After a particularly enjoyable camping trip, you will be left with the not-so-enjoyable task of emptying the RV storage tanks. This means taking your trailer to the sewage pumping station and using their facilities to empty the black and gray tanks, so they will be ready for your next camping trip.
You can make a quick side trip to the pumping station on your way home but would it not be great if you know how to dump RV tanks at home? It will be very convenient if you did not have to go to another place when you need to empty the contents of your holding tanks.
However, it is not that easy. There are a lot of things that you need to take into consideration beforehand.
Is it Legal to Dump your RV Tanks in your Home?
Before you learn how to do it, you must first figure out if it is legal for you to do it. Keep in mind that you will be essentially dumping toxic waste, so you should at least be sure that it is okay for you to do so.
First off, yes, it is completely legal for you to dump the contents of your wastewater storage tanks in your own home. However, it is not as simple as dumping all the contents of the tanks into the storm drain, which will put you into big trouble with the law. You will need to dump the contents into the municipal sewer line instead of the storm drain.
The reason behind this is that storm drains lead to water reservoirs, so pumping toxic wastewater into them is a big no-no. Another legal way is to dump the contents of the storage tanks into your residential septic tank if you have one. However, it is also important for you to consider using environmentally-friendly soaps and detergents.
It is because harsh ones can kill the beneficial bacteria in the septic tank that break down the waste and turn it into fertilizer.
How to Dump the Contents of the RV Tanks at Home?
There are several ways that you can dump out the contents of the storage tanks of your recreational vehicle. Among these methods are the following:
The bucket method
This is the most basic way to empty the tanks but it is also the most tedious. It involves the following steps:
- First, take a plastic bucket and a pair of strong rubber gloves. Fill the bucket with the gray and black water. Do not fill the bucket to the brim. This is so you can move better.
- Bring the bucket inside and carefully empty the bucket into your toilet and flush it completely. Take your time when you are walking and take care not to spill any of the contents.
The problem with the bucket method is that although it is the simplest and most cost-effective, it is also the most tedious and disgusting way to empty your RV’s tank. Also, you need to make sure that your home does have a septic tank and that the toilet you will dumping the waste into is connected to it.
Furthermore, if you have large holding tanks, dumping their contents via buckets can be a tiring and tedious affair. You should only be using this method if the holding tanks are not that full, like maybe half-full.
Using a macerator pump
This is a bit more complicated, but it does make the job of emptying the tanks much faster. What you need to do is attach a macerator pump. This pump will not just pump out the contents but will also help break down the large pieces of waste so you can easily dispose of them.
How to Use a Macerator Pump?
- Hook up the outlet hose of the black holding tank to the input valve of the macerator pump.
- Connect a long hose to the outlet valve and drag the end of the hose to the nearest toilet.
- Open the outlet valve of the black water tank and then turn on the macerator pump.
- The macerator pump will not only move the contents of the black water tank but will also churn the solid waste before pumping them out to the awaiting toilet, making it easier to flush.
Although this is much more convenient than using a plain bucket, it still entails dragging raw sewage hose into your home and the toilet. You need to take care of the hose because if it leaks, you will be a disgusting and hazardous mess.
Moreover, you will be spending money on a macerator pump and it is not cheap. Expect to spend thousands of dollars for a brand-new pump.
Dumping the RV Tanks Straight into the Septic Tank
If your home uses a septic tank system instead of connecting to the public sewer line, you can park your RV right next to it and dump the contents of its holding tanks straight into it. However, you need to keep in mind that not all kinds of wastewater should be pumped into the septic tank.
For instance, if you use harsh detergents and bleach, that gray water should not be pumped into the septic tank as those chemicals will kill the vital bacteria in the tank. These vital bacteria help break down the solid waste and turn it into potable fertilizer for the grass and the plants in your yard.
If you dump wastewater containing strong detergents or bleach, then that will kill those helpful bacteria. It is advisable that you only use eco-friendly soaps and detergents in your RV. That is the least you can do in exchange for having a great outdoors to explore.
How to Empty your RV Tanks into your Septic Tank?
- Locate your septic tank’s access port. This looks like a small pipe that sticks out of the ground. It is also sealed with an end cap. You might need a bigger wrench and a couple of friends as you do this step.
- Wear protective rubber gloves and even a face mask if you are a bit squeamish.
- Park your RV right beside the access port and connect the disposal hose to the black water tank first.
- Connect the end of the output hose to the access port of the septic tank.
- Make sure that the output hose is pointing straight down into the access port. This will prevent the waste from spewing out of the sides of the hose.
- After the contents of the black tank are pumped out, connect the hose into the gray water storage tank.
- Emptying the black tank before the gray tank will allow you to clean the dumping hose a bit because of the soap and detergent residue. The soap in the gray water will also loosen any bits that stayed stuck on the sides of the hose.
- Take your garden hose and completely rinse off the dumping hose, and the storage tanks.
Benefits of Emptying Your RV Tanks at Home
The biggest benefit is that you do not have to drive across town whenever you need to empty the storage tanks of your RV. Furthermore, it will not also be necessary for you to pay fees for using the dumping stations. Another benefit is that you can turn your RV into a guest room or a permanent addition to your home.
You just need to connect the outlet hose securely into the access port of the septic tank. However, you should remember not to make the connection permanent, as you will need to use the access port of your septic tank when the time comes that you need to empty it.
Disadvantages of Emptying Your RV’s Tanks at Home
If you will be using the bucket method, you need to be careful not to spill any of the contents while you are carrying it to the nearest toilet. If you spill raw sewage in your home, it will be a difficult mess to clean up completely.
Even when you are dumping directly into the septic tank, you need to be careful when connecting the outlet hose to the access port. If the connection is weak, it will cause raw sewage to spray out the sides.
If you think about it, the benefits of emptying your RV’s tanks outweigh the disadvantages. Regardless of the method that you choose, it is still more economical and somewhat easier to do when you are at home.
Now that you know several ways on how to dump RV tanks at home, you can start saving money for your future RV trips. When you have a way to empty your RV tanks without leaving your property, you can always ensure that your RV is always ready and waiting to go on your next adventure.
When you have well-maintained and regularly emptied storage tanks, your RV will last for as long as you want to keep using it.
Hi, I am Dane Heldt, a full-time RVer since 2016. I am always passionate about building and joining an RV community where people share their love for RV lives. This blog is a dream of mine, as I can finally share my experiences to help people who want to start living differently. So, feel free to reach out to me!