How to Dump RV Tanks at Home the Right Way (Video)

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It’s essential to drain the waste from the black and grey tanks safely and responsibly.

This is especially important if you plan to dump your holding tanks at home, as there are additional concerns as opposed to dumping at a dump station.

Let’s look at how to dump RV tanks at home without contaminating the environment or risking a fine.

How to Dump RV Waste at Home

There are three main methods to dump your RV tanks at home. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages and will vary slightly depending on whether you dump your tanks into the main sewer line, a septic tank, or use a bucket or macerator pump. 

Let’s take a closer look at how to dump RV tanks at home.

1. The Residential Sewer Line or Septic Tank Methods

Most people have access to either a public or private sewage disposal system. The private sewage disposal system works like a septic system, while the municipal sewage disposal system uses a residential sanitary line or main sewer line.

Both sewer systems have a cleanout, a small pipe that sticks out of the ground from the main sewer line, or a septic tank sealed with an end cap.

This video shows you how to empty your tanks into the residential sewer line.

Empty Your Black Water Tank at Home

Here are the step-by-step instructions:

  1. Locate the septic tank or sewer line access port. You may need a large wrench and some help during this step.
  2. Park your RV beside the access port and connect the disposal hose to the black water tank.
  3. Wear protective face and hand gear to stay protected and sanitary.
  4. Connect the end of the output hose to the septic tank’s access port. Take your time removing sewer end caps, as harmful fumes could escape.
  5. Ensure that the output hose points downward into the access port and is secure enough to prevent waste from spraying out of the sides.
  6. Pull the black tank valve to empty the tank, ensuring it drains completely.
  7. Flush the black water tank with clean water and then drain all the water from the tank.
  8. After emptying the black tank, empty the grey water holding tank and repeat the above steps.
  9. You should always empty the black tank before the grey water tank so you can clean the dumping hose with the soap and detergent residue in the greywater.
  10. Rinse the inside of your dumping hose before disconnecting it from the sewer connection.
  11. Remove the sewer hose and store it properly.

For a more thorough step-by-step process, check out our guide on how to hook up an RV sewer hose and use it.

Important: Only use the septic tank method if you are sure that there are no harsh chemicals and soaps in your grey and black water that can kill vital bacteria inside your septic tank.

Always ensure your area allows you to dump into your residential septic tank or public sewer line before you begin the process. We also suggest talking to your neighbors to let them know that you’re dumping into the sewer line, not the storm drain, to avoid confusion or confrontation later.

I suggest investing in a flush valve if you’d like to improve hygiene levels and keep things extra clean. These valves remove solidified waste from the bottom of the RV’s black water tank, ensuring that it doesn’t fill up sooner than it should.

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Camco Dual Flush Pro Holding Tank Rinser with Gate Valve

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  • Convenient: Once set up, it’s easy to connect the RV and empty the tanks.
  • Sanitary: Direct disposal into a sewer or septic system minimizes exposure to human waste.
  • Cost-effective: No additional equipment is typically required beyond hoses and adapters.


  • Setup: Initial setup may require modifications to your sewer or septic system access.
  • Chemical Usage: Care is required with chemical additives in RV tanks as they could harm a septic system.
  • Distance Limitations: Your RV needs to be parked close to the sewer or septic system access point.

Tip: If you can’t park your RV near your home’s sewer connection, you can empty the contents of your black and gray tank into a portable waste tank and transport it to your home’s sewer connection.

2. The Macerator Method

This dumping method is slightly more complicated, but it makes the job of emptying your RV’s holding tanks much more manageable. A macerator pump will not just pump out the waste. It also helps churn the solid waste, making it quicker to dump and allowing you to use just about any size hose.

This video explains how to use the macerator pump method at home.

Empty RV Black Tanks at Home? Yes it's Possible!

High level, the macerator pump method looks like this:

  • First, connect the outlet hose of the black water holding tank to the macerator pump’s input valve.
  • Then, connect a long hose to the outlet valve and drag the hose’s end to your sewer inlet or toilet.
  • Open the black water tank’s outlet valve and turn on the macerator pump.

Tip: Use a clear elbow to see when the flow stops. You don’t want to risk burning out the macerator pump by running it dry.

Flojet Portable RV Waste Pump

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  • Effective: The macerator grinds waste into a slurry, making it easier to pump through a hose.
  • Distance: Can pump waste over long distances and even uphill to reach a sewer connection.
  • Controlled Disposal: Allows for a controlled and relatively clean disposal of waste.


  • Cost: Requires the purchase of a macerator pump and potentially additional hoses.
  • Maintenance: Macerator pumps can clog or malfunction, requiring cleaning or repair.
  • Power Requirement: Needs electrical power, which may not always be convenient.

3. The Bucket Method

Lastly, we have the bucket method. The bucket method is a very manual and labor-intensive process and has a high potential for spills and other accidents. I recommend this for small holding tanks or if you only need to empty a small amount of waste, as emptying large amounts would be a lengthy and potentially messy process.

To use the bucket method for dumping your RV’s tanks, follow these steps:

  1. Preparation
    • Gather Necessary Equipment: Obtain a sturdy bucket with a tight-sealing lid, heavy-duty gloves, a hose, and sanitizing products.
    • Wear Protective Gear: Put on gloves and any other protective gear to avoid contact with waste materials.
    • Position Your RV: Park your RV close to where you’ll be disposing of the waste to minimize the distance you’ll need to carry the bucket.
  2. Emptying the Tanks
    • Black Water Tank:
      • Connect a hose from the RV’s black water tank outlet to the bucket.
      • Open the valve to allow the waste to flow into the bucket.
      • Carefully transport the bucket to the approved disposal site and empty it.
      • Repeat the process until the black water tank is empty.
    • Gray Water Tank:
      • Follow the same process as the black water tank, but ensure to do this after the black water tank to help rinse out the hose and bucket with the relatively cleaner gray water.
  3. Cleaning and Sanitizing
    • Clean Equipment: Thoroughly clean the bucket, hose, and any other equipment used with soap and water.
    • Sanitize Equipment: Use sanitizing products to disinfect all the equipment used.
    • Wash Hands: Thoroughly wash your hands and any exposed skin with soap and water, followed by hand sanitizer.


  • Low Cost: Requires minimal additional equipment.
  • Simple: Doesn’t require any specialized knowledge or tools (just a bucket).


  • Labor Intensive: Physically demanding as it requires manually handling buckets of waste.
  • High Risk of Spills: Carrying buckets of waste poses a high risk of spills and splashes (always use a lid).
  • Sanitation Concerns: Increased exposure to waste poses health and sanitation risks.

Is It Legal to Dump RV Waste at Home?

Dumping RV blackwater and greywater tanks at home is legal, but the wastewater must go into an approved residential sewer system. Different areas may have specific local ordinances, and you should look into them as a responsible RV owner before dumping your tanks.

If you dump your RV holding tanks directly into a sanitary or municipal sewer line, you shouldn’t have any problems. Under no circumstances should you dump your RV tanks into a storm drain, as these drains often lead to reservoirs.

Draining your tanks into storm drains risks local water contamination, which could earn you a hefty fine from the city, along with some words from angry neighbors.

Is It Legal to Dump RV Tanks Into My Septic System?

If you aren’t using the main municipal sewer line, you do have the option of dumping your RV tanks directly into your septic tank.

However, consider whether you’re using environmentally friendly detergents and soaps, as harsh chemicals in the waste water can kill beneficial bacteria in your septic tank. Check out our reviews of the best RV black tank treatments for eco-friendly options.

Benefits & Risks of Emptying Your RV Tanks at Home

Emptying RV tanks at home can present both benefits and risks. Here’s a breakdown:


  1. Convenience: Emptying your tanks at home can be more convenient than finding and traveling to a dump station, especially if you have the necessary setup.
  2. Cost-Savings: Over time, you can save money as many dump stations charge a fee.
  3. Control: You have control over the cleanliness and maintenance of the disposal area.
  4. Flexibility: You can empty your tanks on your own schedule rather than being bound by the operational hours of dump stations.
  5. Hygiene: Potentially more hygienic if public dump stations are not well-maintained.


  1. Legal Compliance: There may be local regulations governing the disposal of RV waste at home, and non-compliance could result in fines or other penalties.
  2. Health Risks: Incorrect handling of RV waste can expose you to harmful bacteria and other pathogens.
  3. Environmental Impact: If not done correctly, disposing of RV waste at home could lead to contamination of soil or water sources.
  4. Damage to Property: There is a risk of spilling raw sewage, which can damage your property or create a health hazard.
  5. Septic System Strain: If your home is on a septic system, frequent dumping of RV waste could strain or damage the system, especially if harmful chemicals are used in the RV tanks.
  6. Cost of Setup: There may be initial costs involved in setting up a safe and legal RV waste disposal system at home, such as plumbing modifications or purchasing additional equipment like a macerator pump or portable RV waste tank.

1 thought on “How to Dump RV Tanks at Home the Right Way (Video)”

  1. I just have a local waste removal service come and empty my tanks out. We don’t have a sewer cleanout that I can see. It’s probably more expensive in the long run than getting a sewer hookup installed but its only a couple times a summer we need it.


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