How to Clean Out an RV Black Water Tank

How to Clean Out an RV Black Water Tank
The black water tank in an RV is used to store and manage human waste and toilet tissue until such time as it can be dumped at a designated dump station. For campers who enjoy backcountry camping in their RV, a black water storage tank is an absolute necessity. Many campers who stay in campgrounds and RV resorts with full hook-ups also store black water in a tank, and flush and clean it weekly. It's a fairly simple process to clean an RV black water tank and not at all messy when done right.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Disposable gloves
  • Sewer line
  • Sewer connectors
  • Fresh water
  • Toilet chemical
Step 1
Pull on a pair of disposable gloves. Although the job should be fairly clean, it's a good idea to take precautions when working around this type of waste.
Step 2
Locate and identify the valves for both gray water and black water tanks on the side of the RV. Folks who set up in an RV park often let their gray water from kitchen and showers flow automatically into a sewer, rather than storing it (it's not OK to let gray water run out on the ground), so both valves may or may not be closed.
Step 3
If a sewer line isn't already hooked up, connect one from the black water tank on the RV to the sewer or dump station, using appropriate connectors to prevent leaks. Open the valve for the black water tank and let the tank drain into the sewer or dump station. If there is water in the gray water tank, open that valve and use the gray water to help flush the RV's sewer line.
Step 4
Leave the sewer line connected. Close the valve to the black water tank, and connect a fresh water hose to the tank's rinse connection (it should be clearly labeled and located near the fresh water inlet). Fill the tank 2/3 full with fresh water (open the toilet valve and watch the water level, or listen to the water as it runs into the tank).
Step 5
Check that the sewer line is still connected to the dump station or sewer. Open the release valve for the black water tank once again; the fresh water in the tank will rinse the tank and help carry lingering solids and paper out of the tank and away.
Step 6
Tightly close the valve to the black water tank. Run a couple of gallons of fresh water into the tank, just enough to fill the drain pipe. Add toilet chemicals according to package directions (this will help reduce odor and break down solids), followed by another half-gallon of fresh water.

Article Written By Colleen Morrison

Colleen Morrison has been writing professionally for two decades. She holds an M.A. from the University of Wyoming and a Ph.D. in history from Arizona State University. She ghostwrites articles, blogs and Web content for her clients. Articles under her name appear at M&M, eHow, Golflink and other sites.

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