For new RVers, the anticipation of taking your first trip to the dump station can be like first day of school jitters meets colonoscopy. You may be anxious because you’ve never emptied your tanks before. You may be nervous that everyone else is watching, or worried that you’ll miss a step in the process and create a black-water disaster.
There’s no reason to ruin a perfectly good vacation with a dump station epic fail…or simply the anticipation of a disaster. We’ll cover what you need to know to survive your trips to the RV dump station so you can end every camping trip on a good note and with empty tanks. Then, the only tales of harrowing adventure will be those that happen while hiking, fishing, swimming, and the like during your camping trips.
The first thing you need to know is that using an RV dump station requires some equipment. To state the obvious, you will need hoses and connectors. Be sure that they are in good condition – free of cracks or other damage. You will also want to be sure to have gloves. If you do happen to experience a leak or a spill, gloves can save you from coming into contact with the tanks’ contents.
In addition to hoses, a clear sewer adapter – if you don’t already have one – is a worthwhile investment. These adapters take the guesswork out of emptying your tanks since you’ll be able to see when you are done emptying. Clear adapters eliminate the possibility that you’d ever stop and disconnect too early – averting potential disaster.
Finally, antibacterial hand wash is important, as well as disinfectant wipes for your equipment. Even with gloves, you’ll want to make sure that your hands are thoroughly clean; and wiping down the hoses and surrounding area will reduce contamination. You’ll thank yourself not only on your first trip, but each and every time you camp and make a trip to the RV dump station!
Triple Check Connections
While it may make a great gag scene in a movie, in reality a loose connection at the RV dump station is a scene that will just make you gag. Spraying, squirting or oozing wastewater is no laughing matter. Since there’s almost nothing worse than the disaster that can result from a loose connection, you’ll always want to double and triple check to make sure the connections are secure.
This also means that before you hook up, examine all of the valves and connectors carefully for signs of deterioration. Eventually you will need to replace some of these parts to prevent leaks because over the years they will break down or wear out. You never want to use a damaged hose or connector (refer to gag scene above!), so if they weren’t stored properly or if you question the integrity of a hose or connector upon inspection, it’s better to wait and replace it prior to emptying at an RV dump station.
Empty Your Black Tank First
So, you’ve confirmed all your hoses, valves and connectors are in good condition. The first step is flushing out your black tank. This is the best way to clear your RV water tanks – get rid of the worst first. The black tank holds only the sewage from your RV’s toilet – the stinky stuff. Once the black tank is emptied, flush it with clear water, then move on to your gray tank.
The gray water tank holds the water from your sinks and shower. This means it is less likely to carry pathogens associated with illnesses. It also likely contains dish soap and shampoo that has been rinsed down the drain and will help clear away remnants from the black water tank. This is helpful for you and for others who will need to use the RV dump station after you!
Store Equipment Properly
When you have completed your business at the RV dump station, take care to store your hoses safely where they will avoid being damaged from weather or other factors. Don’t let a false sense of security sneak in…even heavy duty hoses can form leaks or break entirely due to poor care. Heavy duty does not mean indestructible!
Also, it is imperative to make sure that you keep your black tank hoses separate from any other gear. Never let it come into contact with hoses for other water – especially drinking water! Keep them far, far away from each other!
Post-Dump Station Maintenance
After you’ve cleared your tanks, there’s one last step that experienced RV techs recommend. Refill your black tank to about one-quarter with clean water. Don’t forget to add toilet chemicals! These combined efforts will help prevent solid waste from building on the bottom surface of the tank. More importantly, it can go a long way to reducing foul odors!
RV Dump Station Etiquette
Only Dump the Contents of Your Tanks
There may not be a list of rules at every RV dump station. But that doesn’t mean that standard rules of RV dump stations don’t apply. One common-sense standard for any RV dump station: dumping items other than what’s in your tank is a big No-No.
Just because the word “dump” is in the name does not mean that you can dispose of diapers, feminine hygiene products, cotton balls or swabs, baby wipes, etc. Those items belong in a trash can, not in the dump station. Your black water tank should only contain your solid and liquid waste. Septic-safe toilet paper, a biodegradable enzymatic product, and water are the only other things that should be in there.
When you discard any other items in the RV dump station, it ruins the facility for everyone. Dump stations are provided for convenience and sanitation, not for abuse. Abuse has prompted many public buildings from offering free dump stations. Don’t contribute to this problem!
Don’t Hog the Station
Oftentimes, an RV dump station is needed by other RVers. If this is the case, continue to be a good neighbor and don’t lollygag. Do your business quickly but safely then move along so others can empty their tanks as well. If you have extra cleaning steps that don’t require the dump station directly, move to another location to handle them.
No one wants to pull up to a dump station only to find that the previous user had faulty equipment or didn’t take the time to clean up if they had a leak. Leaving a mess behind at an RV dump station isn’t just poor etiquette, it’s unsanitary and could pose a danger to others, especially children. It’s your responsibility to the RV community to be careful with your waste water and clean up after yourself.
Finding RV Dump Stations
There are times when the hardest part of using RV dump stations is finding them! RV parks and campgrounds often have RV dump station access; although many aren’t free and sometimes they’re too busy or inaccessible. If you run into a situation like this, you can refer to websites like Sanidumps.com or RVDumps.com to help locate RV dump stations nearby. Thanks to the internet, it’s a lot easier to find good dump stations.
The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for you and your family. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (866) 640-9871
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