Though disgusting, emptying and cleaning your black and grey RV tanks is an inevitable maintenance plan. Dumping RV tanks at an RV park is convenient since they have dedicated dump stations with inlets that perfectly fit around your dump hose.
The problem gets trickier when you have to dump at home. If you don’t feel like driving to a dump station and sitting in line for hours, you can get a legal workaround by dumping your RV tanks at home – as long as you do it right.
Can I Dump RV Tanks at Home?
Yes. You can legally dump your RV tanks at home if the waste goes into an approved sewer system. Some municipalities have different regulations on the topic. Be sure to check before pulling the trigger.
Apart from emptying into your sewer, you can also dump directly into your municipal sewer line or sanitary line as long as you have a legal access spot. Don’t go opening municipal maintenance holes to dump. You might be charged with vandalism.
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Whatever you do, never drain your RV waste into storm drains. Even though the waste will be out of sight, it will end up in water reservoirs and could contaminate the local water supply.
Not only will you contaminate everyone’s water, but you could also get a huge fine from the local government and some choice words from furious residents.
Can I Dump My RV Waste into My Septic System
If your home’s plumbing is connected to a private septic tank, you have complete control over the system and can comfortably dump your black and grey water into it.
Ensure that you still use biodegradable products that the bacteria in the septic tank can work on. Using the right soaps, shampoos, cleaning products, and toilet paper is crucial for maintaining a septic system.
For instance, avoid anti-bacterial soaps as they will mess up with the helpful bacteria in your septic tank.
What to Do When Dumping Your RV at Home
If you’ve decided to skip the pain of driving to a dumpsite, it is time to figure out the different tricks you can use when disposing of the waste at home.
There are a couple of ways to get it done. Some require special tools, while simpler methods need a bucket and can get quite messy.
Whatever you do, start with the black tank first before moving on to the greywater. The greywater will help you semi-clean your equipment, reducing how much freshwater you use to flush out everything once you’re done.
Dumping Your RV Tanks into a Cleanout Pipe
Most public or private (septic) sewer systems have a cleanout pipe between the house and the rest of the system. IT is a small pipe sticking out of the ground on the main sewer line with a cap on the top.
This pipe connects straight to the main sewer headed to the municipal system or your septic tank. Dumping into this pipe is the easiest and fastest way to get rid of your black and grey water.
- Locate the access or cleanout pipe and use a wrench or other tool to loosen the cap. Be sure it is the solid waste drain and not the storm drain system
- Park the RV as close to the port as possible so that your disposal hose can get to the cleanout pipe
- Put on some heavy-duty gloves and face goggles. You might also throw on a mask to filter out some of the smell
- Ensure there aren’t any open flames near or on you (this includes smoldering cigarettes) as the septic or sewer system might have some combustible gases
- Open the cleanout pipe slowly and carefully in case any harmful fumes want to escape
- Feed at least four inches of the disposal hose into the now open cleanout pipe. In most cases, the cleanout pipe is wider than your disposal hose. If it isn’t, you will have to buy some adapters
- If the fit isn’t tight enough to keep the pipe in place, find a way to secure the pipe in place. You can use some polyethylene, cling film, or even tape. You can also have someone hold it in place. It doesn’t have to be airtight. We just want it to stay in place
- Connect the drainpipe to the RV black tank side and open the drain valve
- Once the tank is fully empty, flash the black tank with clean water and drain it too
- Repeat the procedure for the grey water tank
Dump into a Man Hole in Your Property
If your septic system or sewer connection doesn’t have an accessible cleanout pipe, you have a couple of maintenance holes within your property.
You can open one and dump your grey and black water into the holes to the same effect since they have thick pipes and are connected to the municipal sewer system or your septic tank.
Use a lever like a crowbar to open the maintenance hole cover, confirm it is the black waste line (you can have someone flush a toilet and check if you see water rush by. Once you are sure, place one end of your RV’s dump hose into the maintenance hole and connect the other side to the tank you want to dump.
How to Dump Your RV Tank With a Bucket
If you don’t have a long enough dump hose to access your sewer system, you could opt for the longer and messier bucket system.
- Put on some protective gear
- Get a sizeable bucket that you can easily carry
- Place it under the black or grey water dump valve and open the valve to fill it 3/4 way.
- Carefully carry it to a maintenance hole to dump it.
- If you can’t find a utility hole, dump it in your toilet and flush it to get rid of the mess.
This process is long, messy, and tiresome. It should be your last resort on a small RV. Most people (me included) would rather drive thirty minutes to an RV park and wait for an hour in line to use their dump stations.
The Macerator and Toilet Dump Approach
Using a macerator is a good way to ensure your waste is in a perfect easy to handle sludge that flows easily through pipes or is easier to load onto buckets.
You will have to invest in a macerator pump and a couple of hoses. The pump pulverizes waste into a sludge before pumping it along with the drain hose.
This makes it easier to dump waste than the traditional gravity-driven drain hose. You can easily feed the waste hose to your house and the toilet or a far placed sewer access port.
Access a Toilet Cleanout Hatch
Most toilets have a cleanout hatch somewhere near them before heading into the sewer lines. It might be hidden in the wall or somewhere on the outside wall. It has a screw-on hatch designed to let plumbers troubleshoot blockages if you can access it.
Opening this could give you access to a big black waste drainpipe, saving you the pain of dumping into the toilet and flushing now and then.
Dumping Through the Septic Tank’s Access Port
Finally, if you can’t find any access to your private septic system other than the toilet, you can try the access hatch on your septic tank.
This is the hatch through which an exhauster will once suck out the solid waste when the tank is full.
Open the hatch, feed your drain hose (or the pipe from the macerator pump), and dump the waste straight into the main tank.
The Pros and Cons of Dumping RV Waste at Home
Dumping at home is convenient – if you have the right amenities and tools. You won’t have to pay extra or drive out of your way to clear your RV tanks.
It could also give you the freedom to use your RV as a spare room since guests can keep using it without worrying about quick drives to dump the tank.
The biggest disadvantage of dumping at home is that since it is a makeshift operation, there’s a higher chance of spilling raw sewage all over. The risk increases when using the bucket method or incompatible hose sizes to dump.
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Investing in a macerator pump, some control valves, and well-fitting hose ends that you can screw on might cost some money but make the process safer.
For instance, if you dump into a cleanout pipe or a maintenance hole, get a drain hose that fits snugly fits into the cleanout pipe or is long enough to get into the maintenance hole.
You could also get a plumber to install a dedicated drain port connected to your sewer system or private septic tank. You could even DIY install the connection on your private septic system.
Finally, check your local regulations to ensure that it’s legal to dump your tank at home. You don’t want to get in trouble for the convenience.