Here are some tips to follow when emptying your RV’s holding tanks. (See below for a suggestion on how to empty your RV’s holding tanks.)
- When emptying both the black and gray tanks, dump the black-water tank before the gray-water tank so the “soapy water” from the gray tank can clean the residue from the hose.
- Don’t dump the black-water tank until it is at least two-thirds full. Don’t leave the black-water tank valve open when hooked up at a campsite. This will cause liquids to drain, leaving solid waste behind to harden on the bottom of the tank.
- Use a heavy-duty sewer hose about 6 to 8 feet long to make handling easier.
- Carry an extra garden hose for rinsing in case the dump station doesn’t have one.
- Store this in an area where it won’t come into contact with your drinking water hose.
- Never use your fresh water hose for rinsing sewer hoses or the dump station area.
- Wear protective rubber gloves and avoid touching the outside of the gloves.
- If others are waiting to use the dump station, skip the tank flushing and hose rinsing steps. Pull away from the dump station and then add some water and chemicals to the holding tanks.
- Never put anything other than the contents of your holding tanks into the dump station.
- Leave the dump station area cleaner than you found it.
How to Empty Holding Tanks
Here’s a suggestion on how to empty your RV’s holding tanks.
First of all, don’t open any valves until the proper time! Doing so will be met with rather unpleasant results. You may consider wearing a pair of rubber gloves in the event some effluent gets on your hands. Some folks will also wear rubber boots. As long as you’re careful, any splashing is minimal.
Remove the holding tank outlet cap and connect your three-inch sewer hose to the outlet of your holding tank. Extend the hose to the opening of the dump station, which is usually a hole in the ground that is slightly larger than the three-inch hose.
Insert your sewer hose into the dump station’s hole about four to six inches. Use the hole’s cover, a brick, or something heavy enough to hold the sewer hose in place so it doesn’t come out of the hole.
Once you’re sure that all is connected and held down, open your black tank valve. You’ll hear the effluent flow and eventually it’ll slow, then stop. Close the black tank valve.
Now open the gray tank valve. Again, you’ll hear water flow, then slow, and stop. Close the gray tank valve.
At this point, you’re almost done. If you want to flush and rinse your tanks once more, you can do so by filling your tanks to two-thirds full and repeat the emptying process. If others are waiting to use the dump station, skip this step.
Recheck that both your black and gray water tank valves are closed and disconnect the sewer hose from your tank outlet. Replace the tank outlet cover. Lift the end of the sewer hose (the end you just disconnected) to completely drain the hose into the dump station. If a non-potable water hose is available, run water through the sewer hose to rinse it out. Remove the sewer hose from the dump station hole and rinse the outside of the hose. Rinse the area around the hole to ensure that any spillage has been cleaned up and cover the dump station hole.
Go in to your RV and add about five gallons of water (about three flushes) to your black tank and then add the appropriate amount of holding tank treatment. If you use a treatment for your gray tank, do that as well.
The task of emptying your RV’s holding tanks is finished! Now it’s time to move on to your next destination.
Dump Station Abuse
For years RVers have been pulling into Interstate rest areas and other areas with free dump stations to empty their holding tanks. But because of abuse, many states are removing dump stations from their rest areas and campground owners and others view their dump stations as an expensive maintenance headache. Dump station abuse amounts to folks leaving a mess or putting things into the dump drain that just don’t belong there. Remember, somebody has to clean up the mess or clean out the drain. Dump station abuse causes aggravation, creates a health hazard, and costs money. You can do your part to ensure RVers will continue to have free and clean dump stations by following the simple tips mentioned above.
Tips for Surviving the RV Dump Station
The folks at Long Long Honeymoon offer the top 10 tips for surviving the RV dump station in this video.