Saturday, June 3, 2023


Don’t ever do these 6 things at the dump station!

Don’t do these things at the dump station! There are a few important rules of dump station etiquette that are for everyone, not just newbies. I was recently reminded of this…

After a season with mostly full hookups and no need to go to a dump station, I was first surprised by the line… until I realized that it was Sunday and the weekend warriors were on their way back to their day jobs. We have been full-time RVing for so long I forgot about the Sunday line. It was taking a very long time and, not known for my patience, I tried to figure out what was wrong. What I saw was a good reminder.

What not to do at a dump station

Do NOT flush your tanks when there is a line of RVs behind waiting to dump. It was a long, slow line. As I craned my neck to see what was taking so long, I saw that the RV in front was flushing, FLUSHING their black tank.

Do NOT flush with a fresh water hose. The fresh water hose will become a harbinger of contaminants and can cause severe illness. Always flush with a different hose, particularly a different color for quick identification.

Do NOT read the instruction manual when you arrive! It is too late. Read the instruction manual before coming to the station. Even better, ask someone what to do. RVers love to help others.

Do NOT rinse the sewer hose at the fresh water faucet. Their RV creeped forward and while I thought they were putting their sewer hose away. I realized they had actually rinsed the sewer hose hugged up to fresh water fill faucet. Rinse the sewer hose at the dump station that has the dedicated rinse hose. Note to self: Spray fresh water faucets with disinfectant at the dump station and at the campsite!

Photo Credit Nanci Dixon
Drinking water faucet

5. Do NOT leave spillage at dump station. Clean up the nasties. Rinse area clean for safety and for the next people.

Phot credit Nanci Dixon
Wash spillage

6. Do NOT leave garbage, gloves, rags, paper at dump station. Pick it up and toss in garbage can or take with you.

As the summer season ramps up and more RVs will be sharing the dump stations across the country, it is good to remember this proper etiquette and that we want to share the station, not the germs.



Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.


4.2 19 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

Glad I am able to dump at home and don’t have to deal with the inconsiderate idiots.

1 month ago
Reply to  Chuck

Agreed, dump and/or flush at home. Dump stations be a last resort for holding tank maintenance.

Thomas D
1 month ago

There’s flush and there’s sanitize. Dump and get the heck out of the way. I’ve met people cleaning like they want a pure tank. Ain’t gonna happen. A five gallon bucket at home and carry it to the toilet a few times. That’ll change your mind. Just remember, long line? Everyone is waiting along with YOU.

1 month ago

And to prevent a mess I always run the gray tank first for a few seconds to make sure all my connections are tight….

Neal Davis
1 month ago

Thank you, Nanci! All six should be displayed at the entrance to each dump station, and at each dump station. Also, a sign that introduces the six by saying, “Thank you for being a good RVer who does not” … and then list the six again. All campground material provided to guests should also contain the six. Perhaps get RIVA to require they be displayed within each RV wet bay, too. Oh, I forgot to say that I really, really, really agree with you and the six admonishments/rules/edicts. Thanks again! 🙂 😎

Last edited 1 month ago by Neal Davis
Bill Byerly
1 month ago
Reply to  Neal Davis

Couldn’t have said it better than you Neal..
And another thank you to Nanci !

Gary W.
1 month ago

There is always going to be some “stuff” left in the black tank. After I get home, sometime the next week I go to the nearest RV park and they let me do a proper dump and flush for 10 bucks.

1 month ago

We’ve seen all sorts of people at dump stations! While waiting in a long line for someone to clean the tank, meticulously, a woman from the Class A behind ours asked if she could go in and look at ours – as theirs was also a Winnie Vectra but 10 years newer! This didn’t cause any delay to the dump. When I dump, that’s all I do if there is line behind me. When I get home I take a bucket and hose and clean the tank, dumping the bucket in the home toilet. If you are so inclined to flush your tank(s), might I suggest you get to the dump station at 6:00 a.m., since the majority will arrive around 9 or 10 am.. No conflicts that way!

William McGullam Sr.
1 month ago

I agree with most of these suggestions but I’m certainly not going to skip thoroughly flushing out my black tank! It’s probably the MOST important part of the dump process… not everything comes out the first time you empty the tank. I’m not leaving extra poop & paper sitting in the bottom of my tank just to satisfy some impatient camper that wants to get home just to do whatever. If you don’t have time to wait for others to do a PROPER flush of their holding tanks then arrive at the dump station at 6am or skip the line altogether and take your 💩 home with you!

Last edited 1 month ago by William McGullam Sr.
Laura G
1 month ago


Will B.
1 month ago

Yes, get there early if you want to flush. If there’s a line of people waiting, it’s just not appropriate. There ARE dump stations that aren’t at a campground where more leisurely time may be taken.

Chuck Badger
1 month ago

I agree! We have to store our camper, and do not have a way to dump at home. We always try to leave on a Monday, while most folks have left on Sunday. Very short line, if any. I always want to make sure my black tank has a minimum of waste left in it.

1 month ago

Why don’t you get there early if you want to have your black tank thoroughly rinsed?
Unless it is the last trip of the season you do not want it to be completely empty / dry anyway. That is what causes problems with the tank.
Put as much water in the black tank as you can before leaving your site. This will give you a good dump that will do far more than the black tank flusher ever will. If you use the flush for anything put a gallon of water in the tank to keep things from drying out before the next trip. You can do this while waiting for the gray water to empty.

1 month ago

Wait, you want everyone else to get to the dump early so when you get there at the busiest time you can take your time flushing your black tank . . . .even if there is a line of people waiting?

1 month ago


Kurt Belyeu
1 month ago

It’s a sloped tank, a flush every time isn’t necessary.

Don H
1 month ago

THANK YOU Nanci, for good advice that should be obvious to anyone with a shred of common-sense or concern for their fellow RV’ers. But you will note from the comments below that there are still plenty of the self-obsessed who think it’s their God-given right to take as much time as necessary to flush the black tank and do whatever else they believe they “have to do” at the dump station.
Dear self-obsessed campers: If you believe that you’re accomplishing anything by flushing that tank, ask yourself “how many bacteria do you suppose remain behind, no matter how much you flush”? and “what difference does it make if there’s 1/2″ of sewage remaining in a tank that’s MADE for sewage”??? PLEASE – stop allowing your ignorance to inconvenience long lines of your fellow RV’ers. Do your business and move on!

Jim Johnson
1 month ago

I see more and more people who seem to think the world was made specifically for them to do as they please with little or no thought about other people. Let me elaborate… they rarely intend to be malicious, they just don’t see the world beyond themselves and what they perceive as their immediate needs. And a subset of that personality gets angry when the world doesn’t work the way they think it should.

1 month ago

Love my masacater, even if I cannot spell it.

Don H
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

Because? I had one, and ditched it immediately after a macerator malfunction ended in my getting a “sh*t shower” one morning. It’s slow, and there’s no way you can adequately flush that garden hose you’re pumping thru. My advice – dump it before it dumps ON you.

Charlie Sullivan
1 month ago
Reply to  Don H

. Really? There has never been a malfunction on a 4″ hose? It is slower, but I CAN adequately flush the hose: After black tank is emptied, shut off macerator pump, open grey water drain valve and back flush into the black tank. Close grey tank valve, start pump, and empty black tank again, then close black tank valve and open grey tank valve. Empty grey tank…which flushes the sewer line at the same time. No messy stinky sewer hose to connect and disconnect. I love our macerator toilet and discharge system and it’s been trouble free for the 10 years we’ve had it.

Gary W.
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

I think that is your mouth.
Oh, wait, that’s masticator. Lol.

Last edited 1 month ago by Gary W.
1 month ago
Reply to  Gary W.

I’ve been masticating 2 or 3 times a day since I was 3 years old. I enjoy doing it.

1 month ago

IF there is a garbage can you can put your trash in it. Not sure why so many dump stations do not trash cans by the dump station, or even in the general vicinity! No one wants to put their gloves and other dump trash back in their vehicle…we do, but….I understand why many leave it behind in that scenario.

Laura G
1 month ago
Reply to  Michelle

We always carry shopping or trash bags in our tow vehicle for just the situation where there is no trash can. There is zero excuse to leave behind trash, especially toxic trash.

Bob P
1 month ago

I know I’m not qualified to comment on every dump station but the ones I’ve used there was no way to flush the black tank with the hose provided as there wasn’t a fitting on the hose. There also wasn’t a fresh water to fill your water tank within 200’. Sounds like a very unsanitary situation to have a fresh water spigot next to a dump station or was that a poetic license thing just for the article.

1 month ago
Reply to  Bob P

Wow, that’s pretty suspicious thinking, the author said they observed a rig creep forward and then use the fresh hose. Many stations have the fresh separated by maybe 20-30′ thinking that’s enough distance, but there is no planning for these kinds of, um, people. You may see some standard kind of setup in your trips, but I promise you there are many, many kinds of setups across the country.

1 month ago

I agree you never use fresh water hose or potable water connection for dump station duties.

But I disagree that you shouldn’t flush your black tank. Some of us only have one chance to do this task – and that is as we leave to go back home after a weekend.

The big problem is not being efficient while at the front of the line. We have seen people chitchatting and checking other things between sewer issues. And those who don’t seem to know what they are doing take much longer…how about the guy who meticulously repacks everything while everyone else waits? That is when you pull up to finish and let the next guy start his chore.

We all know it takes time to do the task correctly so we understand the wait and use our patience. Or if we have planned well, we don’t dump during the peak time.

1 month ago
Reply to  Jewel

Those same people use boat ramps, just more of them.

1 month ago
Reply to  Jewel

Agreed Jewel, I always flush my black tank if there is a hose provided that I can connect to, unfortunately, many rest stops that have a dump station don’t have a connection, just a rubber hose without a male connection

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago
Reply to  Joel

That’s where you figure out a way to deploy your “water thief”.

Capt. Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Beat me to it…

1 month ago
Reply to  Jewel

Agree. I don’t have but one chance to clean my tank properly before storing it again for an extended time. If you can’t wait, take your stuff home.

1 month ago
Reply to  Barry

I usually do a quick flush when I dump my tank, but I’ve seen some people who will flush for 10 minutes until the tank is completely clean. This is what’s aggravating, flush once and be done.

1 month ago

Thanks for these reminders. Now if only people will read & remember them! Too often we see campers dump & disconnect using unsafe techniques putting themselves & others at risk. Last night the campers next to us were attempting to dump at 9:30 pm using their iPhone flashlight. I have no patience for those who can’t be bothered to learn before attempting a new activity. I have even less patience for those who refuse to change bad behaviors or learn a better procedure. Camping is fun but it only takes one idiot to make it unsafe.

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.