states.

Since I have never seen this requirement I googled:
All RV’s must be self-contained. RV’s are expected to have proof of inspection by American National Standard Institute (ANSI)
and to my surprise, I got a number of hits, showing many campgrounds that had this exact wording in their rules.. and as far as I looked, all were in California.

The second link says:
a) Any recreational vehicle, park trailer, mobilehome, or
manufactured home supplied with fuel, gas, water, electricity, or sewage connections, unless the connections and installations conform to regulations of the department
So I cannot agree that this regulation "merely requires that if you connect to any public utilities, you are responsible to ensure your RV is safe to do so." It must also "conform to regulations of the department" whatever the heck they are.

More legalize which no one without a law degree can fathom but can be an unexpected headache when you least expect it. I hope we never have to hire a lawyer to go camping, but if we do.. it will be in California first.
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Old 05-31-2016, 10:07 AM   #7
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Hi Krista
We did a loop through some of the American nation parks a couple of years ago. The border crossing issues were all food related. Plan on buying your food state side. - No eggs, frozen meat or meat of any sort plus if you have a dog check out dog food rules, no citrus etc. The rules change with the season and the crossing, so check.

We saw signs for produce inspection stations in California, but never saw any stations or were required to stop.

We do not use the sink in our trailer except for storage. We pour all water into the grey water holes, if there are any, otherwise we "water the campsite". Never pour directly on plants as the dish soap can kill and hot water is not good for them. Never had a problem. Are thinking of starting to carry a jug for grey water and then dump it at the sani station on our way out.
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Old 05-31-2016, 10:30 AM   #8
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Yes, some Caifornia rules can be a pain but it's hard to beat the weather and scenery. I'm western Washington born and raised but, after almost 30 years in northern Cal, I don't think I'd want to go back. (As a "Washingtonian", I never thought I'd find myself defending my former enemy California. Never say "never.")
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:24 AM   #9
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Often ANSI writes standards for rule making bodies.
EXAMPLE :OSHA requires hard hats be worn and list when they are required to be worn
ANSI writes the standard on how the hard hat should be built and perform . OSHA then says that a hard hat must meet ANSI standards. If you look at the ANSI standards for electrical , they are taken from the NEC code book .
Thus is your trailer has propane then the propane installation has to meet ANSI standards. If your trailer has no propane ,there is no ANSI standard to meet. We have run into the self contained rule on several occasions in both public and private parks ,even ones with public bathrooms and showers. They did not allow exterior free standing tanks for collecting waste , in other words you need built in waste tanks. The answer we were given was that they had issues with people improperly disposing of grey / black water . These same parks prohibited the washing of dishes in the restroom sinks or the dumping of black tank waste in public toilets plus they did not have dump stations. I doubt California nor any state has the resources to inspect trailers for ANSI compliance.
As long as your trailer is not leaking fresh water or waste water on the ground , I doubt you will have a problem . We spent 3 weeks in the Bay area last year and the only thing we were asked about was fresh produce. At no time was our trailer inspected for compliance to ANSI or any other standard.
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Old 05-31-2016, 12:00 PM   #10
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The only questions I have ever run into when visiting California were regarding produce and last time when towing my trailer I was questioned about firewood when coming from Nevada. The California Association of RV parks rules shared by Gordon2 appear to me to only apply to private RV parks that have elected to become members of the association.
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Old 05-31-2016, 12:18 PM   #11
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When I was a child, my grandfather took us down from Oregon to Disneyland in California. Along the way he stopped at plenty of fruit stands and loaded up.

At the California border, we had to stop and "declare," and it would've been impossible to hide the quantities of fruit we were carrying! So we sat alongside the road eating fruit for about two hours until it was all eaten. I've never looked at produce stands quite as eagerly again.

Sounds like it should be a great trip! Welcome to the USA with a trailer instead of a tent, and wishing you loads of fun and not too much fruit to eat at the California border!
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Old 05-31-2016, 12:28 PM   #12
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I have traveled all over the U.S. for decades and have never had anyone look at our trailer in any official manner.
The only exception being at Mid-Ohio road race course, where they required trailers which were not self contained to stay in the tent area and we had a spot reserved on turn one.
The gate keeper simply could not believe that a Scamp13 could be self contained and he was astonished to find that it was.

To answer your question. my advice is to enjoy your trip and don't think about it again.

You should be able to collect your gray water in a closed container for proper disposal and a porta-potti is already designed for that purpose for black water.
If you just put an empty laundry detergent jug under the sink to drain the sink into, then you won't even need to deploy anything outside the trailer like at times when you overnight at Walmart.
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Old 05-31-2016, 12:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
You will miss out on some nice places if you avoid California, Gordon.

The first link is merely a recommendation that RV parks require the RVIA emblem, probably "on advice of counsel." I can't imagine that many actually do. Perhaps some high-end, seasonal-type RV resorts might use it as a tool to keep the riff-raff out, along with age and size restrictions...
If that ever gets to be a problem... the RV Salvage yards are chock full of those superior trailers with easily removable RVIA emblems!
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Old 05-31-2016, 03:43 PM   #14
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No rules for having an enclosed system for traveling to US.

There are food and firewood rules. Traveling between Canada & US, and going into CA: buy your fresh fruits, veggies, eggs after crossing borders. You'll enjoy CA fresh fruit at roadside stands tasting so much better than picked green and shipped north. Going back to BC there are restrictions fpr potatoes and stone fruit. You can check online what is restricted for BC/CA/OR/WA.

Don't worry about any emblems, standards for your trip. There are some private campgrounds that may require membership.

It is illegal to have any open hoses, buckets for grey water in US National Parks - consider your trailer is a hard-sided tent in these campgrounds. So Floyd's suggestion for a container inside/under your sink is the best idea at any campground, whether federal/state/local.

I checked with Oregon State Parks - more lenient...buckets for grey water are allowed, and most state parks have grey water dump sites.

To check on your bucket/grey water use in California state parks: info@calparks.org or 1 (800) 963-PARK (7275).

You can always ask at the ranger station or camp host in US Forest Service parks.

Because tree pest diseases are a real problem, plan on purchasing any firewood at/near your campsites.

Enjoy your trip - WA, OR, CA have awesome scenery, great places to visit, and enjoy the many wineries, breweries on the way.
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