RV Dump Station Tips That Every Camper Should Know
RV sewer dump anxiety is a very real thing. The memory of Robin Williams at the RV dump station in the 2006 movie RV truly haunts many newbies to the RV lifestyle.
Rest assured, in real life, dumping sewage at an RV dump station (sometimes called a sani-dump) is a very easy and uneventful process. The key is to be prepared and have the right tools. Here is how to leave your anxiety at the RV dump station once and for all.
What do you need to dump your RV waste tanks?
You don’t need much to dump your tanks, but here are the essentials you will want on hand at the RV dump station.
- RV sanitation gloves: These will protect your hands from icky germs and bacteria that can be on sani dump equipment.
- A sturdy sewer hose with end caps and a transparent elbow: Sometimes new RVs come with a flimsy blue RV sewer hose. These are a nightmare to use, so get rid of this one (small animal shelters and rescues appreciate these unused sewer hoses). A good RV sewer hose will prevent spills and RV sewer dump anxiety. We recommend using the Camco Rhinoflex Sewer Hose Kit.
- A dedicated black tank flush-out hose: This hose is usually orange and is used only for flushing your black tank or grey tank after you dump.
- RV holding tank treatment: You will want to add this to your black and gray tanks after dumping in order to keep odors at bay and everything flowing smoothly when it’s time to dump again.
A Forest River Forums member also recommends a tote to easily carry all your accessories at the RV dump station.
“You’re going to want a “tote” of some kind for accessories. Only the hose will store in a typical caddy.”
What is the difference between an RV black tank and gray tank?
It’s important for RV newbies to know the difference between their RV holding tanks. The black tank holds the blackwater, including everything that you flush down the RV toilet. The gray tank holds gray water, which includes everything you flush down the kitchen/bathroom sink or shower. Check out these useful RV Gray Water Hacks if you are camping off-the-grid without access to an RV dump station.
What to do at the RV dump station
- Pull in to the RV dump station with the sewer outlets on the same side as the sewer dump.
- Put on your RV sanitation gloves.
- Attach the transparent elbow to the sewer hose.
- Firmly place the transparent elbow into the sewer dump inlet.
- Firmly attach the other end of the sewer hose to your RV’s sewer outlet valve.
- Completely open the black tank valve first by pulling on the handle. You should hear a “woosh” and then you will see the effluent moving through the clear elbow into the sewer dump. The black tank will be empty when you can no longer see effluent.
- Be sure to close the black tank valve.
- Completely open the gray tank valve. You will hear a woosh as the gray water runs through the clear elbow into the sewer dump. Leave the gray tank valve open until you can’t see the effluent moving through the clear elbow.
- Close the gray tank valve.
- Open the black tank valve.
- Firmly attach your dedicated RV black tank flush-out hose to your RV’s black tank flush intake. Attach the other end of this hose to the RV dump station water tap.
- Turn the water on. Keep flushing the black tank until the water runs perfectly clear through the transparent elbow.
- Turn the water off.
- Close the black tank outlet valve.
- Detach the dedicated black tank flush-out hose from the RV.
- Rinse the inside of your sewer hose with the RV black tank flush-out hose.
- Put everything away before you leave the RV dump station and congratulate yourself.
Popular Youtubers Long, Long Honeymoon shared their Top 10 Tips for Surviving the RV Dump Station in this video:
Get rid of black tank odors
Using an RV wastewater treatment will keep your tanks from getting stinky and will help keep everything flowing smoothly at the RV dump station. Most of them work with water, so add water to your holding tanks, and then add the treatment, as per instructions on the package. You may also want to try these tips from Do It Yourself RV.
Lynne lives, travels and works full time in the R-Pod 180 with 3 pointers and 1 small but vital corgi mix named Alice. Lynne began full time RVing as an experiment in 2019, but she quickly fell in love with the convenience, freedom and minimalist lifestyle offered by full time RV living. Lynne is a professional dog trainer, offering mobile and online dog training services through her website at www.mydoggeek.com. You can read about her travel adventures on her blog at: https://rpodadventure.wordpress.com/