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DEBATE: Is It OK to Dump RV Black Water on the Ground?

There are some things we really wish we didn’t have to tell people not to do. Dumping your RV black water somewhere you shouldn’t is one of those things.

But if you’re new to RVing, you probably have some genuine questions and concerns about black water dumping.

Let’s get straight to the point.

No. Not only is it illegal to dump RV black water on the ground, but it is disgusting and terrible for the environment.

Think about what goes into your black water tank, after all. Dumping your black water on the ground will cause a whole host of problems.

Can You Dump Black Water in Streams or Drains? 

No. Please, please, please, do NOT dump black water (or grey water, or anything!) into streams or drains. Again, dumping your RV black water into a stream has significant environmental impacts.

Animals and people depending on clean, freshwater sources to survive. And if you dump your black water into these sources, others could get seriously sick.

After all, everyone who has ever camped for more than a day has probably drunk water from a nearby stream. Even though you use a camping filter, it really isn’t designed to take on that kind of task. And water travels long distances.

So even sites far from where you dump might feel the impact.

You may have noticed in some places, they don’t even allow dogs hiking. These areas are often the watershed, which means the water directly supports everyone living nearby.

The city doesn’t want to risk dog waste contaminating the water. So, you can sure bet they won’t be happy with RV black water dumping.

Where to Dump RV Black Water?

So where can you dump your black water, anyway?

If you are staying at an RV park with full hookups, you have easy access to the sewer right there.

If you are boondocking, there are still places to safely and legally dump your RV black water tank. These approved dump stations are the ONLY places you should EVER dump your black water.

Here’e a list of places to dump your RV black water.

Why Black Water is Harmful to the Environment?

Human waste is toxic to many other living organisms, including aquatic species (and other people). Black water can lead to explosive growth of toxic algae.

Algae feeds on this type of waste and can cause significant health concerns in animals and people. If humans or animals are exposed, it can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even liver failure or death.

RV black water also pollutes freshwater. This can cause far-reaching implications for everything and everyone exposed to this water. Even if you don’t dump your black water in a body of water, it can get there through runoff.

Another reason black water is harmful to the environment is what else can be mixed in.

If someone in your home is taking medications, these may end up in your black water. Dumping in unapproved locations damages the ecosystem and can make both humans and animals sick.

Finally, with long-term exposure to black water, people can develop lasting, sometimes fatal illness. The same goes for animals. In short, black water kills the environment. Don’t be the one responsible for that kind of destruction.

Pro Tip: Unlike black water, RV grey water has different legal implications.

How to Avoid Having To Dump Black Water?

If you don’t want to deal with dumping your black water tanks or finding a dump station, you have another option. You can get a composting toilet.

These toilets have no water mixed with solid waste, which prevents things from turning to sewage. When you add organic material, your waste breaks down naturally and safely.

Here’s the stinky truth of RV composting toilets.

Protect The Environment – Find a Dump Station

No one enjoys dealing with the black water tank. But there is a right way and a wrong way to handle the task. Please do your part to protect the environment.

Find a dump station and NEVER dump your waste anywhere else. The earth and your fellow humans will thank you.

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  1. Carlo Frazzano says:

    I look forward to reading your articles and find them informative and current. This is much appreciated and I have learned from your due diligence on specific issues of universal interest.

    With kindest regards,

    Carlo G. Frazzano