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The Weakest Links When Dumping RV Black Water

The Weakest Links When Dumping RV Black Water

Dumping your RV black water tank often brings a bit of fear, especially for beginners. Will it spill? Is it clogged?

Checking the weak links in your dumping process can help prevent your nightmares from coming true. So we’ve come up with four points to check for better success.

Let’s jump in.

What is RV Black Water?

RV black water is the solid waste coming from your toilet. This obviously includes stuff that you do not want spilling, or worse, getting on you or others. In addition, you have a gray water tank in an RV that drains from your sinks and shower. You also have a freshwater tank to hold your clean water.

Wondering if you can dump RV black water on the ground? Here’s the answer!

Ways of Dumping RV Black Water

Typically, people dump their black water tank directly into a sewer line. This could be in a campground at your RV space if you have hookups, or it could be at a dump station along your route.

Another option people use for dumping their RV black water is a portable black water tank or tote. These are essentially plastic boxes on wheels. You fill the tank with your waste, then wheel it or drive it to a dump station for emptying. Totes are very helpful when you don’t have a sewer hookup but will be staying longer than your black tank can handle.

In addition, some small RVs have cartridge tanks. These are small, removable bins that you typically dump into a toilet or a sewer pipe at a dump station.

Now that you know the basics, let’s take a look at those weak links.

Cheap Hose

Your RV’s drain hose is certainly something you don’t want to buy on the cheap. They can crack, causing small leakages, or even break open. Admittedly, any hose will degrade over time, especially if it’s sitting in the hot sun a lot. However, the cheaper hoses will break down much faster.

They’re also more vulnerable to sharp rocks because they’re usually made of thinner material.

Pro Tip: These are the best sewer hoses on the market this year.

Connection Point

Those cheap hoses we mentioned above can also cause problems with your connection points. For example, they may not quite be the right size and try to pop off.

On the other hand, they could have weak ends that could break from the pressure of the connection. So do yourself a favor and start off buying the higher-quality hose. Again, though, a good hose could have the same problems after a while in the elements. So be sure to check your hose regularly for wear and tear.


Oh, the dreaded clog! Here, a little prevention will help immensely with dumping your RV black water. First, keep your black tank valve closed even if you have full hookups. This allows the liquids to stay inside and soften the solid waste. Also, be sure you’re using toilet paper that’s specifically for RVs.

In addition, you can buy special sprayers called sewer wands that let you clean the tank without making a mess.

If you do get a clog, hopefully, you have one of those clear connectors. These allow you to see the fluid draining from your tanks and can let you know if the clog is in the hose or the tank. If it’s in the tank, adding water and letting it sit for a day or so can help. People recommend all kinds of variations, from adding ice water to dish soap to using chemicals. We suggest researching more before using dish soap or chemicals.

If the clog is in your hose, you should have a much easier time clearing it. Sometimes gently lifting the hose up and down will dislodge a clog. Otherwise, try running some fresh water through it, or you could even carefully push a stick into it.

Human Error

Our own mistakes are often the cause of RV black water dumping malfunctions. One of the biggest issues is not making sure the connections are solid. Really make sure they’re on there.

You also need to maintain your fittings and valves, changing them when they start to wear. And be sure you’ve rinsed your hose before you pack it up!

Dumping RV Black Water Tanks Doesn’t Have to be Messy

You really can dump your RV’s black water tank without it getting all over. Buy quality equipment and maintain it well. Then it’s a matter of paying attention to what you’re doing and double-checking a few things.

Following our advice will help reduce your risk of an accident. However, if one happens, chalk it up to just another black tank story you can tell around the campfire.

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  1. Mike K says:

    35+ years of RVing never had a clog.
    Big thing you left out is a leaking black tank valve.
    Mostly caused by not closing it all the way after dumping. Be ready when removing you sewer cap!
    Been there done that!!