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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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  1. Bob G says:

    We built a simple system that we call “The Pooperator.” It consists of a macerator, a long garden hose (dedicated to the system), and a sewer cleanout cap. We drilled a hole in the center of the cap and installed a 90-degree brass hose connector. The septic cleanout is about 50 feet from the driveway. Works well!

  2. Kenneth Potts says:

    Whomever wrote this article knows nothing about how sewer and septic tanks work. Everything works on gravity. Usually your house line is 4″. You’re not going to overload the tank, because the outlet line is lower than the inlet line. And there is no difference in sewer lines.

  3. Steven Dallas says:

    NEVER, NEVER, NEVER dump your RV tanks into your septic tank! They are not designed to take that amount of solid waste or water all at once. You will end up with solid waste in your drain field and thousands of dollars to unclog or replace it. This article needs to be amended or removed!

  4. Todd says:

    @Kenneth Potts, that’s not a nice thing to say, and it’s not true! They obviously know more than you do! Septic tanks are very different from sewer lines. The issue isn’t clogging the 4” pipe, or getting it to flow downhill, it’s putting too much sewage into the tank too fast. If yours is designed too small, there will be major major major problems, in the tank, and possibly even in the leach field.

  5. D.Fry says:

    The dump at home process for our RV class A 42ft tag 1 1/2 bath has become much easier by using a water based adaptor Sewer Master and PVC pipe. The connection to the clean out is 60 ft from the driveway down a 3-4 ft incline from rv pad to sewer.
    The unit works by a valve creating the out flowing water and tank contents. Basically creates a vortex. With 2 black tanks and 1 Grey tank it was an expensive trip to a location to dump. If we have guests that are visiting, they love to stay in the RV. This gives us a guest house. During the covid lock down we lived in the RV, and isolated from daughter and grandkids.
    Yes, we have toilets with maceration in them. However the Sewer Master water flow creates a liquid to transfer into the sewer. Using the right correct tp, no flushable cloths is important and no chemicals that pollute.
    Quick connects on the unit make it clean, dry, and easy. Sanitary issues, and the ordor can be tamed by using dishwasher granular detergent 1 cup in the toilet before and after dumping.
    We use the “slinkie” when away from home to not take advantage of a parks water supply.
    This process plus the tank washout uses about as much water as 2 showers. 20 gallons
    The unit is Worth the $100. Purchase price.
    Lastly, if you have a Surflo Sewer Master and need repair parts, they are available now online.

  6. Jeff says:

    When I had my garage built, I had them install a sewer access in my pad, along with 30 amp power & water. When I went to the city planner & told him about my plan to have a sewer access, he said, “Don’t tell me about that.” And then he signed off on the approval. Not sure what the big deal was. My wife & I either use are apartment toilet or dump our black tank from the trailer. I can’t see what the difference would be. Happy Trails!

  7. keebler says:

    my city house only has 1 bathroom and has a 500 gallon septic tank. last cleanout Septic guy said no problem but use a maccerator -helps grind up poo & paper. (wont)hurt your system, my motorhome has a 40 gallon tank. NO problem i have the septic tank cleaned every 3 years.houses with 2 bathrooms would require a 1,000 gallon tank.

  8. Mark J. says:

    We had a broken down rv and no access to a dump. I did not want take full sitting I. 100 + Temps for a Long time. I paid 200 to have a septic system vacuum out my system. He turned on te vacuum and the put the two hoses together worked with only a couple drops spilling in the dirt. Worked but very expensive.

  9. Mark J. says:

    We had a broken down rv and no access to a dump. I did not want the tank full sitting in 100 + Temps for a Long time. I paid 200 to have a septic system vacuum out my system. He turned on te vacuum and the put the two hoses together worked with only a couple drops spilling in the dirt. Worked but very expensive.

  10. Jason says:

    Proofread before posting please.

  11. Jimmy A says:

    There is a threaded adapter that connects securely to 3″ and 4″ DWV fittings that are common in campgrounds and cleanouts, and a rubber adapter for unthreaded and damaged threads. These are available from places like Camco and Rhino. No RV’er should be without them. I can get my trailer with 20′ of my cleanouts, and my sewer authority says it’s OK, so it works out nicely.

  12. Chris Cash says:

    Wrong I live in Ohio. I just had a new septic system put in. I wanted to have a line to hook to hook up to my RV. The septic installer told me it is illegal. A septic system is not designed to handle the larg quantity of waist all at once from holding tanks.

  13. Kathy S says:

    We had a contractor put an rv dump connection on our septic tank. We love being able to dump at home and use as much water to flush out the tanks and as much time as we want to take to do it.

  14. Tony says:

    I’ve been dumping at my house with a Septic system for 30 + years. Even if I was on City Sewer I wouldn’t feel the need to ask the City. At present house I use a “Sewer Solution “ and push through 80’ of 1” PVC to reach my clean out. Previous house I did a addition to house and included a Dump Station. Using either one I never experienced no trouble/overflow/overloading ever.

  15. Eric says:

    Why do city people feel the need to get permission for everything they do? Must be like living with your parents. Weirdoes.

  16. Vern says:

    What have we become? Endentured slaves, it’s my home I will not ask any so called government for permission to do anything on my own property! Start acting like Americans not a bunch a limp whisted pussys..

  17. Brian Kratzer says:

    Dumping via a cleanout is easier and safer if you make an adapter, depending on your style(threaded vs slip-fit cap)that would ensure a tight connection. Pouring a sealed, concrete apron/flange, or recessing one with proper drain fitting and cap, would insure the safest method. If using a garden hose connected to the house, make sure it has a vacuum-break spigot and that you use a specifically colored hose(red/yellow)that doesn’t match any others, and/or is always kept with the RV, for safety and sanitation.