Instructables
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Bring running water to remote locations with this foot pump operated wash station. Perfect for camp or the patio. Ideal for campfire or BBQ grill-side food prep clean-up.

Ready for a duch oven or BBQ outdoor cook competition yet miles from running water? Our scout troop uses this Hand Washing Station to clean up before, and during meal food prep.

Even if you are just grilling on the back deck, use this set-up grill-side to keep from from running into the house for a quick rinse every time sauce is slopped.  And if its a party...just watch guests try to open a screen door with sticky BBQ covered hands. This pump is made to be operated with a foot...can't say the same for a sliding screen door!

This is ideal for an outdoor group washing-up before meals. Especially when cooking at camp, it would be nice for the cooks to easily clean-up while preparing food with a more traditional sink with running water to promote:

Safe Food Handling Practices

- No Faucet Handle to turn  ON and OFF with Dirty Hands.

- Its easy (and fun) to use...so it gets used!  (apparently its cool to squirt water with a foot pump)

- There's room for a soap dispenser right there on the table (up off the ground).

It also helps with:

Water Conservation

- The on-demand pump system uses a lot less water (compared to letting gravity spill it from a water jug spigot.

How it works:
A foot pump transfers clean water from the lower bucket up and out the spout for hand washing. The wash water is collected a basin and drained and stored in a gray water bucket receptacle. 

When all the fresh water has been transfered to the in the gray water bucket, the gray water is emptied into the fire ring to douse the campfire

The video shows the set-up, convenient "all-in-the-bucket" storage, and the Hand Washing Station in action.



A patch to the first to call out the troop identifier in a comment
 
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Step 1: Conserve Water vs. the Traditional camp hand washing technique

Picture of Conserve Water vs. the Traditional camp hand washing technique
Before this Instructable camp wash station, this was the well documented typical food preparation procedure at camp in 10 easy steps. (remember these are young teen scouts learning cooking and cleaning responsibility.)

1. Raw chicken is removed from its package and karate chop hacked into cubes (ok...chunks) with several finger-slicing near-misses with the knife.

2. The hacked raw chicken pieces are grabbed, and with the precisionons of an NBA three point shot, are individually tossed into the dutch oven....swoosh...nothing but cast iron...(most of the time).  

3. With a sense of winning the game at the buzzer, hands are about to be ceremoniously wiped on the pants.
 Wait...there's a whistle on the play...Leadership refereering intervenes... a technical foul is called.  The penalized  scout is directed to go properly wash his hands.

Properly washing entailed a trip to the 5 gallon spigotted blue jug propped on the end of the picnic table.

4. These same chickened hands open the spogot to start the WATER FLOWING....
One-thousand 1
One-thousand 2
One-thousand 3
5. The hands are wetted
One thousand 4
One thousand 5
One thousand 6
6. Soap is applied
One thousand 7
One thousand 8
7. Wash
One thousand 9
"ewugh"...pause to examine and scrape a rogue piece of chicken stuck to a finger
One thousand 10
One thousand 11
Wash some more...wants to be thorough...because that's just how scouts are...
One thousand 12
One thousand 13
8. Rinse
one thousand 14
One thousand 15
and Rinse
one thousand 16
and some more (because it takes a while to rinse away the suds of six pumps of soap)
One thousand 17
One thousand 18
9. Shake hands to fling water drops and for a quick air dry
One thousand 19
One thousand 20
10. Turn CHICKEN COVERED spigot OFF...with a once clean hand.

Lets critique the process:
Hands cleaned ...Check
Hands re-contaminated from the spigot...Check
Boots submerged (in a newly created mud puddle under the water jug)...Check
Pant legs soaked (from spigot water splashing into same puddle)....Check
Water jug successfully relieved of a gallon or more of water....Check
(Which means after the next 4 washes, the "discussion" about whose turn it is to fetch more water will start.  Which will be followed by a unanimus scout group decision  that their hands are not really that dirty after all)
...and then...hand washing in general...is over...Check

TASK COMPLETE!

While this new wash station can't make campers wash their hands, it can make it easier, and prevent a soaking; all while conserving water.
Pumping water, even with a foot pump, requires effort so you know water use will be kept to a bare minimum...letting gravity spill it on the ground is easy... and fast!

The same 5 gallons now lasts all day even with everyone washing their hands for meals.

Step 2: Materials

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 The central components of this project are 5 gallon buckets with lids and a marine (outboard motor) fuel primer squeeze bulb and hose assy.

The Squeeze Bulb is the pump 
that moves the water from the Fresh Water Bucket 
up to the Spout and out,
collected and funneled by the Basin
into the Gray Water Bucket
 the rest is just plumbing and support


Major Components
(3) 5 gallon utility buckets
(2) 5 gallon bucket lids
Marine fuel primer bulb and hose assy
3/8" brass fittings
Rubber O-ring
3/8" tubing
various 1" and 1/2" plumbing pipe sections and fittings
Automotive steel fuel/brake line
Door hinge
Scrap wood

Step 3: Fresh Water Bucket

Drill a 3/8" diameter hole about 1" from the bottom of what will be the Fresh Water Bucket.

1. From the inside of the bucket, feed the male end of a 3/8" 90 degree brass fitting though the hole in the bucket.  

(Place an O-ring on the inside of the bucket at the base of the 90 degree fitting before pushing it though the bucket wall (Photo 2).  When the fittings are tightened the O-ring will seal the hole in the bucket.)

2. From the outside of the bucket, thread on a female 3/8" barbed hose fitting.

3. Thread a second male barbed hose fitting into the 90 degree fitting inside the bucket. (Photo 3)

4. Angle the open end of the barbed fitting downward until it touches the bottom of the bucket. (photo 3) This will help to pull water from the very bottom of the bucket allowing it to almost completely empty the bucket before it needs refilling.

Alternate Construction Note:  If you don't want to add a hole to a perfectly good bucket to dedicate it to this project, you may be able to cut a hole in the fresh water bucket lid at the very outer edge and snake the hose down into the bucket (make sure the buckets will still stack).  This should also work, and eliminate the need for the brass hose fittings (less $'s) but, the hose may curl and not stay submerged especially because the hose will be coming out of the top of the bucket and will have to travel down to the pump on the ground.

Step 4: Basin

 The Basin is a nice finishing touch.  It is not entirely necessary but it serves a few purposes.  

Number one...it is a lid for the Grey Water Bucket.  It keeps you from staring at bucket of dirty, soapy water from the last guy, while you wash your hands.  It also keeps that same dirty, used water from splashing back up on your clean hands while your are washing.  

The Basin also allows hands to be washed inside the basin's high side walls - keeping the falling spout water from splashing off your hands onto your pants.

Because the Basin sits almost entirely above the grey water bucket it does not compromise the storage capacity of the gray water bucket. This means that the gray water bucket does not need to be emptied until the fresh water bucket is exhausted and ready to be refilled.

Hand washing could be done directly over an open Gray Water Bucket without the Basin but, as it fills; imagine trying to wash-up with water splashing into a nearly full bucket of used water.

A similar commercial product (Wishy Washy) selling for $90 (buckets not included, shipping extra) is set up with an open gray water bucket.  
The addition of the basin shown here and the provisions for stacking the two buckets to bring hand washing to counter height, improves on the comercial product and go a long way to make the system more practical than splashing water from a waist high spout into a open bucket of gray water on the ground.

By the way, the material to make the system shown here did not cost anywhere near $90..nor even Half that!   And both systems use similar Marine Outboard fuel primer squeeze bulb and hose assemblies that cost around $15-20. (or buy cheaper hardware hose (Chemical resistant hose is not necessary with water) and the squeeze bulb with check valve is around $12 by itself).  Another $15 for plumbing, tubing & fittings; throw in some scrap wood and it will land far less than $90!


Step 5: Basin Construction - The Bottom

 The Basin is constructed from the the upper portion of a third bucket and a bucket lid.

Removing the Outer Rim of a lid creates the Trimmed Lid which will be the bottom of the Basin.

1. Remove the rubber seal from the underside of a bucket lid.

2. Cut along the bottom of the trench that the seal was in. (dotted path in Photo 2)
    Cut all the way around the lid to remove the Outer Rim. (Photo 2 & 3 shows where to cut)

3. After cutting off the Outer Rim, clean-up the outer diameter of the lid by trimming any excess material so that the outer diameter of the lid is flush with the Upstanding Rib Wall.

When complete the overall lid diameter should not extend beyond the Upstanding Rib Wall.

Note: In the completed basin photos in step 5, notice that the bottom of the basin is concave.  To achieve this "bowl shape",  the lid was heated in the oven at about 275 degrees F for about 15 minutes to soften the plastic.  While hot, it was worked over the bottom of a large glass mixing bowl to impart the concave shape.  The removal of the Outer Rim was done after this forming.

"Stretching" the lid to form this shape is not necessary, and was in fact, the most difficult part of the process.  (handling hot plastic while stretching and keeping it from buckeling and over-thinning is not so easy).  Well worth the effort thought...It gives it a true sink look and better funnels the water to the center drain...much better than a flat lid basin bottom.

Step 6: Basin Construction (cont.) - Join the Side Wall & Bottom

The Basin is just a shorter bucket with a center drain hole, that sits inside the top of the Gray Water Bucket.  
The Trimmed Lid from the previous step, added as a bottom to the cut off top portion of another bucket, creates a shortened bucket Basin.

 1. Cut-off the top rim portion of a third bucket.  The cut should be about 3/4 of an inch below the last flange on the bucket.  When cut, the removed upper portion of a bucket forms the Basin Side Wall.

2. Fit the the Trimmed Lid from step 4 into the Basin Side Wall.

3. From the underside of the Basin Side Wall, make sure the Upstanding Rib Wall on the Trimmed Lid is flush with the bottom of the Basin Side Wall. (photo 2)

4. Drill (4) 1/8 inch diameter holes through the Upstanding Rib Wall on the Trimmed Lid and the Basin Side Wall. Drill the holes at North, South, East, West)

5. Use Aluminum pop-rivets (with washer) to secure these two components through the four drilled holes.

Note the interface between the Trimmed Lid and the Basin Side Wall does not have to be a full waterproof seal.  Because the finished Basin will fit inside the Gray Water Bucket,  any water that seeps through at this joint will drip into the Gray Water Bucket.

Step 7: Foot Pump

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 The pump is made from a marine (outboard motor) fuel line primer squeeze bulb.  The hose and bulb (with integral check valve) was purchased as an assembly from a sporting good / hardware store that sells marine supplies for outboard motors.

The pedal assembly was made from scrap wood, a door hinge, wood dowels, and a foam rubber toy ball.

The dowels (glued into holes in the wood base) allow the bulb to move up and down freely when pumped. The open top of the dowels make for easy installation and removal of the bulb for storage.

The foam rubber ball prevents damage to the rubber squeeze bulb.  
The ball was cut in half and epoxied into a recess on the underside of the pedal.  The recess was cut with a hole saw drill bit and then the material inside the hole saw cut was chiseled out.






Step 8: Support Table

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 The Support Table serves a few purposes.  The wider stance of the table provides stability for the two buckets.  A nearly filled Gray Water Bucket stacked on top of a nearly empty Clean Water Bucket can be a bit of a top heavy tip hazard on uneven ground.

The table also holds the Clean Water Bucket a few inches off the ground.  This reduces the impact to ground cover when compared to a a bucket sitting directly on the ground for an extended period of camping.

The table is also a place for a bottle of pump soap and a wrist watch removed for hand washing.

Step 9: Spout Riser

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 The main purpose of the Support Table is to attach the Spout Riser.  The Spout Riser is a combination of 1" dia. and 1/2" dia. galvanized pipe sections threaded together and attached to the Support Table.

The galvanized pipes that make up the Spout Riser threads into a plumbing mounting flange attached to the table.


Step 10: Spout

 The Spout is formed from an automotive steel fuel/brake line.  (purchased as a generic 4' section at the local auto supply store)

1. Bend it into a 180 degree cane shape.  
The diameter of the bend should be 1/2 diameter of the bucket.  This will position the Spout nozzle over the hole in the bottom of the Basin.

Note: The flared end of the brake line adds a finished look to the open "Nozzle" end of the Spout.

2. Slide a 2" section of clear hardware tubing onto the other end of the Spout.

3.
Slide a 1/2" to 3/8" galvanized reducer fitting on the Spout.  

4. Then slide about a 24" length of tubing onto the Spout.  
The reducer fitting will be trapped in location on the Spout by the two sections of tubing; yet free to spin and thread onto the Spout Riser.

Note: The contact area of several inches of tubing "sleeved" over the bottom edn of the Spout, and the low pressures involved, means a clamp is not required to retain the tubing or to prevent leaks at this joint.

5.
Feed the Spout, and Tubing Assembly down through the Spout Riser pipes and thread the reducer fitting onto the top of the 1/2" Spout Riser Pipe.

Ignore the wine cork shown in the photos it is remenents of an earlier spout locating scheme.

Step 11: Connect the Pump

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 After feeding the Spout and Tubing  through the Spout Riser pipes connect the clear tubing to the tubing attached to the squeeze bulb pump. (or it could connect directly to the squeeze bulb but because I bought the bulb and hose as an assembly I wanted to leave the factory clamps in place)

The reason there are two sections of tubing is so that the unit can be disassembled for storage.  The upper clear tubing remains attached to the Spout as a friction fit.  There is no room for a clamp inside the smaller diameter upper Spout Riser pipe so the servicable connection is made under the Support Table.

Step 12: Ready for Clean-up

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Now that this handy wash station is assembled its time to clean-up.  

Fill the lower Fresh Water Bucket with... you guessed it...fresh water.  Put a lid on the Fresh Water Bucket place the Gray Water Bucket on top and cover it up with the Basin.  Start pumping.

Health Note:  One of the scouts suggested this would be a good "bug juice" (Lemonade) dispenser.  Sounds cool except, the Marine grade chemical resistant primer bulb specifically indicates it is not food grade safe. Water for hand washing should be fine...prolonged contact with ingestible liquids - not good.

Step 13: Storage

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 Note: Each of the components - Pump, Pedal, two sections of Spout Riser pipes and the Spout and Tubing Assembly are sized to fit within the height of the bucket for storage.

- Everything is stored inside the Gray Water Bucket.
- This bucket fits inside the Fresh Water Bucket
(The brass fittings in the Fresh Water Bucket are mounted low enough that they do not prevent the buckets from nesting fully together.)
- The Basin fits inside the top of the Gray Water Bucket
(the 1/2" pipe portion of the Spout Riser fits through the drain hole in the Basin)
The Fresh Water Lid fits on top of the Basin to close everything up.
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tortugo9 months ago
You just gotta love this! Can a hot air gun make it easier to form the basin?
binarybosses9 months ago

Pretty ingenious design man.

DadOfTwo1 year ago
Oops, thought I deleted that second pix. Sorry. Also wanted to add that I didn't modify the buckets. I was fortunate in that I had all but the pump laying around the garage / office.
DadOfTwo1 year ago
Thanks for the instructable. I made a simplified version using two rectangular buckets. By turning one bucket 90* to the other, they stack. They also 'nest' for storage and transport. I ran the pump output to the top bucket and just clipped it to the side of the bucket with a binder clip (by running the tubing trough one handle on the binder clip). So far I've used it on a Girl Scout camping weekend and a High School Day of Service. Works great.
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dchall84 years ago
Very nice.  You have worked out a lot of problems with this design.  Making the bowl is very clever. 

If you put some full strength, chlorine bleach into the fresh water, you could have a sanitary set-up.  I believe it is 5 tablespoons (2.5 fluid ounces) for 5 gallons of water to sanitize it for washing . 

Is there a reason to use galvanized pipe instead of PVC? 

I'm glad I stuck with reading this, but I can't recommend it to others with that distracting discussion in Step 1.  I thought you were off on another project. 
Anyone who has ever worked with groups of youngsters will identify with the discussion in Step 1 and it also shows that this is a solution to a real problem, not a solution in search of a problem. The contaminated faucet handle is an issue even in home kitchens.
On the subject of contaminated kitchen faucets if you get a lever based kitchen faucet instead of nobs it's easy to turn on with an elbow or something and avoid the contamination.
Hi dchall8,

You can get two twelve inch lengths of 3/4" threaded PVC pluming risers (found in the irrigation isle of your favorite big box home improvement store), a threaded coupler, and a threaded "Tee" fitting ... cut the base of the "tee" so it can be screwed flat to the table with the threaded portion facing up. Then, just assemble and you can run your hose through the assembly. Costs about $4 total and is much lighter.
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dzent1 dchall84 years ago
You can't recommend this incredibly well presented project to others because he had the audacity to write about it the way he wanted to?

I'll be recommending the h*ll out of it. GREAT IDEA, hpstoutharrow! Thank you for posting this and solving a genuine problem with style and flair. And with minimal cost as well.
Kdemon2 years ago
I love this idea, I would add a solar still to cook the gray water and distill it back into the reservoir!
Schmidty162 years ago
and have maby an extra gallon of water to put in it
Schmidty162 years ago
cool but i would use a whale pump and a small 12volt battery and throw in a mall solar panel to charge up the battery and i would u it so much
n0ukf2 years ago
Watching the video, why do you stack all the buckets BEFORE filling the fresh water bucket?
Dr. Who3 years ago
you could put a cork in the hole to wash dishes and fill up the basin with some soap.
Tried that ... can be done, however there isn't much room in the basin to be really effective.

I found the plastic bread bins, which can be picked up at a restaurant supply store, to be more effective. I put two 2x4s parallel to each other, and screwed some plywood on top at each end for side counters, leaving space for three bread bins to sit within the rails and between the two end counters, then added saw horse legs. Total length, about 10 feet. Works great, but next step is to add bulkheads and drain tubes to the bread bins to make it easier to drain the water.

With this, the hand wash stations and the water heater that HPStoutharrow shows, the kitchen gets a lot of comments each time I take it all out to my Scoutmaster training classes.

If I end up taking the trailer to the IOLS training class next weekend, I'll take pics to post up.
andygreene3 years ago

All Around Awesome. Are you in Troop 49? Guessing that is the logo on the table. I have been wanting to build some sort of faucet for a camp sink for a while. This takes the cake.

I might be inspired to maybe use a 5 gallon drink cooler as the fresh water tank on the bottom to hold heated water for washing. It would already have a through hull hole you could use for plumbing.

You could even go crazy and set up a fire pit hot water heater to heat the water. .


Brilliant! I'm going to make one of these for the garage since we don't have a roomy laundry sink and my 6' son objects to trying to wash up in our tiny bathroom sink. It can do double-duty on cook-outs.
tommyhays4 years ago
If the o-rings did not work and it leaks from the hole i drilled, what do you suggest i do to keep it from leaking??? Other than that i have completed the project and have already used it when i went camping and it was awesome! i used pvc pipe as my spout though and it still did the trick!
I'd try aquarium sealant. Once cured, it is safe for potable water.
Hiblagrande3 years ago
Thanks for the instructable. I built one of your sinks last weekend for our camping trips.At home, it is nice to have out by the BBQ grill too. very cool.
alpe_973 years ago
Wow. Brilliant
wendilane4 years ago

OK ... I'm in the process of building this now.  The Homer Buckets have gone through a slight design change compared to the ones you have in the photos.  What I had to do in order for the basin to nest into the grey water tank was to push the trimmed lid up about an inch to relieve the pressure for the basin to nest properly.  Yes, the basin is a little more shallow, but not really that much to notice.  In fact, I kind of like it a little more as the rivets are now up a little higher and not in the path of the two buckets.

I'm building three complete units, but want to have one completed before Roundtable this Thursday to show other Scouters.  Thanks for putting up the ible!

Giving a little back ...

Ok ... made some new foot pumps. This time, I took a lot of pics. If you don't want this, feel free to delete the post.

Enjoy!

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Hey! What size is the primer bulb you used? and if you ordered it online, where from?

Thanks for the great pics!!
Here you go ... and it's on sale at the moment!

http://www.harborfreight.com/fluid-siphon-pump-93290.html

Also, if you look in today's (Sunday) paper (if you are in the States), and have a local HF store where you live (like we do here in Phoenix), look for a 20% off coupon. Print out the online listing (the stores match the online price) and take that and the coupon into the store and you'll get this for 4.79+tax.

This pump has the check valve build in, so it self primes, which is what you need.
bxfl wendilane3 years ago
Do you think this pump would work?
http://www.autozone.com/autozone/accessories/Hopkins-FloTool-clear-tube-super-siphon/_/N-26df?counter=1&filterByKeyWord=siphon+pump&fromString=search&itemIdentifier=159128_0_0_
I can't find if it is self-priming.

Thank you for your help!
wendilane bxfl3 years ago
Self priming pumps usually have an arrow indicating the direction of flow somewhere on the pump bulb. By looking at the picture of the Hopkins FloTool brand siphon pump and by searching listings from other suppliers, it doesn't appear to to have the check valve.

You can also check with a Marine Supply store, if you have one in your area.
Wow! thank you very much, just ordered mine, also did you glue the blue ball onto the wood?

Thank you for your time.
Yes. I used a 5 minute epoxy to secure the ball to the underside of the foot pedal.

All I have to say is - What a great project!  We did a "sink wettening" (a.k.a. boat christening but for sinks) of the first station last night without a single leak, and were very impressed with the output flow.  Completed the second station this afternoon, so all is ready to demonstrate at Roundtable.  (Hopefully, soon, you'll get some more hits from AZ.)

As soon as I take the pics, I'll post them up.

We've already begun looking at ways to help reduce the cost per unit, i.e. utilizing used 5 gallon buckets, using other materials other than galvanized pipe and fittings (largest cost items).  At what I used, the cost per station is $49 (minus tax), which is definitely less than what is out there commercially.

hpstoutharrow (author)  wendilane4 years ago
 Look forward to seeing your pics.  Glad to see that others found it useful. And certainly, there is always room for improvement.  
Regarding the choice of materials, there is a lot of latitude.  As a matter of personal preference only;  I chose steel pipes; gives it a robust sructural element  reminsent of the cast iron hand pumps found at camp.  Could have used PVC or something else to support the spout but, I fancied the archetectural asthetics of  the tappering 1" to 1/2" to 3/8" sky scraper inspired tower.  
(That and... I had the pipe left over from another project.)
By the way, if interested...there are a few other scout friendly projects published earlier and a few more yet to come.
TIP: Save the grey water

Since building the "twins", we have never used "clean water" to put out our campfires.

Another Tip: Get the foaming pump soap, instead of using regular soft-soap. Your boys will end up using even less water. One squirt to wet the hands, "foam up", then rinse.
Ok ... took me a while to get the pics pulled from my phone from the weekend after Roundtable (still haven't fired up camera that has the Roundtable pics).

Since my previous report, the was stations were used at a Father's and Son's campout the following weekend, during a week long 50 miler in June, and at a Scoutmaster Outdoor Leader Skills Training at the end of August.

Since then, I have received numerous requests for the link to your "ible". Every compliment I get means Kudos out to you, and I make sure people know this was your idea and not mine! ;)


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hpstoutharrow (author)  wendilane4 years ago
NICE WORK! Thanks for the photos. The set up is great. Love the "His and Hers" double sink concept...just like a true wash room.

This is another that project might be of interest to add Hot running water to camp:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Camp-Hot-Water-Heater-with-an-easy-to-use-Dispens/
I'll tell you what ... having two sinks going keeps the lines down quite well. We had 58 leaders at the Outdoor Skills Training last month and didn't have any issue handling the volume.
Thanks!

I definitely took advantage of the Hot Water idea, given that we had one of those pots as well ... turned our great!

Thanks again!
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bxfl3 years ago
What are the dimensions of the table top?

Thanks!
KittyF3 years ago
I was thinking that a flat drain cover would also help conserve water.

When we're camping we use the old fashioned method of one basin for washing, and one for rinsing, but then there's only five of us usually, not 50. LOL The nice thing about your set up for camping would be one fill for the whole day. or even the whole trip maybe.
CrackdownMN4 years ago
Genius!! I think I'll build it for my next holidays!
Dutch564 years ago
I do a lot of outdoor catering and have always used the gravity type hand washing station with a 5 gal. bucket to catch the grey water. I've often thought "What a waste of water; there has to be a better way to do this (hand wash). I really like the way that this was presented. I know it will make the folks at the Health Department happy!
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