Just yesterday as we arrived at the dump station after a 4-day camping trip, a little [email protected] trailer couple was in front of us.  Since this station only has one spot for dumping, we politely waited and gathered our supplies in order to be as ready as possible when our turn came.  The driver got out his sewer hose, hooked it up to the black and gray water disposal pipe on his camper, and positioned the other end of the hose at the sewer hole.  He opened the black tank valve and THEN remembered that his sewer hose was capped at the other end! So now, his hose was filled with waste from his black tank and the potential for disaster was high.  He raised up the end of the hose, removed the cap carefully, and then slowly, slowly lowered the hose back down until he could quickly position the now open end over the sewer hole. Phew! That could’ve been nasty.  So below we’ve outlined a few tips for using the RV dump station to help you avoid similar disasters!

Practice makes perfect!

First, before you ever drive up to your first dump station, do a “dry” run, literally.  At home, put on your latex gloves (yes, we do recommend you wear gloves when emptying the tanks) and take out your sewer hose.  Hook it up to your trailer, making sure you can tell when it’s securely attached. If you have a black tank flush maybe even run some water through there to rinse it out. This way you’ll be able to then open the black tank valve and get in a little more practice.

More tips for using the RV dump station:

  • Items to have on hand: latex gloves, your sewer hose, a hose specifically for rinsing the black tank, a plastic storage box or bag to keep these items in.
  • Make sure to pull in on the correct side of the dump station.  Most have 2 sewer access points so that drivers can pull up on both sides of the dump station. But remember, it’s sort of like a gas station – everything is on ONE side of your camper. So, don’t accidentally pull in on the wrong side and then be in the awkward position of having to turn around and come in again.
  • If you’ve purchased a used RV, check the sewer hose to make sure it doesn’t have any cracks or leaks in it.
  • Close all valves before you even set off on your camping trip. If you’ve left a valve open, then as soon as you take the cap off the drain pipe on your RV you’re going to get covered in…well…nothing pretty.
  • Check to make sure your sewer pipe doesn’t have a cap on the end going into the sewer drain.  If it does, make sure you take this off before you open any valves on the trailer.
  • Get close enough to the sewer drain so that your sewer hose isn’t stretched to its maximum capabilities. If you stretch it too far and then open the valve, the pressure can cause the hose to disconnect from your drain pipe causing a big mess.
  • Open the black tank valve first, and go slow.  Don’t yank it open until you know how fast the flow is going to go into the sewer drain.  Some drain faster than others, and if you put too much pressure into the hose at first and the drain can’t handle it, you’ll again have a big mess.
  • Read all the signs at the dump station.  Know which water is potable in case you need to fill up again (with your clean water hose) and which is non-potable and suitable for black tank flushes or rinsing the area around the drain hole after you’re done.
  • Take your time and walk through each step slowly. Don’t get in a rush because that’s when something will go wrong! If you’re unsure, there’s no harm in asking a fellow RVer for advice.  They’re very nice and always willing to help!