In this article, we will answer the following question: How do I dump my RV sewer? We will also explain how an RV sewage system works, what are the grey and black water tanks and how to properly drain and clean them.
How do I dump my RV sewer?
Dumping your RV sewer is easier than you may expect:
- First, find the right place to do it. Some campsites offer a sewer service directly on the site, this is the case with seasonal pitches. The RV can therefore be connected to the campsite location and even be connected at all times. If the connection port of the sewer is far from the hatch of the trailer or motorhome, it is important to give the hose an inclination to allow the water and residues to drain well. There are accessories that can be used to hold the hose at a given slope.
In other cases, it will be necessary to drain the RV at a station provided for this purpose.
- Just stop the RV, plug it in and pull the hatch levers. Then, wait for the water to drain before disconnecting. There are optional quick drain systems on some RVs or as an accessory purchased separately for travellers with large tanks and on the go.
- It is recommended to wait until the tank is at least two-thirds full before dumping your RV sewer. The enzyme takes some time to break down the solid residue properly, too frequent draining will prevent the process from going on and you risk clogging the pipe with the solid residue.
A little pro tip: drain your black water tank beforehand and use the soapy water from the grey water tank to rinse the sewer hose!
- Finally, if you cannot drain at the site, but you do not want to move your RV, there are mobile tanks. This will allow you to empty your RV tanks into the mobile tank and only move the mobile tank to the dump station.
Keep in mind that the greywater trap can be left open during an extended stay at the same site, although we do not recommend it. Keeping the grey water which is mainly soapy water will be useful when emptying the black water tank.
The black water trap must not be left open under any circumstances, water and septic tank fluid will drain out, leaving solid residues to dry. It is therefore important to close the hatches after emptying and pour in the recommended amount of enzyme before using the toilet again.
Cleaning the RV sewage system
You have several options for cleaning the RV sewage system (the tanks). Some trailers and motorhomes are equipped with a system with a “BLACK TANK FLUSH” port. This system allows you to connect a water hose when emptying, the water will be sent as a jet into the tank for effective cleaning. It is possible to have this kind of system installed on an RV that does not have one.
It is also possible to get a flexible hose with a head that projects water in several directions. Just connect this hose to a water hose and slide it through the toilet to the black water tank.
Another option is to just fill the reservoir to about a third, add soap to it, and hit the road briefly to shake it all up. Another pro tip, some add a little ice through the toilet, this tip is excellent for dislodging stuck residue that can affect the monitor’s reading of the water level.
The RV sewage system explained
RVs have two systems for disposing of wastewater; grey water and black water. Both systems drain through the same hatch under the RV on the left side. The levers for opening the hatch are located either on either side of the hatch itself or in the multi-service connection centre.
We strongly suggest that you connect the sewer hose securely to the RV hatch and the campground manhole before pulling one of the two levers! If a problem occurs with your wastewater plumbing, refer to our troubleshooting guide, you could fix your problem quickly.
The RV grey water tank
The gray water tank collects the water used from the sinks and the shower. It is therefore only soapy water that may contain some residue. There are no special precautions to be taken other than monitoring the water level indicator in the tank. If the water tank is full, water will stop draining and collect in the bottom of sinks and showers. Some motorhomes and larger trailers may have more than one gray water tank, so make sure all tanks are emptied.
The RV black water tank
The black water tank collects water from the toilet. It is important to pour the recommended amount of septic tank fluid into the tank after each tank drain. To know the quantity, refer to the label of the septic tank product used and don’t forget to make a rule of three to take into account the gallonage of your black water tank. It is important to flush the toilet long enough so that a sufficient quantity of water runs out with the residue. If there is not enough water, the residue may not reach the tank and possibly clog the plumbing pipe.
Also, if the ratio of solid to the amount of liquid in the tank is too high, the enzyme may not work well and the solid may dry out and stick to the tank or block the pipe when draining. As with the gray water tank, the water level should be monitored by the monitor on the control panel to prevent residues from accumulating in the piping.
It is important to know that there are enzymes for residue and black water tank deodorants, the latter can help with odours, but do not act on the residue. The choice of toilet paper is also important, toilet papers designed for RVs are biodegradable, which facilitates their decomposition in the tank. Finally, do not send waste that takes longer to decompose in the tank, ideally, be limited to toilet paper.
Is sewer gas in RV dangerous?
Yes, sewer gas in RV can be dangerous. If exposed to sewer gas you experience the following symptoms, please call your doctor or attend the nearest emergency department as soon as possible:
- nausea or vomiting.
- dizziness or lightheadedness.
- poor memory and concentration.
The decomposition of the sewage in your mobile sewage tank is a natural process that starts automatically. However, it is broken down by anaerobic bacteria. These are the same bacteria that, while breaking down impurities in the water, also give off that rotten egg smell. These microorganisms make the toilet of your motorhome or caravan start to stink.
This is why it is important to dump your RV sewer in the right places and at the right time!
To clean the tanks of your RV, just fill them with clean water, add a cleaning and disinfectant such as bleach. You can leave it on for several minutes or hours, or you can roll it around so that the water moves throughout the tank.
The sewage system of your RV must be completely cleaned at least once or twice a year. When used, bad smells can appear and spread in the motorhome. If you spend a lot of time in your RV you will do this cleaning several times a year.
The black water tank can be cleaned more frequently than the gray water tank depending on your use.
Do you still have questions on how you can dump an RV sewer or clean RV tanks? Let us know!
FAQ on How do I dump my RV sewer?
Where to empty your RV wastewater?
You must empty your RV wastewater only in designated places such as campsites or RV stations. To evacuate the used water from an RV, all you have to do is open the taps, valves or hatches which flow directly under the motorhome.
How to empty the RV sewer?
To empty an RV sewer simply lift the end of the sewer hose to completely empty the hose into the dump station. If a non-potable water pipe is available, let the water run through the sewer pipe to rinse it. Remove the sewer pipe from the drain and flush the station hole from the outside of the pipe.
Where to empty the RV chemical toilet?
Camping or service areas are authorized places for emptying a chemical toilet. These areas are known to move into specific spaces for this type of activity. In addition, you can also proceed without consequence to the emptying of your chemical toilet in a network of wastewater.