We have taken a somewhat non-traditional approach to dumping. Most of our trailer journey has been spent without full hookups. We have had some spectacular hosts who have been very accommodating despite not really being equipped for having an RV hooked up.
This post is about dumping, not what type of hookups we have for water and electric so lets jump right in, metaphorically of course cause no one wants to be covered in what’s coming out of the black tank.
Dumping into… What?
Our current hosts recently had their septic tank emptied so their tank lids are now out in the open. These lids are meant for easy, non-dig, access to the tank for any future need to pump/empty the tank.
Here you can see the green lid with screws holding it into the ground. When you remove this green lid you will find the actual septic tank access, ew.
Before we remove the green cap or the septic tank lid itself we like to get the trailer side of things ready. I feel like this is a relatively typical setup. We always start with our Camco Rhino elbow, this allows us to see the condition of what’s coming out. Too many clumps, too much TP etc. The elbow also has an anti back-flow connection for you to hookup a hose that will spray into the black tank, it is so useful to help loosen clogs and rinse your tubing out when your done.
Following the elbow you can see we have the rest of our dumping line. Our personal preference for this has been the camco 10ft sewer hose. Despite being parked quiet far from the septic access we chose to go with four of the 10ft hose. We can connect as many as we need together for a total of 40ft of leak free sewage moving. Once we have the hoses all connected together and to the trailer we take our designated end hose and set it next to the septic access. At this point we go ahead and remove the green lid.
What do we do once we have the green lid off, well first and foremost we do a kid and pet check. Are the kids in the trailer, are the dogs in the house and where did the cat go? Yeah, sir Mousealot likes to check out what is going on with us and our poop. With this method of dumping you need to make sure everyone who could fall into the septic tank can’t get to the septic tank. The likelihood of anyone falling in is incredibly low but we like to play it safe. Assuming everyone is safe you can proceed to lift the septic lid, a crow bar or certain tire irons can be used to help with reach if necessary.
Once there is enough room for the end of our designated hose to slip in we place it into the septic tank with enough length that we can be sure all of the sewage will be going into the tank. After it is down far enough we set the septic lid down on the hose (barfing face here). It inevitably gets a little gross from the septic lid. This is why we only have one hose that we use for the end. If you are wondering about how it stays in place I’m going to point out that the septic lid is concrete, weighing 30-40 lbs. It is heavy enough to hold the hose in place. The hose is like an accordion and would snap back if it wasn’t secure, we would know right away if it wasn’t going to stay in place. I’ll admit I am happy this part is not my job.
Time to triple check for pets or anything that might interfere with dumping, we don’t want anything around (animals, people, vehicles) that could mess with our hose once we have that black tank open. Time to let it all flow. Up at the trailer side we open the black tank. Lately we have had some clogs and have had to do quiet a bit of troubleshooting. I don’t want to get too into that cause it really was not fun. However most of the time we found that using the elbow sprayer solves the issue. For more persistent clogs we had, we had to use the sprayer that goes into the toilet side (Pictured below). For the especially bad clog and when all else failed we got creative. If you want to skip that bit go right ahead and jump to “Finishing up”.
Our Creative Solution to an icky issue
Creative solution to an especially clogged black tank. I don’t know that I would advise anyone to try this with their own trailer. First we closed our black tank and then we held the middle of our sewer hose up while we ran our anti back-flow hose. This allowed our sewer hose to fill up with fresh water. Once we felt there was a sufficient amount or water in the hose we shut off the anti backflow hose. So imagine all that water pushing back into the tank all at once,we opened the black tank back up and swoosh plug eliminated, right? Not exactly. We had to do it a couple times before we got all the offending matter out of our tank.
I personally would love to be able to tell you exactly what caused such a massive clog in our tank but I am not %100 sure. The last time we had a bad clog, albeit of lesser impact, it was because we had used Charmin extra strong toilet paper. Whoops! We have been using what I thought was septic friendly toilet paper and the tank probiotics that usually eat up all the solids. Did we get a bad pack? Or maybe the toilet paper has been building up and we didn’t notice. Either was there’s about to be some changes around here. Once we have it all figured out, I’ll leave an update. Maybe you have been having similar issues. If you have I would love to hear about your creative solutions or any product changes you may have had to make.
After our black tank is sufficiently “Dumped” we close the valve and flush our hose with grey water, then follow up with a fresh water rinse courtesy of our anti back flow hose! Can you tell I love that thing?!
Disconnecting the hose is pretty easy. We get the individual caps ready for our hose before we disconnect them from each other. Starting with the one closest to the trailer we disconnect and cap one end at a time until we get to the last hose. The last hose is then /carefully/ removed from the septic tank and the lids is returned to its place. All the hoses are capped and bagged. The designated end hose is kept separate. We screw the green lid back into place over the septic tank and viola. Mission accomplished, black tank dumped!
Below you can find links to some of the products we use to dump our RVs black tank. These are amazon affiliate links. If you click on them I get a small portion of the sale but your price wont be affected.