RV How To Dump Black and Gray Tanks

Are you the chosen one to connect the RV sewer hose, empty the holding tanks, flush the tanks and disconnect and store the sewer hose when it’s time to leave?

Understanding how RV toilets are different from household toilets is the key to a successful outing in your travel trailer or motorhome. Understanding how to use RV safe tank treatments, and following proper dumping procedures when it’s time to empty the black tank is also important knowledge to be on your way to mastering your RV like a pro.

Let’s get started:

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Can I dump my black water tank if I don’t have a sewer hookup?

Note: Never let the gray or black water drain on the ground.

If your campsite does not have a sewer hookup to drain your black water tank, ask at the campground office where their sewer dump station is located. You will need to take your rv to that area so you can empty your black and gray tanks when needed. When you are in route and you need to dump your gray and black tanks, look for a dump station along the way. Some campgrounds offer this service where you can just pull in and use their dump station for a fee (make sure you contact the office before going to the designated dump station). Some truck stops and fuel stations offer a dump station also.

How do you dispose of a black water tank?

To connect the sewer hose, make sure both valves are closed and remove the sewer outlet cap. Make the connection by putting the drain hose adapter over the drain outlet and turn it clockwise until it locks securely in place. Take the opposite end of the drain hose over to the campground sewer connection. Use the necessary adapters to make the connection and get a good seal. When the tanks are full, or nearly full always empty the black tank first, the large valve, followed by the gray tank, the small valve. The gray water tank should also be at least two-thirds full. Dumping the gray water tank last will help flush and rinse the sewer hose.

Can you leave your black water tank open or dump grey water on the ground?

When you are at the campground for an extended period of time you can leave the gray tank valve partially open so it drains as you use it but remember to never do this with the black tank. If it’s time to leave the campground and your holding tanks aren’t full you can finish filling them with water and then empty them. Just add water through the toilet to finish filling the black tank or add water to the sinks or shower to finish filling the gray tank. Never dump your holding tanks anywhere except in authorized dump stations and campground sewer systems.

What kind of toilet paper should I use in my RV?

You should always use toilet paper designed for use in RVs. RV toilet paper breaks down and dissolves in the holding tank preventing potential problems with the holding tank, the RV sewer system and the dump station septic system. False holding tank readings on your monitor panel are caused by the holding tank probes, inside the tank, being covered by toilet tissue or other debris.

RV Holding Tank Preventive Maintenance video:

 

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About Mark Polk

Mark is an RVer and has a very extensive background in the RV industry. He began at age 15, washing RVs at a dealership in North Central Pennsylvania. It wasn't long before he was working as an apprentice RV technician under the guidance of the RV service manager. Mark then entered and served a full career as a ‎Maintenance Warrant Officer in the United States Army. He managed the operation of the motor pool, where he not only had ‎to understand vehicle maintenance, he had to teach young soldiers how to maintain and operate ‎motor pool vehicles. These soldiers came to him from very different backgrounds, and their prior experience with heavy equipment and mechanical skills were similarly varied. Mark had to learn how to ‎communicate with all of them clearly, concisely, and effectively, and he found that he had a ‎talent for teaching. The Army agreed, and eventually he was asked to produce written ‎instructional materials, including driver training manuals and operating procedures for motor ‎pools.‎ When he retired from the Army in 1996, Mark went to work for an RV dealership in ‎sales and service. He talked to customers about their needs and desires and helped them select ‎the right RV for them. He inspected used RVs for trade-in, he serviced customer RVs, and he ‎educated customers how to operate and enjoy their vehicles. As an RVer himself, through out the years, he has owned and used all the classifications of RVs (travel trailer, motorhome, pop up, 5th wheel and truck camper). He even restored from the ground up, a 67 Yellowstone travel trailer. It became clear to him that there ‎were limited resources available to RV owners who wanted to learn more about how to maintain ‎and operate their vehicles. Owners’ manuals provide limited information, and most consumers ‎find them confusing. Anecdotal information learned around campfires from other RV owners is ‎incomplete and can be unreliable. Mark realized that he had the knowledge and teaching ability ‎to fill that gap, and so in 1999, he began writing articles and books about how to choose, buy, ‎maintain, repair, and operate a variety of RVs. To date, he has authored more than 500 educational ‎videos, 15 e-books, 3 paperback books, and more than 1,600 articles educating millions of RVers. His best-selling book, ‎entitled The RV Book, has sold over 50,000 copies to date. ‎Mark's first priority is the safety of his audience. To Mark, ‎this means anticipating the risks and challenges RVers will encounter when following his ‎instructions, ensuring that the information he provides is complete and accurate, and providing ‎enough information so that his audience can make informed decisions about when to tackle ‎maintenance tasks themselves and when to take their vehicles to professionals. His second ‎priority is his audience’ empowerment. He sends his students out onto the road with confidence that they are equipped, prepared, ‎informed, and ready to enjoy themselves.‎Producing material that achieves those goals is a very difficult thing to do. RVs come in ‎a bewildering variety of different types, makes, models, and vintages, and when Mark writes ‎about tasks such as winterizing a water system, as we know there are many ways to winterize an RV, his instructions, need to guide his readers through the process ‎regardless of which RV his reader happens to own. Like his soldiers, his RV students come to him ‎with widely disparate levels of expertise, experience, talent, and motivation, and his instructions ‎must speak to all of them. Mark’s writing and video presentations are accurate and comprehensive. It is also clear, ‎concise, and easy to understand. He breaks complex, intimidating tasks down to easy steps.

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