How Does A Holding Septic Tank In A 2004 Hitchiker Camper? (TOP 5 Tips)

Can you put an RV holding tank in a septic tank?

  • An RV is designed only to transport the waste, while a septic system is designed to treat the waste and return clean water back to the water table. Two major issues arise when emptying RV holding tanks into a septic system, and both can lead to catastrophic system failure.

How does a camper septic system work?

A camper septic system works by simply acting as a holding tank for your sewage. It’s not a SEPTIC TANK that works like at a house. With an RV septic system there are no leach fields, no breaking down needed (not really), none of that. It holds your sewage until you dump it.

How does a holding tank work?

A holding tank is a single compartment tank that collects the wastewater and household waste from a house through an inlet valve. Everything that goes down the drain in your house (sink, toilet, washing machine, dishwasher, shower and toilet) ends up in the holding tank and there it stays until you get it pumped out.

How often do you have to empty a camper holding tank?

How often you need to empty your tanks is relative. If you are traveling with a large number of people, you may need to empty your tanks every other day. If it is just you and your spouse, once a week may be enough. A general rule of thumb is to wait until your tanks are about two-thirds full before emptying them.

How do holding tank sensors work?

The most common RV holding tank sensors work by checking if a simple electrical circuit is open (not making contact) or closed (making contact). RV tank level sensors form a low-wattage open circuit. As long as there is no liquid or something else completing the circuit from the inside, it stays open.

What is the holding tank on a camper?

The majority of travel trailers, fifth wheels and motorhomes have onboard holding tanks. These tanks collect the sink/shower drain water and sewage waste from the toilet(s). These are called the grey water tank and the black tank, respectively.

Whats the difference between a septic tank and a holding tank?

HOLDING TANKS ARE DIFFERENT FROM SEPTIC TANKS However, instead of releasing treated wastewater into the ground through a drainfield, the holding tank temporarily stores the effluent for removal and transportation to a treatment facility.

How do you know when your holding tank is full?

How to tell your septic tank is full and needs emptying

  1. Pooling water.
  2. Slow drains.
  3. Odours.
  4. An overly healthy lawn.
  5. Sewer backup.
  6. Gurgling Pipes.
  7. Trouble Flushing.

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.

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.

Can you dump RV GREY water on the ground?

Generally, as long as your gray tank contains water that was used for washing, it’s legal to dump it on the ground.

Where are RV holding tank sensors?

The answer is, by way of RV tank sensors or tank probes installed in the fresh water, gray water, and black water holding tanks. Most tank sensors are permanently installed through the side of the tanks. A sensor is installed at the ¼ tank, ½ tank, ¾ tank and full tank position on the side of each tank.

How do you empty an RV holding tank?

Hook up one end of your sewage drain hose to the black tank valve on your RV. Secure the other end of the hose to the valve at the sewer line or dumping station. Pull the valve to empty the black tank, allowing it to drain completely. Flush the black tank with water to clean it.

RV Holding Tanks: The Ultimate Guide on Holding Tanks for RVs

Your RV holding tanks are responsible for allowing you to use the restroom — as well as the shower and the kitchen sink — while traveling without leaving a trail of wastewater behind. Holding tanks, as the name indicates, are used to store wastewater generated by your home and store it beneath your coach until you are ready to dump it into a public sewer system. There is also a freshwater holding tank, which allows you to use fresh water even if you are unable to connect to the city’s water distribution system.

Everything you need to know about RV holding tanks will be covered in this essay, from how to distinguish between black and gray water (which is critical!) to how to unclog a stoppage.

As previously stated, there is not (often) a single holding tank for your RV; rather, there are three different holding tanks for your RV to use.

Each requires certain maintenance practices to function properly; for example, you must put particular chemicals in your black water tank to aid in the breakdown of solid waste and the preservation of the odor-free operation of your RV toilet.

What precisely is the black water holding tank in an RV and how does it function?

The three distinct RV holding tank systems are shown in the diagram below.

  • Water that runs from your sinks and showers is referred to as gray water. In other words, it is the reasonably clean wastewater that may contain soap residue or food particles, but which normally does not contain anything particularly noxious. Water that has been contaminated by human feces is referred to as black water. A fresh water tank may also be installed, letting you to utilize your onboard plumbing system even while off-grid camping or boondocking.

In order to keep them functional (and as odor-free as possible! ), each camping holding tank must be dumped (or filled) individually and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. In particular, many campers are interested in the size of their RV’s holding tanks, because it is the tank capacity that has the ability to compel you to finish a boondocking camping vacation sooner than you would have liked. After all, once your wastewater tanks are full (or your freshwater tank is dry), you will have no alternative but to connect to a city sewer and water hookup in order to dispose of the old and replenish your supplies with the new.

courtesy of GIPHY However, the good news is that the normal holding tank size for an RV is actually quite acceptable.

(Obviously, larger recreational vehicles will have greater holding tanks, in basic terms.) No matter what large your tanks are — and the only way to know for sure is to contact your dealer or owner’s handbook — the length of time you may go between dumping operations is a question of personal preference.

  • Having discussed tank size and capacity, let’s move on to what occurs when those tanks reach capacity: dumping.
  • Most recreational vehicles are equipped with an onboard sensor system that allows you to monitor the levels of each separate tank.
  • umm.
  • watching things rise to the surface.
  • An essential point to remember is that you should avoid emptying your tanks before they are completely filled, especially in cold weather.
  • If you want to dump your tanks, you’ll need to step outside your RV and find a location along your sideboard where the waste tank valves are located.
  • This is standard practice.

In order to prevent it from coming free and causing a really nasty mess, you may want to have someone lay their foot, or even a block, on the end of the pipe that connects to the municipal sewage.

Always empty your black tank first; this will allow the gray tank to wash out your hose with its comparatively clean water once it has been drained.

Whether or not your campground is linked to a sewage system, close both valves when the tanks are completely empty—leaving them open is a surefire way to create a clog, as the liquid waste water will flow through while the solid waste is allowed to build.

Potable water hoses are often white in color, making them simple to distinguish from other types of hoses.

Draining your tank is accomplished by opening the drain valve located at the bottom; refer to your owner’s handbook for precise instructions on how to do so.

What happens if you have a clog in your drain?

You should constantly use a good black tank deodorizing and cleaning chemical, which will aid in the breakdown of solid waste and the preservation of the fresh scent of your toilet.

The compounds are available in both liquid and powder forms, but employing them makes a significant effect regardless of the form.

If your fresh water tank is polluted or smells bad, you may clean the RV’s holding tank using regular home bleach to eliminate the odor.

  • Run the water until you can smell the bleach, then turn off the water and let the tank to rest for at least 24 hours after you have drained all of the bleach water. Fill the tank with water and then run the water again until the bleach smell has disappeared. After that, you may refill the holding tank as usual.

If you use RV holding tank cleaning and empty your tanks on a regular basis, the odds of encountering a blockage are little to none. Also keep in mind that you should only use toilet paper designed exclusively for RVs, which will help you avoid a clog in the first place by preventing it from occurring. Quick-dissolve toilet paper is significantly gentler on the sensitive systems in your RV. It is also lot less expensive. Having said that, if you find yourself in the position of having to unclog your holding tanks, you don’t want to employ the same type of rough-and-tumble approach you would use on your household metal pipes.

  • A typical procedure is replacing the RV toilet and plumbing system with a conventional, residential commode and completely removing the RV holding tanks.
  • Because this type of plumbing is not usually straightforward or simple, you may need to hire assistance.
  • RV holding tanks and plumbing systems are not as reliable and durable as the ones you are accustomed to at home!
  • How to clean the holding tank sensor in your RV by pouring soapy water through the whole system is demonstrated in this video.
  • RV Plumbing: PartsFittings — Please Read Before Proceeding
  • To have on hand for plumbing repairs and projects are a variety of tools. This article contains all you need to know about the RV plumbing vent cap. What You Should Know About Unclogging an RV Toilet 8211
  • How To Unclog An RV Toilet 8211

To prepare for an RV holding tank replacement, the first step will be to remove your old tanks, which we’ll cover in more detail later on in this article. It is possible that you will need to develop schematics, install a fresh water pump, and mount your black and gray water tanks according to the manufacturer’s directions before you can complete the installation of your new RV holding tanks. If you want to do it yourself, Install It Yourself offers an excellent tutorial on how to do it here.

  • There are some situations when it may be more cost-effective to engage a plumber; in this case, it is advisable to discover how to identify a reputable RV repair specialist before you begin shopping about!
  • In most cases, you’ll need to remove the toilet in order to get access to the black water holding tank, however you may be able to reach the tanks totally from the sideboard of your recreational vehicle.
  • If you have any questions, you should check your RV owner’s handbook.
  • Despite the fact that RV holding tanks are not the most visually appealing components of an RV, they are an unavoidable fact of life that must be dealt with.

Maintaining them will make your self-contained RV feel more like a home while you are on the road. It is possible that this content contains affiliate links.

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 on February 7, 2022. 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.

  • Why?
  • 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-filled water tank while traveling on the road. What would be the purpose of having one if you didn’t use it? Many sites do not supply water, so you will need to carry your own along with you. As a result, be certain that you are aware of the true weight of your RV when it is fully loaded.

Do not exceed the maximum weight that the manufacturer has stated it is capable of supporting. Your water tank might be full when you fill your water tank if your location is close to it. 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.

See also:  How Was A Septic Tank Built In 1990? (Perfect answer)

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 exact opposite of what 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 sterilize this camper tank, there are a few things you can do.

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

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.

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.
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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.

  • As a result, you may expect an average of 26 gallons of greywater every day.
  • If you are staying at a campsite, on the other hand, you will very certainly be linked to the campground’s septic system.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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).

To understand more, download the free eBook on our website.

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.

Septic Holding Tank that’s portable?

Nanidh12El CajonNew MemberJoined: 08/04/2020View Profile

Hello, everyone. I bought a trailer recently that I use full-time that’s parked in the backyard of my sisters home, and I have some concerns about the black water.I try not to use my bathroom in the trailer because I currently don’t have my truck so I can’t take it to dumping sites, but It’s not 2/3 Full and the very close to being full. I was doing research and I found some portable Septic Holding tank that’s 250 gallons. We have a septic system but it does not have hooks up, and the place that we use to empty said they will empty the trailer but it’s at an expensive price since they are coming all this way to drain a trailer, so my question is.Does anyone have any experience with portable septic holding tanks? I have provided a link below of the one I am looking at.Any advice will be great, I just don’t know what else to do and I don’t want it to fill up and then I have a huge mess in my hands. Thank you to all!

LwiddisAntelope Valley areaSenior MemberJoined: 08/12/2016View ProfileGood Sam RV Club Member Offline

Remember that water weighs 8.25 pounds per gallon. If your full tank is 40 gallons that’s 330 pounds. NOT easy to move around a container weighing that much. And what does the proposed 250 gallon tank weigh empty? Be careful quickly pouring a large amount of water into a home septic system. It may not be able to handle that volume quickly.

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way2rollWilmington NCSenior MemberJoined: 10/05/2018View ProfileOffline

Maybe I don’t fully understand your solution but doesn’t that just transfer your problem to the portable holding tank? How will you dump that? Remember your RV doesn’t have a septic system, they are holding tanks and so is this portable one. So without dumping your blank tank in the RV or this “portable” one it will just continue to break down waste and stink to high heaven. Not sure how portable a full 250 gallon tank is – would weigh about 2,000 lbs. If you have a septic system at the house you could add a cleanout to it for less than the cost of this portable tank. For that matter you could get quite a few runs from a honey wagon for the price of a portable holding tank. Maybe I am missing it, but this doesn’t really solve your problem. Seems like it creates a new problem. I think the purchase of this trailer was a bit ready, shoot, aim without considering this issue would come up.

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Old-BiscuitVerde ValleySenior MemberJoined: 06/20/2009View Profile

Hose close is the Sewer/Septic Cleanout at your Sisters place?Buy a Flojet Portable Macerator Pump and a 3/4″ garden hose in length needed to reach the cleanoutThen Dump/pimp your Waste then grey into the clean out

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Nanidh12El CajonNew MemberJoined: 08/04/2020View Profile

Hello all. So I had a truck, but there’s something wrong with the engine and that may take time to fix and lots of money, so that’s why I can’t go to a dumping ground. Theres a company we use for the septic tank that said they can come and empty my trailer, but I don’t want to have to have them come out so often.The septic tank is about 30 feet away from my trailer. I just wanted to see if that for the moment if anyone had experience with these types of tanks.I usually use the restroom in the main house, but I had family members over who used my restroom in the trailer, even thought I asked for them to use the main house causing it to get full.

lampoonerSouth CarolinaSenior MemberJoined: 06/03/2005View ProfileOffline

Old-Biscuit has the right idea in terms of cost and usefulness”Buy a Flojet Portable Macerator Pump and a 3/4″ garden hose in length needed to reach the cleanoutThen Dump/pimp your Waste then grey into the clean out”

LampoonerRemember you are only young once,but you can be immature forever!

magicbusNantucket Island, MASenior MemberJoined: 06/16/2002View Profile

If you don’t mind dumping 5 gallons at a time you can buy a portable toilet and just use the bottom half to dump into. The hose fits perfectly into the valve and you just pour it into the house toilet. I use this to empty my tank when I get home. Takes a couple of trips but it’s cheap and easy.Sonething like thisDave

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BoomerwepsHills of PASenior MemberJoined: 04/30/2018View ProfileOffline

How close are you to the house?With a macerator pump (garbage disposal for your black tank), you even run the garden hose up and into a first floor toilet. Just duct tape up the hose’s threaded end to protect the porcelain and feed the hose into and up through the the toilet’s S trap a foot or so. Not so popular with Sis as using a septic clean out access, but still workable and can be fairly clean. Black, then gray tanks, then flush clean water through the macerator. They have an inlet on the side.

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rlw999Washington StateSenior MemberJoined: 08/19/2020View Profile

Nanidh12 wrote: The septic tank is about 30 feet away from my trailer. I just wanted to see if that for the moment if anyone had experience with these types of tanks.If you’re just going to dump it in the septic tank anyway, if it’s a flat 30 foot run, I’d just get 30 feet of sewer hose or a macerator and avoid the portable tank completely.

jdc1Rescue, CaSenior MemberJoined: 05/30/2011View ProfileOffline

30′? Just run your sewage hose to it. Or, get some 3″ ABS pipe and slap it together (don’t even need glue).

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.

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.

When removing the sewage pipe, go cautiously to avoid creating a mess. When the hose is not in use, many RVers store it in a bucket or tub to keep it contained.

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.

It’s the least frightening of all of the RV holding tanks.

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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An RVDo you want to experience the delights of RVing — black water tank and all — with other RV enthusiasts? Consider purchasing an RV. You may rent out your RV on Campanda and convert your investment into a second source of income! To List Your Recreational Vehicle, Please Click Here.

How Many Gallons of Water Does an RV Usually Hold?

Although draining sewage may not be a part of your RVing dreams, it is an extremely real and necessary element of the RVing experience. Ideally, it should be a short and painless procedure if carried out correctly. You’ll be an expert at dealing with your RV septic system after a few trips to the dump station if you follow the instructions above. Even though emptying your RV’s tanks is not a pleasant task, it is an essential component of RVing. The thought of emptying your own RV tanks makes you feel a little queasy.

By clicking on the following link, you may see Campanda’s range of trailers, motorhomes, and campers.

An RV is the answer.

To list your RV, please visit this page: Click Here.

What Are the Other Two Tank Numbers?

The grey and black tanks are the other two tanks in your system. When purchasing an RV, you will see information such as “water tank size is 65-25-30.” The freshwater tank will contain 65 gallons, the grey water tank can store up to 25 gallons, and the black water tank should hold less than thirty gallons, according to this calculation. The size of your waste gallon containers is determined not just by the size of your freshwater tank, but also by the kind of RV you have. Some RVs are designed to accommodate a single person, while others that are designed for families have larger tanks to accommodate everyone’s needs.

What is My “Gray Tank?”

The water that has been used by the cleaning appliances in your RV, such as your sinks, shower, and (if you have one) washing machine, is collected in your grey water tank and disposed of appropriately. They are fed by the freshwater supply and the water that is used is channeled into the greywater tank once it has been used. Please keep in mind that your grey tank may fill up far more quickly than your freshwater tank can be drained!

What is the “Black T ank?”

This is the aspect of RVing that everyone enjoys the most. The black tank is often referred to as the septic tank in your recreational vehicle! There is nothing else that can fill this tank but the waste that comes out of your toilet. Keep an eye on how much fuel is left in this tank and take good care of it. Also, keep in mind that black tanks can be temperamental. It is recommended that you use RV toilet paper to guarantee that the least amount of product gets caught in your RV system. Additionally, while using your RV’s toilet for the first time on each trip, fill it with water from outside the vehicle and flush it once.

How Do I Dispose of the Water in The Black and Gray T anks?

You must first locate a septic dumping spot that has been approved before you can get down to business when your weekend is done. (They are usually accessible at most RV parks.) Ensure that the waste pipe is connected to your black or grey tanks. Please remember to empty your black tank first, and then, once it has been completely emptied, you may start running your grey water. We do this because your grey tank is filled with much cleaner water than your black tank, and it has the ability to remove unwanted items from your garden hose.

You may find yourself straying off the usual route from time to time.

You may use this as a temporary holding tank before transporting your garbage to a proper waste disposal facility. Following the disposal of this portable tank, make certain that it is properly cleaned by running clean water through it.

Black Tank Flushing

After a period of time, your tank will become clogged with extra toilet paper and other items that will be difficult to remove with frequent emptying. In order to prevent this, a black tank cleansing will be required on occasion. When attempting to winterize your RV, this is extremely important to remember! Most recreational vehicles are equipped with tank cleansing valves, which may be used at any regular dumping station. You will connect everything as you normally would, but now you will flush your toilet with regular water while also turning on the black tank flushing valve.

How Long Can I Go Between Filling Up and Dumping My Tanks?

Your is dependent on the number of people that will be traveling with you in your RV on this journey. I would say that if it’s just you and one or two other individuals, you’ll be OK for a week. Be mindful of your tank gauge, which will indicate how full your tanks are, just like a fuel gauge would indicate how much petrol you have left. A good rule of thumb is to empty them when they are about two-thirds full. (Be careful that your grey or black water tanks may fill up more quickly than your freshwater tanks decrease).

How Do I Conserve Water in an RV?

You should learn how to save water if you have a large group of people in an RV and just a limited amount of resources to empty and refill tanks. The shower is one of the most significant water wasters. A suggestion would be to take a shower in the military style:

  1. Simply spritz your hair with water. Turn off the water and work the shampoo into your hair thoroughly. Rinse well
  2. Put a stop to the water and, if you’re using it, a conditioner in it. Make use of a damp loofa or washcloth to clean your body
  3. Rinse your hair and body as rapidly as possible
  4. You are finished when you turn off the water.

This will save a tremendous amount of water. All of the time spent shampooing and scrubbing your body is simply a waste of water. Water and time are saved by dressing in a military fashion. No one likes to stand about in the rain, cold, and nude for lengthy periods of time. Other pointers:

  • A significant amount of water will be saved. The time you spend shampooing and bathing your body is simply a waste of water and resources. Saving water and time are important considerations while dressing in military style Wet, chilly, and naked people do not want to be forced to wait for lengthy periods of time. A few further pointers are as follows:

Winterizing Your RV Water Tanks

If you do not properly care for your tanks after the RVing season is done, you may see algae and mildew growing in your tanks. As a result, when winterizing your tank, be sure to employ your filtration system to keep everything empty during the periods when you will not be using it at all.

  1. First and first, empty your water heater. Make a note of the lowest point in your water system to ensure that all of the water is drained
  2. Make sure that your freshwater tank is entirely depleted by using your water pump. Then, using a white non-toxic hose, fill it with bleach and water to finish it out. For every 15 gallons of water, 1 cup of bleach is used. Drain the tank once again, fill it with regular water, then empty it to ensure that there is no bleach in the water you will later use to clean yourself.

Related Questions:

What are the various RV classifications?

Different Classes Sleeps Size Price
Class A Motorhome 1 to 8 21 to 45 feet $50,000 to $100,000
Class B Motorhome 1 to 4 17 to 19 feet $40,000 to $80,000
Class C Motorhome 1 to 8 20 to 31 feet $50,000 to $80,000
5th Wheel Trailer 1 to 8 18 to 40 feet $15,000 to $50,000

In order to properly maintain my black tank, I’ll need the following items. The black tank must first be topped out with liquid before it can be used to keep it functioning properly and to alleviate the stench. So first fill it with clean (or at least clean-ish) water, and then add a holding chemical to keep it from drying out. This aids in the decomposition of waste in your black tank. There should be instructions on the container indicating how much to use for the size of tank you have purchased.

On your RV, there should be a gauge that indicates how much fuel is left in the tank.

It’s normal for the toilet to almost “burp,” or release gas from the sewer, when the tank is nearly full; this is simply expelling any remaining gas and making the greatest space possible for waste.

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