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Can You Dump RV Tanks at Home?

Can You Dump RV Tanks at Home?

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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Wednesday 23rd of February 2022

[…] Tip: Are you looking for a place to dump your tank and wondering Can You Dump RV Tanks at Home? Find […]

David Baker

Wednesday 29th of September 2021

If you are a single person or even a couple rv full time, its perfectly ok to use your septic and black water simultaneously, however, do not wait until you have an enormous dump to drain the one into the other! A little common sense and it works just fine because i did it for nearly two years without so much as a backup into household sewer fixtures such as tub and toilets. Rv folks will tell you to let your black water tank build a little before Dumping to get a good flush, and thats true mist times and thats all good info, but if we use a little sense, you can practice a little modified “rules” to suit the situation you have. Of course waiting until your tanks are bursting to purge into a maxed out or already malfunctioning septic system are not the recommended combinations of either situation. I think I have made the point. Happy dumping and of course septic rules apply to rv black tank use anyway, no cig butts and stuff that does not breakdown like natural body dumpings do, so, don’t put non biodegradable stuff (e.g., cigarette butts, plastic wrappers, etc) those are a no no in either system,’again with your best practices in place you have plenty of space to dump the icky stuff that don't belong near your face its all The Same Foul smelling bio dome of waste!! Happy Stink system maintenance!

The Remote service And Support full-time Rv’er working the gammit of IT Operations from my Wanderer Deluxe by Thor from Arkansas to the West Coast and Washington Oregon and possibly Florida soon, possibly.

Yours Truely, “Dr” Dave Baker former U2 lighting guy from 1987 Joshua Tree Tour and now a former Amcor Flexibles IT for the South Central Region of the US!

One story I can tell about the road with U2, We used to have a rule on tour, “no shitting on the bus” even though it was equipped with a black water septic tabk system, and the other busdrivers would chip in to make sure all busses were regularly purged. All I can say is”hogwash, if ya gotta go, geter done and for those who suffer needlessly while on tour, get a grip! The driver probably knows how to have the blackvwater so you can use the can when your in his land, man, so why make everyone suffer because your sniffer thinks stink and inconveniences your beauty rest. Enough said g’night!

Top 3: Best RV Portable Waste Tanks For Black & Gray Dumping

Wednesday 29th of September 2021

[…] you are worried you may be breaking any laws, do a double-check with your local ordinances and restrictions. However, essentially, the gray and […]

Cyrus Juliet

Saturday 21st of August 2021

I need a refresher course on how to dump RV tanks at home. Thank you for taking the time to write this post. It is really beneficial to newcomers like me.


Thursday 29th of July 2021

At home with my son, we made a small technology that simplified the unloading of the tank. The main thing is never, never drain tanks with a septic tank into one container, because they are not intended for this !!! They'll just get hard! In general, I think it is worth contacting the services involved, they are not expensive, relatively by themselves, but still, even though you can save time, because during this time you can do more useful things!

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