How To Dump Your Holding Tanks At Home

October 29, 2019

Learn how to effectively dump your holding tanks at home. Quick easy tips for Septic owners and homes on city sewer.

Key Points:

  • Do not dump your tanks at home UNLESS you are on a septic system AND you have used septic-safe cleaners in your RV’s wastewater tanks. OR if you are on city sewer with a professionally installed cleanout.
  • Always check local codes, and with your HOA if you have one, to make sure dumping your RV’s waste water tanks is allowable in your community.
  • There are three major methods for emptying your RV’s tanks at home: Using a bucket, using a macerator pump, and dumping directly into a cleanout port without macerating.
  • If you only have a few gallons of waste you need to get out of your tanks, the bucket method may be your easiest method and it involves emptying waste from your RV directly into a bucket and then emptying the bucket into your septic tank.
  • A more complicated and expensive option is to macerate your RV’s waste before you empty it into your septic tank. This process involves purchasing a macerating pump that will chop waste into a smoothie-like consistency. The waste can then easily be funneled into your home’s septic tank/cleanout port. With this option, it is important not to overload your tank by pumping too much waste into it at once.
  • Perhaps the easiest option is to connect your RV directly to your home’s septic system without first macerating the waste. With this option, it is important not to overload your tank by pumping too much waste into it at once.
  • Use caution when emptying waste directly into your home’s septic tank or cleanout. There are harmful gases in sewer lines and wastewater that can be fatal if inhaled. Moreover, leaving the lid off of your septic tank for too long can kill the bacteria in the tank. See below for more information.
  • Septic Systems are sensitive to hazardous chemicals. If you are dumping into any septic system, it’s important to make sure you aren’t dumping hazardous chemicals with your black or gray water waste i.e. holding tank treatments, soaps, or cleaners that are antibacterial.

Disclaimer: Before beginning, make sure you check with local laws and regulations to make sure you can legally dispose of waste at home.

It’s a common question asked by RVers: can you dump your RV’s waste at home? The short answer is, yes, you can dump your RV’s waste at home, and there are several ways to do it. Indeed, many RVers have good reasons not to empty their tanks at dump stations, and if you’d rather do it yourself, we’re here to tell you how!

Now, we must be clear that dumping your tank at home certainly takes some time, effort, care, and responsibility, and it’s important to learn how to do it correctly. If you don’t feel comfortable dumping your tanks at home, we always recommend that you empty your tanks at a dump station. Dumping your holding tanks at home can be messy, and if you aren’t on a septic system, it’s often not worth the time and effort. This article will provide you with the details you’ll need in order to find a dump station near you. The only time we recommend you dump your holding tanks at home is when you have a professionally installed cleanout. Whether you’re on a septic system or city sewer, a cleanout is required to safely dispose of waste.

But for the purposes of this article, let’s assume you are either on a septic system or on city sewer with a cleanout.

Here’s a few basic ways to do it:

  1. Using a bucket (works best for smaller amounts of waste).
  2. By macerating or mashing.
  3. Dumping directly into your home’s septic tank or cleanout without macerating.

Important: Before we jump in, it is very crucial that you not simply empty your gray or black water tanks into your toilet. Toilets are not built for the volume of waste that can come from RV holding tanks. You will get clogs if you try to dump your holding tanks into your toilet.

Using a Bucket

This method works best when you have only a small amount of waste in your RV’s holding tanks, so it is probably smart not to attempt it if you have a larger amount. We recommend that you only use this technique if you have just a few gallons of waste in your tanks. Since many RVers won’t want to make a trip to the dump station for just a few gallons, we suspect that this is the home dumping option that most RVers will end up using at some point.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Obtain a bucket (a 5-gallon bucket will probably work best).
  2. Place the bucket under either your gray or black water tank, open the valve carefully, and fill the bucket with waste, closing the valve when you have finished. You might want to plug your nose and wear gloves!
  3. Dump the bucket into your home’s cleanout port (septic or city sewer). The cleanout is a PVC pipe located above ground (normally between your house and the tank or your house and the sewer) that has a screwcap. Simply unscrew the cap and pour the waste directly into the cleanout.*
  4. Repeat the above steps until your gray or black water tank is empty. Clean and disinfect the bucket.

*If your septic tank does not have a cleanout, you can use an access port. Use caution if you decide to use this option. There are extremely dangerous gases inside your septic tank that can be fatal if inhaled. Be sure to use the access port that is closest to your home.

In the middle of your septic tank there is a baffle that keeps sludge (solid waste) from clogging your outlet. Therefore, if you pour on the wrong side of the baffle, you risk clogging your tank. Moreover, do not leave the lid of your access port off for too long. This can kill the bacteria in your tank that help to break down waste. While some sources recommend dumping into your toilet, we highly discourage this. Doing so can cause clogs in your plumbing that will ultimately lead to expensive, stressful repairs. If you do not have a septic system at your home, we recommend that you go ahead and dump your RV’s tanks at a dump station.


If the bucket method is a bit too gross for you, there’s another option, although, a pretty complicated one! This option involves macerating your waste using a special macerator pump that chops the waste into a smoothie-like consistency. The macerator pump then connects directly to a garden hose, and the macerated waste can be channeled to your home’s septic tank or cleanout port. Again, many sources recommend funneling the waste into your toilet and flushing it. However, there is a large margin for error here, and you could end up with a huge mess! We recommend you dump into your cleanout port to avoid the hassle. As a general rule, we recommend using septic-safe holding tank treatments in your RV wastewater if you are going to dump into your septic system. Antibacterial products are extremely detrimental to septic systems and can cause major problems down the road.

Additionally, as we stated above, we do not recommend dumping large amounts of waste into your toilet at once, even if it is macerated. Doing so can cause clogs and backups in your plumbing, which will ultimately lead to expensive repairs. Once again, if you don’t have a cleanout port for your home or septic system, we strongly recommend that you simply visit a dump station.

If you do have a home septic system, and you want to macerate your waste before you dump it into your septic tank (doing so will aid in the breakdown process, although it is not absolutely necessary), then here’s how to do it.

You’ll need:

  • An RV waste macerator pump. Generally, these can be obtained for between $100 and $200.
  • A hose adapter to connect to your RV.
  • A CDFJ adapter to connect your macerator pump to your garden hose.
  • A garden hose. It’s probably a good idea to dedicate one hose for this!

Follow these steps to empty your tank using the macerator pump technique:

  1. Using the hose adapter, connect your macerator pump to your RV’s waste outlet.
  2. Using the CDFJ adapter, connect your macerator pump to your garden hose.
  3. Place the other end of your garden hose into your home’s septic tank.
  4. Shortening the distance that the waste must travel through the garden hose will help speed the process and not strain your pump as much.
  5. Plug in your macerator pump.
  6. Open your RV’s waste outlet valve and turn on your macerator pump.
  7. Pour clean water into your RV’s system until it is clean.
  8. When the water coming out of your RV is clear, you’ve successfully emptied your tank! Disconnect everything, and you’re done!

Of course, this method is a little time consuming, and it will cost you a bit of money to obtain everything you’ll need, but if you’re willing to put in some work, this method is highly effective for dumping at home.

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Dumping Your Tanks Without Macerating

The last option is to dump your gray or black water tanks without macerating. As with the other options, you will be using your homes cleanout or access port (on septic system or city sewer). This is perhaps the simplest method so far, as it only requires that you connect your RV’s black or gray water tanks to your cleanout port using your sewer hose, and flush the waste out.

However (and this holds true for all of the methods in this article), we must stress that you should not dump chemicals into your septic tank. If you have been using caustic chemical products to clean your RV’s toilet bowl or to mask smells in your holding tanks (which is not a great option!), you should NOT empty your RV’s tanks into your home’s septic system. Your septic system functions by using bacteria to break down waste. Chemicals will bring this process to a halt by killing off bacteria, which can cause clogs in your septic tank, flow back into your home, and leakage out into the surrounding environment.

Avoid putting chemicals into your septic tank at all costs! We recommend using a non-hazardous and safe holding tank treatments if you plan to dump into a septic system.

Furthermore, if you decide to use this option, you should empty waste into your home’s cleanout port slowly. If waste is added too quickly, the tank can become overloaded and push undissolved waste into your drainage system. Also, if you are accessing your septic tank via the access lid, be careful to disturb the scum layer as little as possible. Dumping directly into your septic has the potential to be very damaging to your septic, so great care must be taken.

We hope this article has helped you learn what you need to know about dumping your RV at home! Again, if you feel at all uncomfortable with any of the procedures outlined above, we recommend that you simply dump your RV at a dump station. Once again, this article outlines how to find dump stations near you. If, after reading this article, you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us at! We love to help our customers!

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