What Kind Of Septic Tank Does A Camper Need?

A recreational vehicle (RV) usually comes with two kinds of RV septic tanks: a black water tank and a grey water tank. The gray water tank collects the wastewater from your RV sinks and shower. The tank is referred to as a gray water tank because the soap from the sink and the shower gives the water a grayish look.

  • RV septic systems range from simple to intricate but they often share specific components. Most RVs have at least the following. Gray water tank – this tank holds the liquids from your sink and shower.

How big of a septic tank do I need for a camper?

The size of the tank changes with the size of the RV. However, they’re often more accomodating than most people expect. In a small RV, you can expect at least 15 gallons for the black water and a gray water tank of 30 gallons. A larger RV might easily have tanks as large as 50 gallons each.

Can a camper be connected to a septic tank?

Many people who have an RV and a septic tank wonder if they can use the two together. The RV is the perfect place to allow visitors to stay while having their own space. The short answer is that yes, it is possible to connect your RV into your septic tank, but you need to make sure that you do it correctly.

What size septic tank do I need for a mobile home?

The size of the tank is usually determined by the number of bedrooms in the house and the number of occupants. The more bedrooms and occupants, the bigger the tank. A common size for three bedrooms is a 1,000-gallon tank; this is a minimum, however. Your local county may have different criteria.

Is there holding tanks for sewage for a camper?

As mentioned above, there’s not (usually) just one holding tank for your RV — there are actually three separate holding tanks. Two are for wastewater, and one is for fresh, giving you a supply of water to use for your kitchen and bathroom sinks as well as your onboard shower taps.

Are RV toilet chemicals safe for septic tanks?

Camco TST Clean Scent RV Toilet Treatment, Formaldehyde Free, Breaks Down Waste And Tissue, Septic Tank Safe, Treats up to 8 – 40 Gallon Holding Tanks (32 Ounce Bottle) – 41502, TST Blue.

Can I dump my RV black water into my septic tank?

In summary, yes you can dump RV waste water into house septic systems. Don’t use chemicals in your black water tank that may destroy your tank’s natural ecosystem. When dumping from an access port, try to make sure you’re on the correct side of the baffle.

Can you dump black water on the ground?

Black water should never, under any circumstances, be dumped on the open ground. Not only is it illegal, but it is unethical and environmentally irresponsible.

How do I know what size septic tank I need?

The larger your home, the larger the septic tank you’re going to need. For instance, a house smaller than 1,500 square feet usually requires a 750 to 1,000-gallon tank. On the other hand, a bigger home of approximately 2,500 square feet will need a bigger tank, more than the 1,000-gallon range.

Can you connect a mobile home to a septic tank?

Many mobile homes are located in rural areas where there are no municipal sewer systems. Mobile residences must use an individual sewer system otherwise known as a septic system. These systems use a septic tank and drain lines to process and remove the waste materials from the home.

Can you pee in an RV shower?

In general, you should not pee in the RV shower. The water from the shower goes straight to your gray water tank, and urine should go to the black water tank. However, sometimes urine ends up in the greywater tank.

How do you get rid of the poop pyramid in RV black?

To eliminate a poop pyramid, you need to get water into your black tank. The first thing you should do is close the black tank valve and get as much water into the black tank as possible. If the poop pyramid prohibits you from putting water into the tank, get some tank cleaner to pour down into the sewer drain.

How long can black water stay in RV tank?

How long can you leave waste in a black tank? Our research shows that most camping experts maintain that you can safely leave black water in the tank for up to ten days. Most, however, state that you should empty it out after no more than a week.

Everything You Need To Know About Your RV Holding Tanks And How To Manage Them

Kelly Beasley contributed to this article. Date of publication: January 5, 2020 The most recent update was made on December 22, 2021. A recreational vehicle (RV) is simply a mobile home. Whether it’s a travel trailer or a motorhome, it’s likely to include everything you need for a home away from home, from sinks with running water to a furnace to electricity, which may be supplied by batteries or a generator. It comes with RV holding tanks to keep the water and waste you send down the drain if the RV has a kitchen sink, a shower, and/or a normal toilet, among other features.


Some individuals choose to camp on public lands or in regions or campsites that do not provide utilities such as water, electricity, or a sewage hole for dumping, while others prefer to camp in private land.

Freshwater tanks, black water tanks, and gray water tanks are all included.

Fortunately, our civilization forbids the dumping of sewage or other contaminated water just about anyplace, especially on our valuable and endangered public lands and waterways.

Fresh RV Waste Holding Tank

For dry camping (i.e., when you are not linked to utilities), the fresh water tank comes in handy. Because you will not be linked to a water source when camping, you will need to bring your own fresh water supply with you when you go. Water tanks for campers are not available in any conventional size. Instead, the volume of your water tank might range anywhere from 10 gallons to more than 100 gallons. As a result of this, the fresh water tank in your RV is often the largest of all of your holding tanks.

These can be found in petrol stations, dump stations, campers, and other similar establishments, among other places.

Is It Ok To Travel With My Water Tank Full?

It is OK to travel with your fresh water tank completely filled. RVs are built to withstand the weight of a fully loaded water tank while traveling. Otherwise, what would be the point of owning a recreational vehicle? Many sites do not supply water, so you will need to bring your own. However, make sure you are aware of the true weight of your RV when it is completely loaded.

Do not exceed the maximum weight that the manufacturer has specified. If you are extremely near to the maximum weight, you may find yourself over the limit when you fill your water tank. It is preferable not to be near at all if you want to get maximum driving or hauling performance.

Grey Water Waste Tank

Following that, your RV is likely equipped with a separate grey water tank. After fresh water has been used in the sink or shower, it runs down into your grey camper waste holding tank, where it is retained until you are ready to dispose of it. Everything but sewage is contained within this camper waste tank. Having said that, some extremely compact recreational vehicles do not have a grey waste tank. They only have a portable sewage tank in their RV. In this situation, the water from the sinks and showers is sent to the black tank for disposal.

This means that it’s filthy and smelly.

Black Water RV Holding Tank

The black water tank is the most noxious and frightening of the three types of RV holding tanks available. It has the ability to instill fear of God in even the most powerful muscle truck driver in the world. Having a black water tank spill at the dump station is something that no RV owner in their right mind wants to happen. I had a tiny accident right here! Why? Because your RV’s black water tank also serves as its sewage tank! When you produce waste, it is sent through the facilities and into the trailer sewage system.

It’s simply awful, yet it’s a necessary evil that must be endured.

The grey RV wastewater tank is waiting for you when you arrive at the dump station.

How Does A Camper Septic System Work?

A camper septic system works by simply functioning as a holding tank for the sewage generated by your camper or RV. It is not the same as a SEPTIC TANK that operates in a home. There are no leach fields, no breaking down required (at least not in the traditional sense), and none of that with an RV septic system. It will store your sewage until you can dispose of it. That’s all there is to it! You go to the bathroom and flush the toilet. The water, as well as your contributions, are channeled via a tube and into your tank, which may be any size.

When you dump the waste water from your RV, it remains in the trailer holding tank until you open the associated RV waste valve.

How Big Are RV Septic Tanks?

RV septic tanks will be available in a variety of different sizes. The capacity of a typical RV holding tank will range from 10 gallons to more than 100 gallons. In general, the larger the recreational vehicle (RV), the larger the septic system for RV. Because travel trailers are often smaller in size than motorhomes, the holding tanks in travel trailers will typically be smaller than those in motorhomes. Aside from that, RVs are often designed to transport bigger loads. (Full holding tanks for recreational vehicle use are quite hefty!)

How To Dump Your RV Holding Tanks

Dumping your RV’s holding tanks is a straightforward procedure, albeit it might be intimidating the first few times. Locate a garbage disposal facility. Place your vehicle such that the holding tank outlet is close to the sewage hole. Connect your sewer hose to your RV’s sewer hole as well as the sewer hose fitting. To begin, open the black valve on your camper’s sewage tank. Close the valve on the black water tank after you’re finished. Now is the time to turn on your gray water valve. The valves are often labeled in black or gray to ensure that you don’t make a clerical error.

After the waste tanks in the camper have been drained, remove the RV end of the hose and thoroughly clean it with the city’s water supply.

After allowing the majority of the water to drain out, remove the end of the sewage hose and store it somewhere safe. Once you’ve completed your work at the dump station, double-check that you’ve closed both valves.

How Often Should An RV Septic Tank Be Emptied?

The frequency with which an RV septic tank should be emptied has everything to do with the tank capacity and the number of people that are using them, as well as how cautious you are with your water consumption. Showering frequency and duration are important factors in deciding how long you will be able to go without emptying your camper sewage holding tank before it has to be emptied. The shower is by far the most significant single source of waste water entering your camper’s waste water tank.

Some individuals must empty their RV wastewater holding tanks once a week, while others must empty them more regularly.

How Do I Clean My RV Holding Tank?

In order to clean your RV holding tank, you must first choose which RV dump tank you want to make sure is thoroughly cleaned. The black RV sewage holding tank is the most difficult to clean, while the fresh water holding tank is the most important to maintain (since you often drink the water from this tank). Your RV’s sewage tanks require very little care and maintenance during their lifetime. The fresh water tank is most likely the most in need. We’ll return to the fresh water tanks down below later.

Let’s start with the component of the RV septic system that contains the black tank.

Learn more about what to do with this waste holding tank as you continue reading this article.

Black Tank Maintenance

Clogging is the most serious problem that may arise with your RV’s septic tank. This is the last thing you want to happen. It is possible for your tanks to become clogged in one of three ways:

  1. There is an excessive amount of toilet paper and not enough water. Using toilet paper that is not septic-friendly
  2. The unintentional construction of a “poop pyramid” in your RV’s poop tank

All of these problems with RV waste tanks are largely preventable. We all have to go to the bathroom! Just make sure to stay away from the poop pyramid in your black tank!

How To Avoid Black Tank Clogs

Secret1: First and foremost, we strongly advise against flushing your toilet paper into the toilet. If you follow these instructions, you will never have an RV septic tank blockage. Secret2: Don’t like the sound of that concept? Then you should never use toilet paper that is not septic-safe. Alternatively, shred whatever you have before using it. Even dividing a single line of toilet paper into three smaller ones can assist. The third and last secret is to never leave your black tank waste valve unlocked while your campground is connected to a sewage system.

Solids are left behind, and they will congregate in the areas where they have landed. This is referred to as a ‘poop pyramid’ in the industry. It is inevitable that your camper septic tank may become clogged with poop pyramids.

What Can I Put In My RV Septic Tank?

Three things can be disposed of in your RV’s septic tank (which holds black water from the toilet): Poop, urine, and septic-safe toilet paper are all on the menu. Putting anything else down the toilet is not a good idea, including tampons, baby wipes, diapers, and so on. The gray RV waste water tanks will store everything you flush down the toilet or drain from the shower or sinks. You should avoid allowing food waste to enter your RV’s waste water holding tanks and use ecologically friendly cleaners while cleaning your RV waste water holding tanks (soaps, shampoo, etc.).

Grey Tank Maintenance

You shouldn’t have to do much maintenance on your grey camper dump tank. The worst that may happen is that it develops a leak or falls out from underneath your recreational vehicle. This, however, is an extremely unusual occurrence. (It HAS occurred in the past!) Hopefully, the worst thing that occurs to your tanks is that they emit a nasty smell. Keep in mind that these tanks, as well as the pipes that lead to them, function in the same way that your home’s plumbing do. The ‘P’ traps in your RV sinks are designed to contain water, preventing the odours from entering your RV from the grey tank.

It’s possible that there has been a build-up of junk in there that has to be removed.

The only thing I’ve had to do with my gray tank in the 5.5 years that I’ve been full-time RVing is clean out the ‘P’ traps once or twice.

Fresh Water Tank Maintenance

For the most part, this tank maintains a somewhat clean environment. This is especially true if you use a filter every time you fill your tank. If you want to clean and disinfect this camper tank, there are a few things you may do.

See also:  What Happens If Septic Tank Plugged? (Correct answer)

Can I Put Bleach In My Holding Tank?

The answer is yes, you may use bleach in your RV’s fresh water holding tank. As a matter of fact, this method of cleaning (sterilizing) the holding tank is the most recommended. However, you must completely clean it out before using any of the water! When sterilizing water, a basic rule of thumb is to use 1/4 cup bleach for every 15 gallons of water that is being sterilized. You’ll never be able to completely clean the inside of your aquarium tank. There are, however, treatments available on the market that are meant to sanitize the fresh tank as well as the pipelines going from the water camper holding tank.

If you use the same hose that you use to rinse out your sewer hose, you can assume that it will pollute your drinking water.

How Do I Check The Water Level In My RV Tank?

Using the tank monitor panel, you can simply check the water level in your fresh water RV tank without having to open the tank. It is probable that your RV comes equipped with a monitoring panel that allows you to keep track of the levels in all of your holding tanks. By pressing a button, you will be able to determine approximately how much water you have. Depending on the monitor panel, the measurements will be made in thirds (empty, 1/3, 2/3, full) or quarters (empty, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, full), as shown in the diagram.

The camper waste water tanks will also include buttons that will allow you to check the level of the tanks.

When it comes to holding tanks for campers, the fresh water level reading is usually the only one that is accurate after a certain length of time has passed.

Unless, of course, you have the sort of device that reads in percentages, which employs a different sensor technology that does not become clogged as easily as the cheaper (and more often found) sensors. An example of a common tank monitoring panel.

How Do You Deodorize An RV Holding Tank?

An RV holding tank treatment is required in order to deodorize an RV holding tank. Yes, the scent of a camper toilet may emanate from your black RV tank. In my opinion, this is less than ideal. The majority of the time, this occurs while your rig is operating in extremely hot conditions. When I was in Florida during the summer, the only time I required a black tank treatment was when I was there. The heat has a tendency to make a travel trailer’s waste tank smell a little foul. If this occurs to you as an RV owner, you might consider purchasing one of a few items.

Tank Techs RX or Happy Camper RV tank treatment are two options for treating your RV tanks that we recommend.

Tank Techs RX, in particular, can maintain everything clear so that the sensors on your camper waste tanks do not become covered by Struvites over time.

These solutions, which are put in the grey tank, help to eliminate smells from any septic system in a motorhome or trailer.

Do I Need An RV External Holding Tank?

In most cases, you will only require an RV external holding tank (also known as an RV portable waste tank) if you will need to dump at a distant dump station before you will be moving your RV. There are a variety of brands available, some of which are superior than others. (See the RV portable waste tank reviews for more information.) It is possible to dump into an external tank and then carry that tank to a proper RV sewage system disposal with these portable waste tanks. In my 5.5 years of full-time travel, I’ve never had to use one, but if you’re going to be stationary for long periods of time, it would be beneficial to have an external camping waste tank.


There are a few important things to understand about RV holding tanks if you want to utilize them without having any problems. Mostly, you should follow the guidelines for your black tank to avoid clogging it, and you should sanitize your fresh water tank on a regular basis to prevent it from being contaminated. Storage tanks for travel trailers and RVs must be emptied as soon as they reach their maximum capacity or are almost full. You can do this at any dump station or other garbage facility that has been permitted.

  1. Don’t be afraid to get out there and start putting yours to use right away.
  2. Did you take away anything from this article?
  3. Learn more about the fundamentals of RVing.
  4. He-llllo.
  5. I absolutely adore the RVing lifestyle, however I will be converting to a part-time RV lifestyle in December of 2020.
  6. Boondocking is a fantastic way to live, but it is not without its challenges.
  7. I also enjoy a nice dance party when the mood strikes me.

My current activities include plotting and strategizing over whether or not to begin collecting farm animals (or planning my next RV vacation!) at my gorgeous new ‘ranch’ titled ‘Hotel Kellyfornia,’ which is located in Southern Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Other Articles That You Should Check Out

A Beginner’s Guide to RV Holding Tanks

Please be aware that this content may contain affiliate links for your convenience. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of our links, we will get a small compensation at no additional cost to you. This cash allows us to keep this blog and its free material up and running for you all! When you move from a traditional home to a recreational vehicle, you become acutely aware of your water, electricity, and sewage use. For first-time campers, we’ve put together this fast and easy beginner’s introduction to RV holding tanks, which we hope will clear up some of the confussion.

  • To begin, there are three varieties of water: fresh, gray, and black.
  • Fresh water is defined as water that is pure and safe to consume.
  • The sewage from the toilet is contained in black water.
  • Fresh|Gray|Black|Emptying|Cleaning|Storage A normal garden hose may be used to connect a campground spigot to your city water connection or to the fresh water tank on the side of your RV.
  • When we arrived to a couple of state parks where the water and power hookups were at different ends of the campsite, we realized we had made the wrong decision in purchasing the 25-footer.
  • This Zero G flex hose with a length of 50 feet is an excellent choice.
  • Protect your hoses and pipes from damage caused by high-pressure city water with a water pressure regulator that connects to the spigot.

Gray water

Water from sink and tub/shower drains may include food particles and other microorganisms that are harmful to human health. As much residue as possible from dirty dishes is caught in the sink drains, in an effort to maintain the sink drains as clean as possible. Dishes are scraped thoroughly, and the drain trap is used to capture the majority of the remaining particles that might cause blockages in the future. Some RVers, on the other hand, are far less cautious. The RV has two holding tanks, one for gray water and the other for black water, both of which are accessible from the bottom of the vehicle.

It is possible to quietly (and legally) remove small volumes of gray water directly on the ground when camping or boondocking in rural places, depending on where you are camping or boondocking in remote locations.

Please bear on mind that we leave the gray tank open until a couple of days before we are due to leave a campsite. For more information, continue reading. Although it may seem unpleasant, dealing with septic tanks is not as as unpleasant as it may appear at first glance.

how often to empty RV holding tanks

The frequency with which you must empty your black tank will vary depending on how frequently you use it. For us, it usually comes down to 1-2 times a week. Several RVs are fitted with digital sensors that may be used to monitor the levels of water in your freshwater, graywater, and blackwater tanks, among other things. Unfortunately, you can’t always rely on them since the black water contents of the tanks frequently become trapped on the edge of the tanks, causing the sensors to malfunction.

how to prevent rv septic clogs

Make Use of Enough Water To assist avoid toilet clogs, make sure that the toilet bowl has a proper quantity of water before flushing it. It also doesn’t hurt to be frugal with your toilet paper usage. Make use of Liquid Fabric Softener. We use the tank rinser every time we empty the black tank on the day we leave the campsite, which is about once a week. Beyond that, we periodically pour a tiny quantity of liquid fabric softener into our tank through the toilet, which makes the contents of our tank more slippery, which helps to remove any contents that become caught on the edges of the black tank.

Take Advantage of the Movement of Travel Days to Your Advantage Before leaving, you may add some water to the black tank and let it to splash around inside the tank, breaking up any solid waste that has become lodged.

STORing your rv septic supplies

We keep all of the sewage materials (hoses, fittings, tank rinser and backfill hose, and so on) in a storage container in one of the compartments, which is accessible from the rest of the compartment. Our storage containers are manufactured by Sterilite, and we purchased them from Walmart. We have a container for freshwater products and a second container for materials for the black tank. Do not keep them together in the same place! The size of the storage boxes you pick will be heavily influenced by the number of storage compartments you have, so be careful to measure the available space before buying.

However, you should avoid flushing the toilet while the fan is operating.

Yes, we had to learn that lesson the hard way straight away, soon after we started.

This is the quickest and most convenient method. In contrast, other campsites (such as state parks) may just provide water and electricity. Check websites or phone beforehand to make sure what you want is still available. A large number of campgrounds feature on-site wastewater disposal facilities.

how to empty the rv septic tanks


  1. The day before you want to empty your black tank, close the grey tank valve. When you’re ready to empty the bathroom, ensure sure the fan is turned off. Release the valve on the outside of your RV that controls the black tank. Wait until it has completely drained. Using the Rhino Blaster tank rinser, back-fill the black tank (leave the rinser valve closed). Activate the Rhino Blaster valve. Continue until the water runs clear
  2. If necessary, add more water. Ensure that the black tank is closed. Open the grey water tank, allowing the grey water to drain and, in effect, cleaning out your sewage pipe. Keep the grey water tank open. Optional: In order to prevent black tank odours and blockages, place a sewer tank pod or some liquid fabric softener in the toilet tank and flush the toilet a couple of times. When you need to empty the black tank again, simply repeat the process from the beginning.

*Keep in mind that when you are backfilling your black tank, you should keep an eye on the water level. A timer or having a spouse monitor the level from the inside have been suggested by various RVers I’ve spoken with about. I wouldn’t base my decision on the RV sensors. Since purchasing our camper, ours has been inconsistent at best. It has been brought to my attention that some tourists have had disastrous results after leaving their campers unattended throughout this process.** Bonus tip: Close the gray tank valve a couple of days or so before you plan to empty your black tank to give the gray tank enough time to fill up before you empty your black tank.

However, while it is not a substitute for consistently cleaning your black tank, it does assist to reduce the odor.

Can you hook up your RV to a Septic Tank?

Many people who own both an RV and a septic tank are unsure as to whether or not they may utilize the two together. The RV is the ideal spot to accommodate visitors while yet providing them with their own space. You may connect your RV to your septic tank, but you must do so in the proper manner. First and foremost, it is necessary to comprehend the operation of a septic tank before discussing how you might link the two.

How do Septic Tanks Work?

Sewer septic tanks are divided into two sections, each of which filters through wastewater while separating it from the liquid. As the wastewater is broken down by the natural bacteria in the septic tank, it is spread into the soil, where it sinks and is filtered by the soil. Septic tanks must maintain a precise equilibrium between bacteria and wastewater in order to function effectively. Cleaning products, toilet wipes, and even coffee grinds have the potential to be harmful. It is possible to extend the life of your septic tank by ensuring that you are not dumping excessive volumes of these.

How to Connect to your Septic Tank

Generally speaking, you will find that a clean out is the most convenient method of connecting your RV to your septic tank. This will be a PVC pipe that emerges from the earth and has a screw cap on the end of it. Simple removal of the lid will allow you to connect the sewage line from your RV to this clean out port. Check to be that the hose is well fastened to the pipe opening; you may need to weigh it down to prevent a sloppy mess from forming. You have the option of leaving this connected all of the time so that any wastewater automatically drains into the septic system, or you may choose to wait and empty the tank all at once if you prefer.

Because septic tanks function by utilizing natural bacteria to break down wastewater, it is critical to maintain proper balances in the system.

However, doing so is perilous since exposure to too much air can destroy the naturally occurring bacteria in the tank, as well as the gas contained within the tank, which can be harmful to people.

If you can, dump into the side that separates the solids from the wastewater, or into the side that is nearest to the home, whichever is the case. Keep in mind that you will not be able to use an access port to drain RV wastewater on a continuous basis because you will need to re-seal the port.

Keeping your Septic Tank Working Well

When you connect your RV to your septic tank, you’ll need to take a few extra steps to ensure that the system continues to function properly. Make sure you’re not putting too many more chemicals down your pipes; even goods marketed as septic tank cleansers might deplete the natural bacteria levels in your system. These will only provide a temporary improvement in the overall cleanliness of the system. Make sure you don’t overburden the system with too many requests. As wastewater is introduced into the system, it is forced out through the outlet.

See also:  How Deep Is A Vault Septic Tank? (Correct answer)

When using the RV plumbing system on a regular basis, be prepared to have the system cleaned more regularly.

If you need more room and solitude, renting an RV as a guest home is a fantastic alternative.

By ensuring that your RV is properly connected and that you are not overloading your system, you may gain more living space while also keeping your septic tank in good operating order.

A Beginner’s Guide To RV Holding Tanks

Liz Wilcox contributed to this article. RVing may take you to some breathtaking destinations and provide you with the opportunity to make lifelong memories. However, not every aspect of RVing is visually appealing. It’s an unglamorous — but vital — aspect of any RV excursion to keep up with and empty your septic system on a regular basis. And if this system is not properly maintained and cared for, things may get rather unpleasant. Whether you’re a first-time RV owner or you’re planning to rent an RV via Campanda, it’s crucial to understand how to properly maintain your RV tanks.

What does an RV septic system look like?

Recreational vehicles are often equipped with three tanks, which are positioned on the underneath of the vehicle to ensure that everything runs properly.

1. Fresh Water Tank

An RV typically has three tanks: one for fresh water, one for gray water, and one for black water. This tank is used to store fresh water, as the name implies. This is the water that comes out of your faucets and showers.

2. Grey Water Tank

The grey tank is responsible for storing the waste water from your RV shower and kitchen sink. It is possible that some secondhand campers and older RVs may not have this tank.

3. Black Water Tank

For novice RVers, this is the one that gives them the creeps. The black tank is responsible for storing waste water from the toilet. This tank is used to collect all filthy water if your RV does not have its own separate gray tank. Any one of these tanks, if not properly maintained, might pose difficulties for the owner.

How often should I empty my RV tanks?

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to how often you should empty your tanks; it all depends on how frequently you use them. The frequency with which you should empty your tanks is a matter of personal preference. If you are traveling with a large group of people, it is possible that you may need to empty your tanks every two days. If you and your spouse are the only ones in the house, once a week may be plenty. As a general rule of thumb, you should wait until your tanks are approximately two-thirds full before empties them.

Some recreational vehicles are equipped with devices that allow you to see exactly how much fuel is left in your tanks.

This type of sensor begins to malfunction after a few years of use.

In certain cases, even brand new sensors may produce an inaccurate reading due to paper or other trash adhering to the sensor and causing it to indicate “full” when it is not. Keeping track of how much water waste you generate is critical to staying on top of the situation.

How do I empty my RV tanks?

Your recreational vehicle’s holding tanks should be prominently labeled. If you’re renting an RV, make sure you obtain a tour from the RV owner before leaving. Before you start your first waste water dump, make sure you have a sewage hose and some gloves to keep your hands safe from the chemicals. Next, make a note of the valves that are located on the outside of your RV. These will be prominently labeled with the words “grey” and “black.” Connect your sewage hose to the RV’s waste water shutoff valve.

  1. Before pulling the valves, double-check that it is securely attached on both ends.
  2. It’s important to remember that the toilet waste water empties straight into this tank.
  3. Dump stations are always prominently labeled and easily identifiable.
  4. When you can no longer hear any liquid coming through the line, turn off the valve and remove the hose.
  5. This is critically crucial.
  6. It will force all of the liquid to drain out, leaving no route for the particles to drain out as a result.
  7. Pull the grey tank valve once you’ve made sure the valve is completely closed.
  8. Some RVers choose to keep the gray tank valve open outside the RV and allow it to drain continually to save time.
  9. Flushing the gray tank after flushing the black tank can assist in flushing any sediments that have been caught in your sewage pipe.
  10. When removing the sewage pipe, go cautiously to avoid creating a mess.

How do I maintain my RV septic system?

Starter kits like this one are available at places like Walmart and RV retailers. Once you’ve gotten the hang of emptying the tanks in your recreational vehicle, the task can be completed fast and efficiently. However, there is more to properly operating your tanks than simply emptying them – upkeep is just as vital and will help you avoid problems down the road if done correctly. In general, flushing your system on a regular basis, as well as cleaning and sanitizing your tanks, will keep your system up and running relatively trouble-free.

Other things to know about your RV holding tanks:

The fresh water tank, however it is the least frightening of the three tanks, nonetheless need care from time to time. When connected to water or filling the tank, only use a potable water hose to avoid contaminating the water. Because of their white tone, they are simple to distinguish. When using this tank, it is critical to pay close attention to the weather. Insulate your hose during freezing weather and drain your fresh water during periods of excessive heat to avoid water stagnation and evaporation.

The fresh water tank is responsible for storing the water that flows out of your faucets. It’s the least frightening of all of the RV holding tanks. If the tank begins to smell, it is possible that it has become polluted. To clean the tank, use regular household bleach.

  1. Pour 14 cup of bleach into your tank for every 15 gallons of water it holds. Continually run the water until you detect the fragrance of bleach Continue to run the machine until all of the bleached water has been removed. Allowing your tank to rest for 24 hours is recommended. Ensure that your tank is fully refilled and that the water is running until the bleach smell is gone. Use as you normally would

Gray Water Tank

Once again, here is the location where the water from your sink or RV shower is collected. Large travel trailers and fifth wheels may have two gray tanks to accommodate the additional space. It’s vital to notice that the drain into this tank is rather modest in diameter. Take all necessary precautions to guarantee that food particles do not end up in the sewer. Even something as little as a pea has the potential to block a drain.

Black Water Tank

You should only ever empty your tanks at a dumping site that has been authorized for that purpose. There are a few basic rules of thumb to follow in order to keep the dreaded black tank from causing problems:

  1. Single-ply toilet paper should be used. Two-ply might cause a blockage in the tank. Flush the toilet on a regular basis, always adding water to the bowl before flushing
  2. After you’ve dumped your tank, disinfect it. Special chemicals for this may be found in the RV area of any large box shop
  3. However, they are not inexpensive. Pouring a garden hose down the toilet is a good way to keep this tank clean. This should assist in flushing your system and clearing out any buildups that have occurred.

Although draining sewage may not be a part of your RVing dreams, it is a very real and necessary element of the RVing experience. Ideally, it should be a short and painless process if everything is done correctly. Follow the instructions above, and after a few trips to the dump station, you’ll be an expert at dealing with your RV’s septic system! Even though emptying your RV’s tanks is not a pleasant task, it is an essential aspect of RV life. Are you apprehensive about the prospect of emptying your own recreational vehicle tanks?

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Easy 17 Steps – How To Build A RV Septic System?

It’s not everyone’s favorite subject, but if you spend a lot of time in an RV, learning how to establish a septic system is essential. Simply put, you won’t be able to convert your RV into a motor home unless you first install a septic system.

Basic Componentsof theRV Septic System

RV septic systems may be as basic or as complex as you want them to be, but they all have some components in common. Most recreational vehicles have at least some of the following features.

  1. Gray water tank– This tank is used to store the liquids that drain from your sink or shower. It does not include any of the waste that is generated by your garbage disposal or bathroom toilet. It is not drinkable, but it may be used to wash your recreational vehicle
  2. All of the waste from your RV’s toilet and all of the waste from your shower and sink are collected in the black water tank, which is also known as the waste water tank. However, the fundamentals remain the same regardless of the arrangement of the dump system from RV to RV. You connect a sewage pipe to the gray or black tanks and empty them into a disposal facility
  3. You clean the tanks.

HowtoClean RV Black Water Tank?

A great deal of trouble with septic systems may be prevented by performing routine maintenance and planning ahead of time.

1. EnzymesandWaste Tank Solutions

The chemical solutions for waste tanks are available to break down the wastes in black water tanks. Whatever they are, active cultures or synthetic, it doesn’t matter as long as they are acceptable for use in recreational vehicles. It is not recommended to use poisonous solutions since they may cause harm to the tank.

2. Clean Your Tanks

There is disagreement about whether to empty the tanks when they are completely filled or when they are 3/4 of the way full. When I’m three quarters of the way through, I like to empty them since letting the tank to build up can be dangerous. When cleaning both tanks, make sure to use gloves at all times.

The black water tank should always be cleansed first, followed by the gray water tank. Maintain the health of your RV septic system by flushing, cleaning, and sanitizing it on a regular basis. There are a variety of cleaning products available that are designed exclusively for recreational vehicles.

HowtoBuildaRV Septic Systemin17 Steps?

You may construct a septic system for your RV by patterning it after a conventional septic system, with the exception that it will be smaller. Before you begin, be sure you are in compliance with all applicable zoning rules and that you have obtained all necessary permissions. What You’ll Need in Terms of Tools and Materials

  • A shovel, paper rosin, a tape measure, pipe adhesive, and perforated PVC pipes are all required.

Step 1

Locate the main sewage pipe for your recreational vehicle.

Step 2

An 8- to 10-foot length of PVC pipe should be connected to the plumbing coming from your RV. Specifically, this is the pipe that extends horizontally and is fastened by a clamp.

Step 3

Calculate the distance between the tank’s bottom and the entrance hole with a tape measure and a ruler. Determine the depth of the hole measured from the pipe’s bottom.

Step 4

Grab a shovel and dig a hole, then position the tank according to the measurements you obtained. Essentially, this will serve as your septic tank, and it will separate liquid waste from solid waste.

Step 5

The entrance from your rig drain should be placed in the tank. Check to see if it is a tight fit.

Step 6

After the tank has been leveled, cover the space surrounding it with earth to conceal the leveling.

Step 7

Obtain an elbow pipe and glue it to the end of the drainpipe. The elbow should be positioned such that it faces down in the direction of the tank’s bottom.

Step 8

Dig a trench 10 feet deep along the length of the tank’s outflow hole at the end. Pitch is approximately 1/8″ per foot.

Step 9

Install a PVC pipe from the outlet hole all the way to the end of the trench.

Step 10

Locate the output pipe and connect a PVC elbow to it with a hose clamp. The elbow should be positioned such that it points towards the bottom of the tank.

Step 11

Excavate a ten-foot-deep hole at the other end of the trench.

Step 12

Fill the holes with stones, and then fill the hole along the pipe’s bottom with more stones.

Step 13

Remove the solid end of the PVC pipe and insert a 4″ perforated PVC pipe. Make certain that the perforated PVC pipe terminates in the center of the hole that has been filled with rocks. Slope it down at a rate of 1/8 of an inch each foot.

Step 14

Place stones on either side of the perforated pipe. The stones around the pipe must extend four inches above the pipe’s surface.

Step 15

Place rosin paper over the stones to prevent them from becoming mixed with the dirt. After you’ve packed in the earth, the rosin paper will disintegrate, and the dirt will not mix with the stones as it would otherwise.

Step 16

Place the tank’s lid on top of it.

Step 17

The final step is to backfill the soil in the trench with dirt.

RV Black Water Tank: 6 Things You Need to Know

Even though this is one of those subjects that no one wants to talk about, if you don’t know how to clean an RV black water tank, you’ll wind up with a huge mess on your hands. In order to live in a mobile home, you will have to confront the realities of waste management and disposal, which are not pleasant. Some RVers do not bother with the black tank, and this is understandable. They just park their RV where there is access to a public restroom. The question becomes, what happens if your RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere?

And what if you find yourself in a situation where there are no public restrooms? And who doesn’t prefer the privacy of a private bathroom over the public restroom? If you fall into this category, it’s worth your time to learn how to clean and maintain a black water tank.

1. Background

The black water tank in an RV functions as a holding tank for everything that is flushed down the toilet while traveling. In addition, most RVs are equipped with a gray water tank, which stores water from the kitchen sink and shower. This water does not include any of the garbage that has accumulated in your RV; it only contains water. It is referred to as a gray tank because the soap residue gives it a gray appearance. Because the black water tank includes both solid and liquid waste, it must be disposed of in a correct manner.

See also:  How Much Water Should Be In Aerator Tank In Aerobic Septic? (Solution)

2. Startwith theRight Base

Check to see that there is enough water in the tank as a starting point for your procedure. The water is used for two different reasons. It does two things: first, it inhibits odors from spreading throughout your RV, and second, it keeps solid waste from clinging to the sides and bottoms.

3. RV Black Tank Chemicals

Adding black tank chemicals to the water once it has been obtained can help to minimize the odor even more and prevent trash from clinging to the water. RV black tank chemicals are widely accessible, and they come in a wide range of fragrances and designs to choose from. If the chemical has been developed expressly for use in black water tanks, you may be confident that it is environmentally benign. By pouring the chemical into the tank, it will dissolve the waste and prevent an odor from accumulating in the tank.

The volume varies from bottle to bottle, but a couple of ounces is generally sufficient for 3 to 4 days’ worth of use.

4. Emptying Your RV Black Tank

You can fill your tanks with water and dump them at the station if you’re about to leave the campsite but your tanks aren’t yet completely full. In order to properly dispose of your garbage, look for a campsite or other appropriate area. When you’ve located a dump station, attach your waste hose to the rig and secure the other end to the dump station’s dumping station. You’ll empty both the gray and black water tanks, however the black tank must always be the first to be emptied. Close the black water valve after the tank is completely depleted.

Because the gray tank is not as unclean as the black tank, you must empty the black tank first.

5. RV Black Tank Flushing

Emptying the black water tank on a regular basis is only one piece of the whole maintenance process. You’ll also need to wipe out the black water tank in a more thorough manner than before. The accumulation of tissues and garbage can block your toilet, making regular maintenance a must. There are two different methods for flushing a black water tank. The black tank flush valve is the most commonly seen kind. This is something that almost all RVs have, therefore it’s definitely the best option.

  • Just flush it down the toilet and you’re done.
  • If your RV does not come equipped with a flush, you may purchase an aftermarket black valve to replace it.
  • In most cases, you will just need to drill a tiny hole in the black water tank to accommodate the valve installation.
  • In order to accomplish this, you’ll need a garden hose extension or an RV tank rinser that can jet water in various directions in the tank to remove tissue and other debris.
  • Once you’re certain, turn on the RV toilet flush valve and insert the tank rinser so that it enters the black water tank of the vehicle.

When you turn on the water, the hose will start spraying water all over the tank. Make sure the rinser is turning and twisting so that it can reach all areas of the tank. After you’ve finished hosing, dump the tank as you normally would.

6. Portable RV Waste Tanks

If you plan to camp for a lengthy amount of time in an area where there is no sewer connection, a portable RV waste tank will be quite useful. Essentially, these allow you to empty your black and gray water tanks through an external tank, as the name indicates. After you have emptied the tanks, you may dispose of them at a dump station. These tanks are equipped with a handle and wheels for simple movement, allowing you to drag the tank to the station in a matter of minutes. Even though there are many different types of RV portable waste tanks, they still require the same maintenance, flushing, and cleaning as a standard black water tank.

Additional TipsforRV Septic Management

Make certain that you only use legal disposal stations. There are a few free dump stations that are either badly kept or contain chemicals that are dangerous to your RV hose and tank. Any chemical that contains formaldehyde should not be used since it may cause harm to the tank. Purchase only from trustworthy sources to ensure that the substances you’re purchasing are safe. After you’ve finished using the dump station, make sure to clean up. Remove any remaining residue and leave the area in the same condition as you found it.

  1. On a regular basis, check the tanks for damage.
  2. Preferably, you should plan this as part of your RV maintenance so that you can clean everything in one go.
  3. Check to see that there is enough for your tanks, and bear in mind that there may be instances where you will need to connect a few of hoses in order to reach the sewer connection.
  4. As a result of the decrease in cost, you don’t want to be trapped with an inoperative hose when emptying a black water tank in your home.
  5. No matter what sort of hose you are using, never drag it over the ground since this might cause punctures or rips in the hose.
  6. This should not be done with the black water hose, though.
  7. It’s a topic that, for obvious reasons, no RVer can afford to ignore.
  8. Recommendation for Further Reading:
  1. 29 Important Factors to Consider When Preventing RV Pipes From Freezing Cleaning an RV is simple if you follow these guidelines. How can you determine whether an RV’s water tank is clean?

Guide for RV septic tank

A recreational vehicle (RV) is often equipped with two types of RV septic tanks: a black water tank and a grey water tank, respectively. The gray water tank is responsible for collecting wastewater from your RV sinks and shower. The tank is referred to as a gray water tank because the soap residue from the sink and shower causes the water to appear grey in appearance. The black water tank in your RV is the tank that collects wastewater from the toilet in your vehicle. Consequently, both liquid and solid waste are collected in the black water tank.

A scenario such as this should be regarded as one in which all waste water is deemed black wastewater. Despite the fact that both grey and black water drain via the same outlets, the valves that regulate their flow into their respective tanks are normally distinct.

Greywater RV septic tanks

As previously stated, the grey water tank serves as a storage tank for all of the greywater generated by the RV. Greywater is any water that is utilized in an RV, with the exception of water that is flushed down the toilet, and is classified as waste water. Let’s take a look at the steps involved in emptying the grey water RV septic tank.

Emptying greywater RV septic tanks

Despite the fact that greywater is not as poisonous as black water, extreme caution should be exercised when draining it. Despite the fact that some RV owners dump gray water into the lawn, the ideal practice is to empty it into a waste disposal facility. It is recommended that the grey water tank be emptied after the black water tank is emptied. This aids in the removal of any debris that may have remained after the black water dump was completed. The following are the procedures to be followed while emptying your tank:

  • Wearing a pair of disposable gloves is recommended. A sewage dump pipe must be connected between your trailer and the dump station. Open the gray tank valve and let it to empty completely before closing it. Fresh water should be forced into the sewage pipe. Place the sewer disposal hose in a safe place. Dispose of your gloves in an appropriate manner.

Blackwater RV septic tanks

The black water tank is responsible for collecting human waste, toilet flushing water, and tissue paper. It goes without saying that you should not flush anything else since it might clog the plumbing and cause a nasty backup in your RV. Anything that is not suitable for flushing down the toilet should not be flushed down the toilet in your RV. Check to see that your black water tank has enough water in it before you begin using it. In addition to aiding in the absorption of foul odors, water also aids in the movement of solid waste so that it does not adhere to the walls.

Septi RV is a product that has been carefully developed to break down waste in the black water tank while also eliminating foul odors at the same time.

Guidelines for emptying black water RV septic tanks

  • You should take measures while emptying the waste from the black water RV holding tanks since the waste is highly poisonous, and it is crucial to follow all safety precautions when emptying the tank. Rubber gloves, shoe coverings, and safety eyewear should all be used to protect your hands and feet from potential harm. Make sure you have some liquid soap on hand so that you may wash your hands when you are through. Prepare to dump – you may only dump at a sewage outlet that has been designated. In a dumping station or on the campground, you can get your hands on some of these items. Connect the sewage hose to the RV and then insert the other end of the hose into the drain hole
  • Empty the tanks as soon as they are almost full
  • Do not wait until the tanks are completely empty.

Important tips when using campground septic systems

Every camper has a duty to ensure that the septic system at the campground is in excellent working order. Here are some pointers on how to use the campground’s sewage system in the most efficient manner.

  • As a precaution, always double-check that you have latex gloves, a sewage hose, a separate hose for washing out the black water tank, and a storage bag to keep all of these materials
  • To minimize leaks when acquiring a used recreational vehicle, double-check to make sure the sewage pipe is in good condition. Always be sure you park into the campsite on the right side of the septic system. Though the majority of dump stations feature two sewer access points to allow cars to pull up on either side, it is a good idea to think of it like a gas station – the location of the RV tank on your camper will dictate which side you should use
  • Before you leave the house, double-check that all of the valves are closed. Leaving a valve open might result in a stinky and dirty messe since wastewater will splash all over the place as soon as you remove the drain pipe’s top. Getting as near to the sewage drain as possible can help you prevent straining the sewer hose to its limit. In the event that you stretch it too far, the pressure that will be applied as soon as you begin emptying the RV tanks will cause it to become disconnected from the rest of the system. Read all of the restrictions for the campground’s septic system and keep track of which water sources are portable in case you need to refill your tank again later. Filling up with water should be done through a separate hose to avoid contamination.

How often should your empty RV septic tanks?

The length of time you may utilize the grey water tank in your RV before having to discharge the wastewater is determined by the size of the tank and the number of people who will be using the RV. During the course of a typical day at home, the average household consumes 80-100 gallons of water. However, when traveling in an RV, water use is greatly reduced. It is estimated that you will use around 16 gallons of water if you take two showers in the RV, each lasting four minutes each. Consider that you wash dishes for three meals in your sink, which may consume an additional 6 gallons of water.

  1. As a result, you may expect an average of 26 gallons of greywater every day.
  2. If you are staying at a campsite, on the other hand, you will very certainly be linked to the campground’s septic system.
  3. However, if you are only traveling by yourself or with one other person, your tank will need to be emptied less regularly – perhaps once a week at the very most.
  4. The tank should be drained as soon as it is two-thirds full, according to the manufacturer.

The majority of modern recreational vehicles are equipped with devices that inform you exactly how full the tank is. The use of a water meter is safer, however, because these sensors can become defective over time due to wear and tear, resulting in incorrect readings of the amount of water consumed.

Taking care of your RV tanks

Aside from periodically emptying and cleaning the tanks, it is a good idea to avoid using chemicals and other goods that may pose a threat to microorganisms. Bacteria play an important function in the breakdown of waste in RV tanks because they aid in the breakdown of waste. Therefore, avoid the use of bleach, bronopol, embalming fluid (glutaraldehyde), formalin, and perfumed and antibacterial soaps, as well as other harmful chemicals. In fact, any substance that should not be used by septic system owners is also not recommended for use in a recreational vehicle (RV).

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In addition, there is:

  • Don’t forget to wipe the “O” ring seals off the sewage caps before you leave the house. Once the seals have been cleaned, a light coat of oil should be applied to avoid gray and black water dribbles. After flushing the tank, always add a few gallons of water to it. In this way, any residual residue in the tank will be prevented from collecting and drying on the tank’s bottom
  • Make sure to keep your valves closed until you are ready to start pumping your tanks. Keeping the valves closed not only prevents the sediments in the tank from drying out, but it also helps to keep the foul odors at away. Do not pump your tanks before they are completely full. Wait until they are at least half-full before opening them. Add water to the tank until it is half-full if you are ready to leave a location and the tank is not completely full. The water in the tank is crucial because it aids in ensuring that the sediments are adequately flushed from the tank. Use your fresh water hose to empty your tanks rather than your waste water hose. When flushing the tanks, start with the black water tank first and work your way down to the gray water tank afterwards. This will guarantee that your hose is as clean as possible after use.


The RV septic tank will last for many years if it is cared for and maintained properly. However, just as with a home-based septic tank, if the RV holding tanks are not properly maintained, they can quickly fail. You must be deliberate in your approach to taking care of it, which includes pumping the tanks as soon as the need arises, employing biological additives to aid in the breakdown of waste, and avoiding the use of harmful items that may have a negative influence on the efficacy of helpful bacteria.

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