How To Dump RV Tanks At Home? Explained

On average, an RV user consumes around 100 gallons of water per day, so it is important and responsible to safely dispose of the wastewater after returning from a trip. The water tank in the RV collects wastewater in two tanks while the vehicle is in use. Water from the shower and kitchen sink goes into the gray water tank, and wastewater from the toilet is stored in the black water tank.

Both tanks must be emptied regularly by RV (Recreational vehicle) owners so that wastewater does not spill, which is a situation that everyone is terrified of. Below, we bring you instructions on emptying your RV tank and avoiding environmental pollution or penalties.

How To Dump RV Tanks At Home?

So How To Dump RV Tanks At Home? Usually, there are three ways how you can dump your RV tanks at home. You can use the residential sewer line and septic tank method, the bucket method, and the macerator method. The mecerator method is most often used because it is the safest and most reliable method of the above.

Now that you’ve got the answer to this question, it’s time to go a little bit deeper into the topic and see which method is right for you. So, let’s start!

For those who want to learn more, be sure to read Finding RV Car Wash Near Me: Locations To Wash RV.

Is It Allowed To Dump RV Tanks At Home?

You can empty your gray and black water tanks at home. However, you must do so that the wastewater ends up in the sewer system. Depending on the area in which you live, different regulations may apply to this. If you are an RV user be sure to study them well before you dump your tanks. 

You should have no problem if you discharge wastewater from the RV directly into the sewer or sanitary drain. But by no means should your tanks be emptied into a storm drain since water from it is often stored in reservoirs. This means that you could cause water pollution! Large fines are envisaged for such an act, and you will surely also incur the wrath of the entire neighborhood.

Can You Empty RV Tanks Into Septic System?

You can’t empty the RV tanks so that they go into the septic system if you are not connected to the main sewer line. Since harsh chemicals nullify the effect of good bacteria that are located in the septic tank, consider using soaps and detergents that are not harmful to the environment. 

3 Ways How To Empty Your RV Tanks At Home

You can empty your RV tanks in three ways, and each of them has its pros and cons. The procedure differs and usually depends on whether you will choose to empty the tank into a septic tank, directly into the main sewer line, or use a macerator pump for this job. We will consider all the options more closely.

1. Use Septic Tank Method and Residential Sewer Line

Public or private wastewater systems are available to almost everyone today. The public sewer disposal system involves the use of a city sewage system through the discharge of wastewater into the main sewer line, while a private sewage disposal system operates on the same principle as a septic system. 

Both sewer systems come with an ejection tube. It is a small pipe covered with a plug that is visible on the surface of the ground above the main sewer or septic tank. When you empty a dump from RV in any of these systems you need:

  • Locate the sewer line or the septic tank access port. You can do it with a large wrench and extra pair of hands.
  • Park RV next to the access port and then connect the black water tank with the disposal hose.
  • You should wear protective hand and face gear to stay clean and protected.
  • The output of the hose you should connect to the end septic tank’s port of access. Do not rush when removing caps on the sewer end because fumes could escape and hurt you.
  • Be sure that the output hose is a downward trough access port. Also, it needs to be well secured to prevent waste from coming out of the sides.
  • Before you start emptying your water tank from toilet water, make sure that you are connected to the solid waste, not the drain for the storm of your sewer system. This way you will avoid emptying prohibited content into a drain for stormwater.
  • For emptying the black tank pull the valve ensuring that is washed down completely.
  • The black tank should be filled with clean water, and then rinsed.
  • When you are done with the black tank, you can empty the grey tank by repeating the same steps.
  • A black tank should always go first. Then you can do hose cleaning with the detergent and soap residue from the grey water tank.
  • Before disconnecting the system from the sewer make sure you rinse your dumping hose from the inside.
  • The sewer hose should be removed and stored properly.

You can find more information about this tutorial on emptying RV tanks in our step-by-step instructions that explain how the RV is connected to the sewer hose. 

Important: Apply this method only if you do not use harmful soaps and detergents that counteract the effect of good bacteria in your septic tank. 

To avoid problems, always make sure that in your area it is allowed to discharge wastewater from the RV directly into the sewer. We also recommend that you talk to your neighbors and explain to them how and where you empty the tanks.

It is a good recommendation to use a flush valve to upgrade the system. It will help you maintain a higher level of hygiene. The flush valve has the function of effectively flushing out solid accumulations at the bottom of the black tank and thus ensures that the tank does not have to empty more often than necessary.

 2. The Bucket Method

If you want to apply the bucket method to empty your RV tanks, here are the steps you need to follow:

  • You should use protection for your hands and face. Carefully add warm water to the bucket from the black and gray water tank. Make sure to not fill it over the top.
  • Slowly empty the bucket in the toilet in your home and then flush the waste.
  • To ensure that you are not spilling the wastewater around your house take your time.

It is clear that this method is the most challenging due to the direct contact with wastewater, but its advantage is simplicity and savings on disposal costs. The Bucket method is recommended for emptying small wastewater tanks from RV, but definitely not when it comes to large tanks. Large containers due to their volume are very difficult to empty this way.

3. The Macerator Method

This is a little bit more complicated method which in turn ensures a much more efficient cleaning of the tank. The macerator pump empties the wastewater tank but also removes hard deposits from it. The process is much faster and can be performed using any size of hose. In the video below you can find instructions for emptying RV waste tanks at home with the help of a macerator pump.

This method works at a high level of efficiency, in this way:

  • First, while holding the black tank connect the hose of the tank to the input valve of the macerator pumps. Hold the tank tied.
  • Next, use a long hose and connect it to the prepared outlet valve and then drag the hose from its end to the sewer pipe or toilet.
  • Make sure that the black tank is opened so that water can go out through the outlet valve and then activate the macerator pump.

Note! If the macerator pump runs on dry it can be destroyed very quickly. Therefore, always observe the discharge process carefully so that the pump can be switched off immediately after it has done its job. 

This method is great, but not cheap. The macerator pump is expensive and you will spend a few hundred dollars on it.

Pros & Cons When You Empty RV Tank At Home

The biggest advantage of disposing of the RV tank at home is saving money because, in that case, you do not have to pay dumping fees when using dumping stations. In addition, it is a great advantage that when you have a system for waste disposal from RV at home, your RV vehicle can become an additional room in your home, which can be very useful when guests come to visit you.

The downside of emptying an RV tank while you are at home is the possibility that dirty water and sewage waste spill over your house, which can happen especially easily when using the bucket method. But even if you dump the waste directly into the sewer pipe, you must always secure the pipes and connections well to avoid this. Note, that you have to do it also when you empty the tanks at the dumping station.

Of course, it should always be taken into account that the disposal of waste from an RV in your own home may be prohibited in the area where you live. So before you start the process be sure to study local regulations to avoid fines.

How Often RV Black Water Tank Needs To Be Emptied?

There is no straight answer for this question. The tank must be emptied depending on how frequently you use the toilet and what is the size of your tank. If you go on a trip alone, you can probably go a whole week without emptying the tank, if not more. But if you are traveling with a large group of people and/or if your RV has a small black water tank you will probably have to empty it every other day. 

Many RVs have black and gray water tank sensors that activate when the tanks are full. But some vehicles, such as Casitas, do not have this sensor. This is an important feature that you need to pay attention to when buying an RV vehicle. You should never allow a black tank to fill up to the very top. This can cause a lot of clutter and inconvenience.

Note! Always empty your black tank when it is 2/3rds full. Not before. This allows the solids in the tank to break down and make emptying easier.

Additional Equipment

In addition to the use of a macerator pump, we also recommend purchasing additional equipment (maybe you already have it).

Item (Our Recommendation)Purpose
GlovesTo avoid injuries and stay clean
WipesUse to clean handles, valves, and connection ports
Black/Gray Water Tank Flush HoseFor flashing out tanks after or during draining them
Sewage HoseRV sewage kit hose / Garden hose
Tank Treatment Prevent odors in your RV tanks

**Flush and sewage hose is not the same thing and you should always separate them. The flush hose is a normal garden hose. It connects to a macerator pump to rinse the tanks. Do not use any hose that is connected to the RV septic system for freshwater.

The time that is needed to empty the tank: 30 minutes

Step-by-Step how to empty your RV gray and black waste tanks:

  • Get the Right Macerator

If you have at home an RV sewage hose, use a macerator pump SewerFlo’s. If you like more to use hoses for the garden, buy Fmacerator lojet’.

  • Connect Your Macerator to Your RV

You should connect the RV waste output to the macerator input by twisting or screwing it into place. Be sure to plug in the power cable also.

  • Connect Flush Hoses to Macerator

On your macerator, there are three ports available. One port is the waste input. The second port is the water rinse inlet (It can be used for macerators and hoses for the garden). Now, connect it to the side by just jutting it. With this flush, you will rinse the waste to the disposal place with the help of the macerator.

  • Connect Waste Output Hose to Macerator

On one end of the macerator goes a garden hose when you choose Flojet or an RV sewage hose when you choose SewerFlo. Both screw and twist into place. While doing this other end of the hose should be in the toilet or a similar spot.

  • Open the RV Waste Outlets

Gray and black tanks have separate values. Do not open them at the same time. You should empty the black tank first. That way while you empty the grey tank, you clean out the hoses. Also in this way you flush the system.

  • Turn On the Macerator

Just turn on the Macerator.

  • Clean Up

After you are done, disassemble the RV septic system. Make sure to clean everything. Congratulations, you are now a real expert in this business!

FAQ: People Also Ask

What is an RV Septic Tank?

RV septic tank represents the combined system of gray and black wastewater tanks in your RV. These two tanks together make up the RV septic system.

Can you dump your RV waste tanks at home?

Yes – you can! But you have to do it the right way otherwise you can suffer serious consequences. The procedure is simple if you have your own septic tank at home, or if you do not have a lot of waste to dispose of for which there is a tried and tested method. 

What macerator model is best to dump RV waste tanks?

An efficient and affordable model if you already own a drain hose is the SewerFlo. Noting that it doesn’t work when using a regular garden hose. In that case, we recommend the use of Flojet garden watering hoses, which are simple and easy to handle.

Final Thoughts

If you are one of those people who own an RV, you will surely face this problem and you will not be able to avoid it. Therefore, it is very important to know how to properly dispose of waste from your RV vehicle. In this article, we talked in detail about whether you can dump your RV waste tanks at home and what the procedure is. I hope you have understood by now how this can be done and if you have any further questions feel free to contact us.

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6 months ago

Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you.

3 months ago

Your article helped me a lot, is there any more related content? Thanks!