Disposing of your waste tanks (aka grey and black tanks) is imperative unless you want to walk around in your own tinkle whenever you take a shower. The stuff has to go somewhere, after all, and it’s better to drain it, even if you don’t happen to be at a campground at the time. Since it has to go now, how to dump RV waste at home?
There are several ways to go about emptying your black and grey water tanks while you’re at the house. You can dump it directly into your septic system, use the good ole bucket method, purchase a macerator, or funnel it into the sewer line.
There are several ways to do it, however, keep in mind that if you are on the city’s water, you will need to contact your local/city/county water company. It’s going to be the same phone number to the same office that you pay your water bill with.
The last thing you want is to dump your waste without checking and then get hit with a $25,000 fine.
Is it safe to dump your RV waste at home?
One thing is for certain, dumping your waste at home is far more convenient for you than dumping it anywhere else. Part of the reason for that is that the process is on your time and on your terms.
That’s not to mention the fact that it certainly saves you some money. The unfortunate drawbacks are all loaded with potential but are far from certain. For instance, it may be illegal for you to dump in your septic or sewer line if everything is tied into the city water.
If it is, that doesn’t mean you can’t dump your tanks, just that the alternative methods are far more tedious and time-consuming. There is also a level of contamination that is undeniable. After all, handling your cheese from a loaf you baked over a week ago is nowhere near what would qualify as sanitary.
You will have to wear as much protective gear as you can muster, including eye and face protective coverings, and some good rubber gloves. If you’re forced to eliminate your waste via bucket or using a macerator, the potential for contamination increases.
Also, most septic or sewer lines that you tie into at your home are not going to perfectly match what you are used to finding at a campground. So you will have to get creative when it comes to keeping the flow going without spraying yourself and your neighbor’s down with your own, specially brewed fertilizer.
3 methods for dumping your RV waste at home
Fun stuff. Nothing is more exciting than figuring out ways to get the human equivalent of a pooper scooper up and running on your RV when you’re at the house. Fortunately, there are a few ways to do it so at least you have some level of choice in the matter:
- Dumping into the sewer line and/or septic tank
- Using a macerator
- Dumping into a bucket
Let’s take a closer look at each of the methods, shall we?
1. Dumping into the sewer line and/or septic tank
This is the fastest and most effective way to release the barbarians at the gate and get those little floaters down into the sewer line or the septic tank. Sewer lines and septic tanks have a connection point that’s known as a Cleanout.
This is where you will connect your waste line from the black and grey tanks. If this is your first rodeo, keep in mind that the cleanout is probably not going to be a perfect fit with your waste line, so feel free to be a little creative in making and maintaining a decent enough seal.
Also, always dump the black tank first, that way you can use the grey tank as a sort of washout, in case any of your truffles decide to cling to the inner walls of the line. The Cleanout is usually PVC and you can locate it because it will have a slick, round cap pointed either directly up or upwards at an angle.
- Don’t overflow the system
- Create as tight a seal as possible
- Dump the black tank first, followed by the grey
- Understand what your septic system can handle
- Take breaks, especially with larger RV tanks
Avoid overflow by ensuring that everyone inside the house does not flush the toilet, run the sinks, drain bathtubs, run dishwashers, showers, or run the washing machine. Just running one of those appliances while you are in the middle of dumping may be too much.
Remember to get a tight seal, as the waste discharge line isn’t likely to match up perfectly with the Cleanout since your home system wasn’t designed for RVs.
Know your septic system and how much it can handle. If necessary, get the advice of a professional. The larger the tanks the higher the probability that something can go wrong if you have no idea about your system.
When you are dumping very large black and grey tanks, take breaks along the way. Those tanks are dumping a whole lot more waste into the system than what you would get with a pop-up camper.
It’s also worth knowing that investing in a proper sewer hose will get you a long way.
2. Using a macerator
The most expensive method on this list is the macerator method, which involves mixing the tanks and dumping all at once, usually routed to your toilet, which you will have to flush periodically. A good macerator kit will run you around $150 to $300.
It’s pretty simple to use, though it seems more complicated:
- Take your black tank’s outlet hose and connect it to the input on the macerator
- Connect your long (toilet) hose to the macerator outlet
- Pull the hose into the house and to the toilet
- Discharge your black tank by turning on the outlet valve
- Turn on the macerator immediately after opening the discharge
3. Dumping into a bucket
People have been using buckets to transport water, construction material, crop yields, and waste for millennia and now you get to join the hallowed ranks of waste hauling individuals from ancient to modern history.
Make no bones about it, this is the most tedious and time-consuming method. All you are doing here is using a five-gallon bucket to empty your black tank (followed by the grey tank) to carry your kaka, ⅔ of a bucket at a time, to your toilet.
Some people advise filling most of the ⅔ volume with the black tank and then a little bit of greywater until the black tank is empty, then you finish out the grey tank. Others simply empty the black tank first, then run the grey tank.
This is where you want to be careful. Wear some good protective gear to cover your face and your hands from any exposure to raw sewage. You’re going to be doing a bit of walking back and forth between the tanks and your toilet, so do not trip.
Tripping and falling would be an absolute disaster and there’s no reason explaining why; you already know. If ⅔ of the bucket is too much, dial it down a little bit and only fill the bucket to ½.
Last but not least, you should only consider this method if you’re going to be dumping small tanks, such as what you might find in small RVs, pop-up campers, or even toy campers.
Pros & cons of dumping your RV tanks at home
Here’s an overview of the pros and cons of dumping your RV waste at home:
|Economical with no fees for dumping at home||It may be illegal to dump into the septic in your city|
|Convenient/dump when you want and how you want||Exposure to raw sewage|
|It’s the perfect answer for an Air bnb or guesthouse||The bucket method is not the best method for mid to large RVs|
|Plenty of options|
Now that all of the methodologies are covered, you might feel like you should have a very good reason for dumping your RV sewage at home, rather than doing so while you’re hooked up to some campground’s lines.
Unless you’re going with the bucket method, there’s a level of convenience to dumping your waste at home rather than the campground. That’s because everything is more convenient at home. You’re not hooking up to some dumping station 500 miles away and you’re on your own time and convenience.
It’s also nice if you happen to be using your RV as a guest house or Airbnb. With that kind of setup, you’ll need a routine method for dumping, and it’s convenient to have the Airbnb and waste disposal system right there.
It’s nice to be able to dump your raw sewage without having to pay the fees necessary at a dumping station as well. However, you do run the risk of being exposed to raw sewage, along with the concern over whether or not you have that seal absolutely perfect on the Cleanout.
Dumping your RV’s waste at home is both a convenient and economical method for getting the job done on your time. However, don’t mistake it for an easy job. The setup is different, even if you’re going directly into the Cleanout line and dumping it into the septic.
The most important thing, is that you can do it at home and the only question of illegality is the septic method. Aside from that, you’re good to go, so long as you take the necessary steps to keep yourself safe and not exposed to raw sewage.