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How To Dump Your Black and Gray Tanks

March 03, 2020

Learn how to dump your gray and black tanks - proper safety tips and best practices.

Key Points: 

  1. There are many designated locations across the U.S. to dump your black and gray water tanks. These locations can often be found at truck stops or travel centers, RV parks or campgrounds, and/or National Parks. 
  2. Dumping your black water tank is easy and simple if you follow the right steps. Please see the instructions below.
  3. Similarly, dumping your gray water tank is very easy. Please follow the steps below. 
  4. If you are dealing with a clogged black tank, never fear! There are easy solutions to this issue (see below) that will unclog your tank and allow you to dump it. 
  5. Proper tank maintenance will help to prevent clogs and tank malfunctions, making it that much easier for you when it comes time to dump your tanks. 

Even if you're new to RVing, you've probably heard of dumping your holding tanks! It’s the job no one wants to do! Unfortunately, this job must be done, but here’s the good news: it doesn’t have to be a difficult or nasty affair. It can actually be quite easy. In this article, we'll cover how to easily dump your black and gray tanks, as well as easily solving some of the issues you may face.


How to Dump Black Water Tank

Your black water tank is the “nasty” one—the tank everyone avoids dumping. But when following the right procedures and with a little practice, it’s not actually that difficult to dump your black tank. In fact, the entire process can take less than 15 minutes!

You might be asking, Where can I dump my black water tank? First off, it is very important that you not dump your tank on National Park or National Forest land! All open dumping on National Park and National Forest land is prohibited by law. Open dumping means that you allow the waste to be released from your RV without having it connected to a proper waste disposal location (i.e., you just let waste flow out into the forest!). Just by using common sense, it’s easy to see that it’s rarely ever okay to open dump. For more information, see this reference

Thankfully, there are tons of legal locations to dump your tank! Truck stops and travel centers often have dump stations, as well as RV parks/campgrounds and designated National Park dump stations. Most locations will require a small fee, but it is often included in the cost of staying at the park. Other locations may be free.

You can also, if you have a home septic system, choose to dump your tanks into your septic tank. Please see this article on dumping at home for more information about doing this the right way!

After you’ve located a place to dump your tank, follow these easy steps to safely and effectively dump your black tank:

  1. Put on a pair of rubber gloves (for safety and cleanliness!).
  2. After you’ve hooked up one end of your sewage drain hose to the black tank valve on your RV, securely connect the other end to the valve at the dumping station. 
  3. Open the valve on your RV and allow the tank to completely empty. 
  4. Use clean water to flush out the black tank. Make sure all the water has drained out before you move on to the next step. 
  5. Close the valve on your RV and remove the hose. 
  6. Before you disconnect the hose from the dumping station’s valve, rinse out the hose with more water. 
  7. Disconnect the hose completely, allow it to dry out, and properly store it.

Congratulations; you’ve successfully dumped your black tank!


How to Dump Your Gray Water Tank

Unlike the black tank, the gray tank is a lot less gross to dump, and the steps are even easier! Of course, like the black tank, open dumping is prohibited by law in almost every area, and we do not advise it. Make sure that you dump your gray water tank at a proper waste disposal location. Again, there are many locations to dump your gray tank, which (to make it convenient) can be completed at the same time you dump your black tank. 

The steps for dumping your gray water tank are pretty much the same as those you used when dumping your black tank:

  1. Put on a pair of rubber gloves. (It is not as important for you to wear gloves when dumping your gray tank, but we still advise it—just to be safe!)
  2. After you’ve hooked up one end of your sewage drain hose to the gray tank valve on your RV, securely connect the other end to the valve at the dumping station. 
  3. Open the valve on your RV and allow the tank to completely empty.
  4. Use clean water to flush out the gray tank. Make sure all the water has drained out before you move on to the next step. 
  5. Close the valve on your RV and remove the hose. 
  6. Before you disconnect the hose from the dumping station’s valve, rinse out the hose with more water. 
  7. Disconnect the hose completely, allow it to dry out, and properly store it.

You’re done!


My holding tank is clogged! How do I unclog it so I can dump it?

What if your RV black tank won’t dump? In rare cases, RVers may run into issues while dumping their tanks, and these can often be due to clogs. For instance, a compacted tank will keep you from emptying your tank, because a layer of waste has built up on the bottom of your tank and/or clogged your drainage port. Clogs will almost always occur in the black tank, since the solid waste can easily build up if the tank is not properly maintained. 

We’ve already covered this issue in a previous blog, Unclogging An RV Toilet, which you can access by touching or clicking the link above. However, for the purposes of review, most clogged toilets are the result of pyramid plugs. A pyramid plug is literally a pile of poop that builds up in the shape of a pyramid inside your black tank, clogging up your toilet! (Gross, we know!) 

To get rid of a pyramid plug, some places will charge you exorbitant rates to use a spray wand, allowing you to break up the plug. However, there is an easier way. Unique Tank Cleaner uses safe bacteria to eat all the waste in that pyramid plug. Once Tank Cleaner has broken down the solid plug into liquid, you can easily dump your black tank following the steps outlined above. It is the easy, effective solution to an often vexing and all-too-common problem!







Tank Cleaning and Beyond

Beyond removing a plug after it has developed, proper tank maintenance can prevent these clogs from ever materializing. We have developed a comprehensive, proven method for treating RV waste water systems. We call it The Unique Method. The Unique Method is the result of years of countless conversations with RVers all over the country, and it has been shown to really work! It is easy to follow and will completely prevent things like pyramid plugs, making the process of dumping your tank that much easier! To read more about the Unique Method, click here.


Conclusion

While the process of dumping your black and gray water tanks may seem daunting—especially if you’re a new RVer—it is quite easy if you follow the right steps. Furthermore, if you properly maintain your tanks, the process will become all but effortless! If you have any questions or concerns about dumping your tanks, preventing clogs, or tank maintenance—or simply have some comments!—please feel free to reach out to us at support@uniquemm.com. We would love to help you!







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