How To Dump RV Tanks At Home (3 Methods)

If you just got back from a long trip with your RV then chances are that your grey and black water tanks are full. It’s commonly overlooked just how much water the average person uses daily on an RV trip and you obviously don’t want to leave that wastewater inside of your RV.

Draining both your black and grey water tanks regularly is extremely important, you really don’t want to experience any overspills that create an awful mess (trust me, I have seen it firsthand!).

Let’s look at how to dump RV tanks at home the right and safe way, you obviously don’t want to be getting into any legal trouble or causing any damage to the environment so stick to these three methods and you will be fine.

Dumping an RV tank at home can be done in three main ways. This includes using a residential sewer line or a septic tank, using a bucket, or utilizing the macerator method.

how to dump rv tanks at home

Is It Legal To Dump RV Waste At Home (Residential Sewer System)?

Yes, it is legal to dump both your gray water tank and your black water tank at home. However, it absolutely must go into an approved residential sewer system.

Generally speaking, if you empty your RV tanks right into a municipal sewer line or a sanitary line, there should not be any issues. 

However, keep in mind that you can absolutely not dump an RV tank into a storm drain. These storm drains lead to reservoirs and often to open water systems, so you don’t pollute them with your nasty waste.

You don’t want to contaminate local water systems. With all of that being said, you do want to check their local regulations and ordinances just to make sure that you are being legal.

In terms of dumping your RV tank into your own septic system, there’s absolutely no law against this.

How To Dump RV Waste Tanks At Home: Three Ways  

There are three main ways to dump your RV waste tanks at home, including using a residential sewer line or your own septic tank, using the bucket method, or by utilizing the so-called macerator method.

Let’s take a closer look at all three methods and exactly how to execute them.

1. Dumping RV Waste Tanks into a Sewer Line or Septic Tank

Perhaps the easiest method of dumping an RV waste tank is to use either a sewer system or your own septic system.

If there is a private sewage disposal system, it will work much like a septic system. Simply put, you might have your own septic tank that you can use for this purpose. 

On the other hand, municipal or local sewage systems will use a residential sanitary line or a main sewer line. Both types of sewer systems are going to have some kind of line out.

This is a relatively small pipe that comes up out of the ground from the mine sewer line or from the septic tank. Both of these will be sealed with some kind of end cap. 

All you really have to do is remove this end cap, put your RV waste tank disposal hose inside of that line, and get to pumping.

If you are emptying your holding tank into a sewer system or a septic system, there are a few important tips that you need to follow.

  • Always wear protective gear on your hands and face to stay clean.
  • You will first need to locate the sewer line or septic tank access port. You might need a large wrench to get that end cap off.
  • Park your RV beside that access port, and then connect the disposal hose of your black water tank to the black water tank. You then want to connect the other end of the hose to either the septic tank’s access port or the sewer line’s access port.
  • Make sure that the hose is deep enough inside the access port so that waste will not spray out all over the place. Before you start, make sure that you aren’t emptying waste into a sewer drain.
  • With the hose inserted into the right inlet, empty the black water tank by opening the valve, and make sure that it drains completely.
  • Following the exact same steps, as you use to empty the black water tank, you can now empty the grey water tank in the same way.
  • Before removing the sewer hose, rinse it out. You can then remove it and put it back in its proper storage place.

2. Using a Bucket

The next method that you have at your disposal for emptying your RV black water and grey water tanks is by using a bucket. Of course, using a bucket is the easiest way to go about it, and by far the most cost-effective as well. (if you run into any issues with your grey water tank then read this article).

This is quite simply because all we need is a bucket and some protective gear. That being said, this is also one of the most tedious, painstaking, and messiest methods.

Moreover, if you have very large grey water and black water holding tanks, then this process is going to take quite a long time. Also, it’s certainly not the cleanest way to go about this process.

Whatever the case may be, you do first want to wear some protective gear for your hands and your face. You are then going to go to the outlet valves of either the black water tank or the grey water tank, whichever one you choose to empty first. 

You are then going to place your large bucket under the outlet, slowly turn the valve on, fill the bucket, and then turn the valve off. 

You are then going to take that bucket and dump it in an appropriate location. This might be into a sewer line, a septic tank, or anywhere else that is legal, where you see fit.

Yes, you are going to have to repeat this process over and over again until your tanks are empty.

3. Using the Macerator Method

The third option at your disposal here is a slightly more complicated one, but it does make things much easier and manageable. What you are going to need to get yourself is a macerator pump.

This is a special type of pump designed to empty RV holding tanks, a pump that features blades on the inside that literally chops up or macerates any waste. 

This allows you to use about just any size of hose, and any disposal method. To use a macerator pump, you’re first going to connect the black water holding tank outlet hose to the macerator pump inlet valve.

You are then going to use a long outlet hose to connect to the outlet of the macerator pump. You are then going to take that hose and put the other end into a sewer inlet or even your own toilet.

Yes, this is one of the big benefits of using the metric macerating method, that you can dump the waste into a toilet. Once this is done, you’re just going to open up the outlet valve of the black water tank, turn on the macerator, and wait until waste stops flowing out.

Just remember that while a macerator pump does make things more manageable, it can cost several hundred dollars.

How Often Should The Black Water Tank Be Dumped?

There is really no straightforward answer to this question. How often you dump your black water and grey water tanks is going to depend on exactly how often you use those tanks and how many people you have inside of the RV.

For instance, if you have a relatively small holding tank, and you are camping with many people, you might have to empty those tanks every day or two.

However, if you have a larger tank, you don’t use the toilet that much, and you are alone, you might only have to empty these plants about once per week.

Of course, you definitely want to empty all holding tanks before you put your RV away for storage at the end of the season.

What is also helpful is if you have an RV that has black and grey water tank holding sensors that tell you exactly how full both tanks are.

Benefits Of Dumping Your RV Tanks At Home

You might be wondering why exactly would dump your RV’s holding tanks at home. Well, by far the biggest benefit is that you don’t have to pay any dumping fees.

If you dump your RV holding tanks at a campground, you are going to pay some pretty hefty fees. Moreover, there is also the fact that dumping at home tends to be easier because you can do it on your own time.

On that note, if you figure out how to dump your RV holding tanks at home, you can actually convert that RV into a small bedroom or separate house for somebody to live in.

What To Do After Emptying Your Black Tank

After you empty out your black water tank, you do want to clean it out. This will ensure that it doesn’t smell too bad and that there are no clogs present. Follow the steps listed below to clean out your black water tank after emptying it.

  1. The night before you clean the black water tank, you want to close that grey water tank valve. You want a bit of water to accumulate so that you can rinse out your black water tank. Make sure to leave the grey water tank valve closed overnight, as this will allow you to gather some water.
  2. You then want to clean the toilet in your RV. Make sure to use the proper chemicals and tools to clean an RV toilet.
  3. Now you want to connect the anti-backflush valve to the garden hose. You’re then going to attach the garden hose to the sewer rinse attachment on your RV. So, one end should be connected to the sewer rinse attachment, and the other to the fresh water source.
  4. You are now going to turn on the water, but don’t turn it on all the way at first. At this point, you’re also going to pull open a black water tank valve, and then slowly turn on the water more. You want to keep running the water until the water comes out mostly clear.
  5. You’re now going to close the black water tank valve and leave it closed for over a minute. Once you have done this, once open the black water tank again, and let the water run through more.
  6. You now want to close the black water tank valve again and let it fill up all the way. However, don’t take your eye off of this, because you don’t want it overflowing.
  7. As soon as the black water tank is full, open the valve back up, and let all of the water run out. The water should be clear at this point. If the water is not yet clear, repeat the above steps.
  8. You are now going to open up the grey water tank valve and let the water drain. You’re going to finish this off by using some all-purpose RV toilet cleaner and pouring it down the toilet.

Other Places To Dump RV Waste For Free

Whether or not there are other locations where you can dump RV waste for free is questionable. Simply put, some areas or locations might charge you money whereas others may not. There are often free RV dump stations out there including RV dumps, RV dump sites, Sanidumps, and more.

Depending on the location, you may also be able to dump your RV black water tank at an RV park, a campground, a sporting goods store, an RV dealership, or even at a gas station.

Madeline Cooper