Can I Dump RV Waste Tanks At Home?

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RVing has many pleasant sides to it, but there are a few less delightful things that you will need to deal with. One of them is dumping your RV waste.

As it is, dumping the RV waste isn’t the most difficult thing in the world. However, there is a limited number of spots where you could do this safely for the environment and without breaking the law.

What if one day you forgot to dump the RV waste during your journey or didn’t come across any dump stations along the way? Well, one option that would probably come to your mind first is to dump your RV waste at home.

Can you even do that though? And if you can, how should you do it? Let’s give answers to these and a couple of other questions.

Can I Dump RV Waste Tanks At Home?

The short answer to this question is yes, but there are many ifs and buts that you will need to consider. This will mainly depend on the waste, the equipment you have, and the accessibility of your sewage system or the septic tank.

Now, let’s overview all the options that you have for dumping your RV waste at home, considering the factors mentioned above.

Dumping RV waste at home

We want to talk about four options of dumping RV waste tanks at home: 

  • Via your septic tank if you live in a rural area and if there is a considerable solid component in the waste such as toilet paper.
  • Via the sewage system if you live in a city and if there again are many solids in the RV waste.
  • The bucket method if you have little waste with not too many solids and if you don’t have access to your sewage system.
  • The macerator method if the waste contains solids and if you don’t have access to your local sewage system.

This may sound a little bit confusing to you, but as we go on, things should start clearing up for you.

Septic tank

Septic sewage systems are used in rural areas where there are no centralized sewage systems like those in towns and cities. If you live in a village or in a smaller town, it is likely that your sewage system is a septic one.

Septic systems are underground structures that are designed to break down organic matter and then disperse wastewater. The water from your toilet or bathroom travels through pipes and end up in a septic tank. Along the way, there are baffles that block off elements like sludge, oil, grease, and solids. In the tank itself, there is an anaerobic bacterial environment that decomposes the waste in the tank.

As we mentioned above, if you live in a rural area and if the RV waste contains a lot of solids, you will have to dump your waste via the septic system. You should not attempt to dump the waste into your toilet since it can get easily clogged.

Dumping into a septic system can be done via a cleanout pipe which connects your house to the septic tank. It should be a PVC or metal pipe sticking out of the ground. Normally, it is used when the local septic tank maintenance tank company comes to do their cleaning services, which you may have noticed before.

With a proper fitting, you can easily attach the end of your RV sewer hose to the clean-out pipe and just leave it there. However, make sure to use a securely fitting seal to avoid messy situations.

If you cannot find the cleanout port or don’t have access to it, you will need to find your access port. This is not as good of an option since upon removing the lid, you will be exposed to the toxic fumes coming from the system. And unlike the cleanout port, you can’t leave your RV plugged to the access port due to the fumes.

Things to keep in mind

It’s important not to use any chemicals in your RV black tank before dumping the waste into the septic tank since this could kill the beneficial bacteria that decompose its contents.

Aside from that, always make sure that you are using the side of the baffle that is designed to collect solids. Usually, it is the one that is closest to the house.

Sewage system

If you live in a city, then your building will be connected to the city sewage system. With a city sewage system, things are pretty much identical to septic systems, but things can get much more complicated.

First of all, cleanout access ports in city sewage systems are usually buried below ground at a depth of about 4 inches. Due to this, you will have to find where the cleanout port is in order to dump your RV waste.

Not only that, but trying to access your house’s cleanout port may actually be illegal in your area. Before attempting to do anything, check whether you are allowed to access the cleanout port of your building.

If you are, then you will first need to locate the cleanout port, which is usually placed close around the perimeter of the house. Use a shovel to gently poke in the ground to find it. Typically, sewage lines run straight to the street where the city sewers connect to your house.

Once you find and unearth the access port, you connect your RV to it via your RV’s sewage hose just like you would do with a septic tank.

A thing to keep in mind here is that the access ports aren’t exposed to air, which can result in a buildup of toxic fumes. You may want to use a respirator or at least have someone with you when dumping your RV waste.

The bucket method

The bucket method is a relatively safe method that you may use if you have a small amount of wastewater in your RV tanks with little solids. Aside from that, you may use this method if you have no access to your local sewage system.

With this method, you essentially release your RV waste into a bucket, dump the stuff into the toilet, and flush it. You repeat this procedure until the waste tanks are empty.

This is a simple solution which can be pretty gross to implement. It shouldn’t be too bad if you have little wastewater in the tanks though. But regardless of how much waste there is, you should wear gloves while dumping the waste.

Macerator method

This is the most complicated method that you should only resort to if you have no other options. As we mentioned above, the macerator method is useful when:

  • You don’t have access to your local sewage system, whether because it is illegal or you can’t find the access port.
  • There is a lot of wastewater with a large number of solids in it.

The worst thing about this method is that you need equipment for it. Most importantly, you will need a macerator with a pump to blend the waste into a smoothie-like consistency that can be flushed easily.

In order to dump your RV waste with this method, follow these steps:

  • Connect the macerator to your RV waste outlet.
  • Connect the pump to the RV batteries to power it up.
  • Attach a garden hose to the macerator, for which you will probably need a CDFJ adapter.
  • Route the hose into the toilet in your home. For longer distances, use a thicker hose and a more powerful pump.
  • If you don’t have a hose, you may use a bucket to dump the waste into the toilet. This will be very inconvenient though, so you really should use a garden hose to speed up the process.
  • Open the waste release valve and turn on the macerator pump.
  • The waste will run from the waste tank into the macerator and then into the toilet with no actions from your side. You will just need to flush the toilet as needed.
  • Once no waste is left in the RV, run clean water through the system to clean it out. If you have a clear garden hose adaptor, it will be easy for you to check on the cleanness of the water in the process.
  • Once you are done, shut off the pump and disconnect everything.

Should you dump your RV waste at home?

An important question to consider is whether you should go to great lengths to dump your RV waste at home. We’d say that you should always opt for dump stations at the campground or RV park you are staying in, gas stations, sporting goods stores, or wastewater treatment plants. 

These not always have dump stations, and using them isn’t always free of charge if they do, but we think that paying a small fee is better and more reasonable than having to deal with the risks and inconvenience of dumping your waste at home.

In cases where you are unable to find a dump station along your route, it’s alright if you dump the RV waste at home. However, we’d actually recommend you to find out whether you have access to your local sewage system and whether it is legal to dump your waste into it before your trip. This way, you’d be able to avoid unpleasant surprises.

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