Whether you’re traveling full time or just going on a quick getaway, it’s always important to know where you can dump your RV holding tanks! Especially if you're new to RVing, dumping your tanks and knowing where to do it can feel like a hassle. But we're here to set your mind at ease! In this article, we'll cover how to find dump locations close to you!
Before we jump in, let’s define exactly what we’re talking about. Unless we say otherwise, when we use the term “dumping,” we are referring to both gray and black holding tanks. We include this disclaimer mainly because there are strict rules in outdoor areas (e.g., National Parks and National Forests) about “dumping” your RV holding tanks in any capacity.
So what are those “strict rules”? Well, it’s important to know that all open dumping of either your black or gray tank is prohibited on national park land and national forest property. “Open dumping” is when you release either the waste from your black tank or your gray tank without being hooked up to a proper waste disposal location. In essence, just letting your tank empty into the forest (not a good idea)! Open dumping is illegal, and when waste isn't dealt with properly, it can cause huge issues for the environment and the park. Check out this article as a reference.
There are very few exceptions to this rule, so always be safe and check with a local park station or visitor center to find local laws and regulations.
There are a number of consistent dump locations that are often easy to find nation-wide. Some of the most common can be found at truck stops/travel centers, RV parks/campgrounds, and National Park supplied dump stations. Usually, it doesn't cost too much to dump your waste, and if you are staying at a RV park, it will often be included in the cost of your stay. If you're just stopping in, some locations will still allow you to dump free of charge.
Most travel centers and truck stops will have an option in the facility that will allow RVers to dump their tanks. For example, most Pilot/Flying J locations will have an option to dump. If you are unsure, always call ahead of time or research online. Prices can vary but are often very affordable. In reality you shouldn't often need to dump at a truck stop, but it’s always good to know they are a viable option!
While you’re on the road, many of the facilities you camp at will allow for dumping. Hotels are one notable exception. However, if you're staying at an RV park or campground, there will almost always be a place for you to dump your black and gray tank waste. RV parks and campgrounds will usually let you dump for a fee, even if you aren't a guest of the campground. As always, be sure to call ahead before you arrive. Sometimes dumping is reserved only for visitors of the campground, or the dumping location can only be accessed from a campsite. It varies from location to location, so make sure you check!
Oftentimes, campgrounds within National Parks will not have RV hookups, which can make it a chore to find a location that has a hookup or even a dump station. If you run into this issue, call the local National Park Visitor Center or Ranger Station for help. They will have a full list of dumping locations within and/or outside of the park for RVers to use.
It can sometimes be quite a hassle to find a place that allows you to dump your RV’s holding tanks, but as time goes on, it’s becoming easier! Nowadays, a quick Google search can garner great resources for your trip, allowing you to keep your mind on the road. In the next section, we’ll talk about the best resources to help you find a dump location.
In our modern age, the internet has become an invaluable resource for RVers! Here are a couple of the resources we recommend to anyone looking for a place to dump their tanks:
Both of these websites work great to find locations near you. Alternatively, you could also type “RV dump stations near me” into Google and call the possible options closest to you.
There are also a few apps on Apple’s App Store that can help a lot, including Allstays. AllStays is a great app for Apple IOS (iPhones) that will consistently point you in the right direction for all RVing and camping needs. Moreover, AllStays can provide locations for parks, dealers, and attractions, ultimately helping you on your quest for a dump station. The biggest drawback to AllStays is that—at $9.99—it costs a bit more than most apps, so shop at your own discretion.
In the interest of being honest, we aren't getting paid to promote these resources! They are simply a few of the best options that will help you to dump your tanks while you're on the move!
Did you like what you just read? Check out some of our other related resources!+ Preventing Clogs In Your Holding Tank
Many people may wonder, “Is a tank flush really that necessary?”. We recommend that you thoroughly flush out your black water holding tank for 20-30 minutes every 3-5 dumps.
Dumping your RV black water holding tank is an essential part of RV camping. Unlike home septic systems, which only need to be emptied (or “pumped”) every few years, RV black tanks need to be emptied every 3-5 days!
Today we’ll discuss why regular dumping is a crucial component of RV camping!