One of the biggest concerns people have when first thinking about buying or renting an RV is having to dump the black and grey water waste tanks. No one enjoys the thought of having to dispose of black water or trying to figure out how to do it.
In the movies, the protagonist traveling in the RV always seems to have a mishap when at the RV dump station, and let’s just say, it if something goes wrong it definitely doesn’t look or smell like fun.
However, after doing it once you realize the actual experience isn’t actually that bad if you follow a few simple rules.
RV Waste Dump Terms
Before we get into the tips, lets first familiarize yourself with some terms.
- Dumping Station is an area dedicated for discharging both your black and grey water tanks. These can be found at campgrounds, parks, truck stops, and marinas.
- Black Water is raw sewage, this contains waste that is disposed of in the toilet.
- Grey Water comes from your shower, sinks, and washing machines.
- Holding Tank is underneath your RV and holds both black water and grey water until you’re able to get to a dump station.
- Non-potable water is not made for drinking, it can be anything from reclaimed water to water pumped out of a creek.
- Potable water is made for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
1. Treat Your Dump Tank
Sort of like “treat yo self” but for your dump tanks. The first and important thing to do before emptying your black water tank is to treat the water with sanitizer and microorganisms that break down solids and turn the contents into a slurry, which will make it pass through the pipes, valves and hoses easily.
There are a number of products which you can buy on Amazon, some come in liquid form and others in small packets. These products not only treat the water but also help keep the smell to a minimum.
Make sure to add plenty of water, at least a gallon, when adding water treatment products to your tanks. This will make the process easier once you have plenty of treated water in both the black and gray water tanks.
2. Use Lots Of Water
Since the tank is gravity fed, it’s best to let 3/4 of your tank fill up before discharging it. You want gravity to take over and wash all the solids out of your tank with one big swoosh.
Most campers and RV’s have a control panel with sensors in the tanks that tell you how full they are. Don’t even think about dumping waste until the tanks are three-fourths (three-quarters) full. That way it gives the chemicals time to work, slosh around in the tanks and break things up.
3. Dump The Black Water Tank First, Then Gray Water
The black water tank contains whatever goes into the toilet, and we all know that the contents aren’t always pretty. All other water from your RV gets channeled into the gray water tank, including water from sinks and showers which is commonly soapy.
For that exact same reason you need to dump the gray water tank last, that way you’ll have extra water to help flush any solids stuck in the hose, as well as, just simply flushing out the sewer hose.
4. Actually Clean The Black Water Tank
At all campgrounds, you’ll see there’s a place for you to hook up a hose that will continue to clean out the black water tank with jets of water. You should run this until the water is clear and if it takes longer than five minutes, you waited too long to do this.
An alternate way to do this is to fill your black tank up with several gallons of water and open the valve one more time.
5. Wear Gloves
Always wear gloves when touching anything around both your unit’s dump tank and a public facility.
6. Have A Dedicated Water Hose
Always have a dedicated water hose to use for your dump tanks. You should NEVER use your drinking water.
7. Ask For Help If Needed
Don’t be afraid to ask other RV owners, if you’re not sure about something. They’ve all been through the process and they’ve all at some point needed to ask for help.
The one thing about the RV community is that they’re always willing to lend a helping hand, so don’t be scared to ask for help.
Also, no one wants to have a bunch of black water discharged improperly into the space they are living, even if it’s just a little bit.