How to Drain Holding Tanks on an RV

How to Drain Holding Tanks on an RV
Most RVs and many camping trailers have their own toilets, which add a lot of comfort to the camping experience. However, the presence of the toilet means that the vehicle has an on-board holding tank for the raw sewage that comes out of your toilet. This tank must be emptied in a sanitary fashion. Your vehicle may also have a separate tank for the less noxious wastewater from your sinks and shower, which also requires proper disposal.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Goggles (recommended)
  • Rubber gloves (recommended)
  • RV black water tank treatment
Step 1
Drive your RV to a dump station and pull up to it with your drain valves facing the station.
Step 2
Connect your sewer hose to the dump station's nozzle first and only then connect it to your RV. Screwing the hose onto the nozzles in this order will help prevent spray in the event of an accident.
Step 3
Connect the hose for your permanent-mount black tank rinser--if your RV has one--to the dump station's water supply.
Step 4
Open the black water tank valve. Turn on the water supply and black tank rinser if you have one. You can monitor the draining-and-rinsing progress based upon sound. Allow this to drain until it is down to a trickle.
Step 5
Close the black water valve and disconnect the hoses. Move the sewer hose over to your gray water tank. Repeat the procedure and drain that tank into the dump station as well.
Step 6
Check your tank meters inside the RV, which should now read empty. Go to your toilet, mix some holding tank treatment into the bowl and flush the toilet three or four times to get the water and treatment into the black water tank. You should add the amount of treatment as recommended by the manufacturer, dividing it out over the three or four flushes.

Tips & Warnings

Even if you have separate black and gray water tanks, you should drain both at the dump station. It is becoming generally unacceptable to drain gray water tanks anywhere else, and many RV parks specifically require that all wastewater be drained at the dump station.
Consider wearing goggles and rubber gloves for draining your wastewater, and especially the black water tank. The contents of the black water tank are essentially raw sewage and therefore pose a health hazard.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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