Most of us picked up on life’s little niceties when we were young, say in kindergarten. Sharing. Taking turns. Working at developing patience. For the most part, we see it in our fellow RVers—courtesy seems like a general rule among most.
But still, there are areas where it seems like some need those little ‘gentle reminders’. Some RVers leave a bad reputation behind when they leave the RV dump station. Leaving behind a “Number Two” mess is just plain rude, and completely unnecessary.
Every winter, thousands of RVers invade the little town of Quartzsite, Arizona, many sharing a common, single dump station. You can imagine, the lines at the dump station can be long.
We used to count the number of rigs lined up, multiply that by five, and know just about how many minutes the last guy in line would have to wait for his turn. All in all, most folks acted fairly sanely, but at times there were little altercations where somebody who just couldn’t stand the wait just had to try and cut the line.
Sadly, at times somebody gets the bright idea they not only want to dump their tanks—they want to flush them clean as well. This entails mounting a special device, pulling hoses, and wishy-washing that blank tank for all it’s worth.
Instead of taking the typical ten minutes to clear one of the two dump lines, they could take 20 minutes or even more. You think you’ve heard about road rage? It’s a good thing not all RVers carry guns!
Another trick of some is to either dump with a leaky hose, or heaven forbid, no hose at all. Some make a half-hearted attempt to flush away their fecal followings, but in any event, these characters really leave something behind to remember them by.
One morning, rolling up to a free dump station in Pendleton, Oregon, we found yet another calling-card of folks that need a little education. Free dump stations, as most know, are a vanishing breed.
If you find them, treat them with care and respect—too much of a good thing often gets shut down. But nope, it looks as though for some, free means “disrespect.” Years ago, sanitary concerns and health awareness weren’t what they are today. We “he-man” RVers would roll up, sling hoses, and dump tanks in our bare hands. Eventually, awareness arrived, and more and more RVers are embracing the idea of putting on a little protection when they dump tanks.
We found that clearly in evidence in Pendleton: A big pile of discarded rubber gloves stacking up at this one dump station. Yeah, we know, the dump providers didn’t leave a handy garbage can, but what’s so tough about stuffing your used gloves in a plastic bag and taking them with you?
A little bit of picking up after ourselves makes for a lot fuzzier feeling in those who manage those free dump stations. Not that we’re advocating leaving your trash when you have to pay to dump your tanks.
What’s the takeaway? When you leave the dump station, please, follow the “Camper’s Golden Rule”: Leave the place in as good (or better) condition than when you arrived. Don’t leave foul pools of yuck behind, and pack away your discarded gloves.
What else? If you’re in a busy dump station line, go about your business expediently—clear the station quickly.
If you’re new to dumping your tanks, here’s the quick, clean, and easy way to do it.
- Line up your rig’s ‘dump port’ near the dump station inlet. Use a spotter to help if necessary. Put on your rubber gloves!
- Remove the sewer termination cap (you do have one, don’t you?) from your rig and connect your (non-leaking) sewer hose to your RV.
- Place the free end of the sewer hose in the dump station inlet. Those ubiquitous large rocks found at most stations are left to wedge up against your sewer hose to help prevent it from jumping out of the inlet and gushing where it shouldn’t be.
- Double check to ensure your sewer hose is TIGHTLY CONNECTED to your RV. If the twist-lock fitting is not put on right, it really can pop off. (Sadder-but-wiser RV writer speaks.)
- Pull the lever to dump your BLACK water first. Yes, the Number 2 goes first! Having a clear plastic fitting at the RV-end of the hose makes it easy to see when you’ve got the tank empty.
- When the black water is empty, close the black water valve. Open the gray water valve and dump it last. This gives the hose a good rinse, which is quite helpful if you discover the rinse water at the dump station is turned off.
- Disconnect the hose from your RV, while at the same time, carefully holding the twist-lock fitting underneath your rig’s dump port to catch any liquid that might still lead out of your dump port.
- Rinse the sewer hose out (if water is available), and stow it away. Don’t forget to replace your termination cap. If you spilled anything, use the sewer rinse hose to blast it away into the dump station inlet.
- Pull as far ahead as possible to fill with potable water, if it’s available at the station. Don’t ever use the sewer rinse hose tap to fill your fresh tanks! If the potable water tap isn’t far enough ahead to “clear” the station for the next guy in line, have an assistant fill your fresh tanks while you’re handling the dumping. The folks in line behind you will bless your thoughtfulness.