Can You Dump RV Tanks at Home?
It’s the end of a long trip, and you’re too tired to deal with a dump station, so you’ll just empty your RV tanks at home tomorrow.
People do it, but we checked to see if dumping your tanks at home is legal. Plus we talk about the various methods.
Let’s dig in!
Is Dumping RV Tanks at Home Legal?
Most people say dumping your RV tanks at home is legal if you own your own septic system. However, if you’re connected to a municipal water supply, you’ll need to check with your local government. Whether you have septic or sewer, you should ensure it’s legal.
This is one of those questions that isn’t easy to Google or find in your online city or county code. We recommend calling your city offices (or county if you’re in an unincorporated area) so there’s no doubt. If you dump where it’s illegal or in the wrong spot, such as a storm drain, you could be heavily fined.
Pros and Cons
The benefits of dumping your tanks at home include convenience and cost savings. However, the process can be tedious, and the potential for contamination is high depending on how you go about it.
Ways to Dump Your RV Tanks at Home
There are a few ways to dump your RV tanks at home once you determine if it’s legal.
Directly into Your Sewer Line or Septic Tank
City sewer pipes and septic tanks usually have what’s called a ‘cleanout.’ This looks a lot like the sewer hookup at the RV parks and is simply a capped pipe poking up at ground level. It’s often hidden under landscaping plants or built-up soil, so you may have to dig around to find yours.
Once you’ve found the cleanout, it should be as simple as connecting your RV sewer hose to it and dumping as you would at a regular dump station or park hookup. You know the drill, black first, then flush with gray.
These are not made for RV’s, though, so be sure to wear protective gear on your hands and over your face. Also, make sure the connection is good, so the hose doesn’t disconnect due to the pressure and spray your waste everywhere.
For septic tanks, be careful not to overflow the system when you’re dumping. Tell everyone inside the house that showers, laundry, and dishwashing are off-limits until a while after you’re done. If you have a larger tank, such as in some Class A motorhomes, you may want to dump it in phases. Know how much your septic system can handle and stay under that volume.
Again, be sure not to dump your RV tanks into the storm drain. These often go to retention ponds, and your waste will contaminate the water, the surrounding soil, and harm the wildlife that uses it. Plus, as we mentioned above, you could face large fines.
Dumping Your RV Tank with a Bucket
This method is all over the Internet, but we don’t recommend it except for small black tanks. Even then, it’s probably better to just use another method. This one is simple, but it exposes you to raw sewage. Plus, the possibility of an accident increases with every trip you make to the bathroom.
As always, wear protection for your face and hands. Fill the bucket about 3/4 full with black water and a little gray water, or some people do all black water. Slowly and cautiously, go to your home’s toilet and carefully pour the waste into it. Flush. Repeat until your black tank is empty. Clean up any spills, no matter how tiny, with a bleach solution.
A macerator connects to your blank tank and essentially mixes your solid waste, so it flows more easily. This allows you to dump more quickly, and you can even run the hose into your toilet. You’ll have to stand there and flush it regularly, though. Good macerators generally cost around $200.
Should You Dump Your RV Tanks at Home?
You can dump your RV tanks at home as long as your city or county says it’s legal. However, none of the methods is easy or clean. You might be better off having a professional install an RV sewer connection if you plan to dump at home often.
Otherwise, plan on the time to do it before you leave the RV park or at a dump station on your way home. Have you ever dumped your RV tanks at home?
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