By Dave Helgeson
A while back I wrote about the venerable sewer hose and how one day it may become obsolete and relegated to the past. Well, some engineer at the Nevada Department of Transportation made an attempt to obsolete the sewer hose. They did this by creating a dump station where the use of a sewer hose is not an option!
No sewer hose needed at this dump station!
Now, through the years I have experienced my share of poorly designed dump stations where little thought or research, if any, was done. If you have been RVing for any length of time you know what I am referring to. An issue can be that it’s sloped the wrong direction or there’s no apron to catch spills. Maybe it’s located up or over a curb, or you are unable to insert your sewer hose more than an inch or two. Or maybe it’s located on a circular drive where you can’t align with it, etc. Much thought was probably put into the design of the dump station I am about to share. However, it is an epic failure in my opinion.
When I first pulled into the dump station at the Cosgrave Rest Area, located at Exit 158 on I-80 south of Winnemucca, Nevada, I could see this was not your typical dump station. There was more of an abrupt trench than an apron to catch potential spilled waste and direct it to the sewer receptacle. Plus, there was a steel plate at the end of the trench farthest from the receptacle. I surmised that the original trench was too long and the plate had been installed to keep RVers from driving into it.
Definitely not your normal dump station
Upon exiting my truck to commence dumping, I quickly realized this was definitely not your normal dump station. First, there was a grate preventing me from placing my sewer hose into the sewer receptacle at the low end of the trench. I tried to lift the grate but it was bolted in place. The only potential for waste to enter the sewer receptacle was through about a 2” slot along the bottom. But it was much too small to slide a sewer hose through.
After reading the posted instructions, I came to the disgusting conclusion that utilizing a sewer hose was not part of the equation! Needing to dump and being somewhat intrigued, I thought, “Why not?” I made sure the termination outlet of my RV was centered over the trench and “let ‘er rip.” Unfortunately, this quickly pointed out the shortcomings of this design.
Why this dump station design doesn’t work
Rather than graphically describe what occurred, I will point out what design flaws came into play:
- Since we are on a spinning planet, fluids tend to circle a drain rather than flow to and down it. This is known as the Coriolis effect.
- The trench doesn’t have adequate slope to prevent liquid waste and the solids within from boomeranging past the sewer receptacle and flowing back up the trench.
- The button to activate the sprayers is under the steel plate mentioned above. But pushing it adds more fluid to the mess circling and back-flowing from the sewer receptacle area under the grate.
- Wind is a force of nature that tends to blow things from their intended location.
- The spray nozzles face towards the button you need to push to activate them.
An added problem is one of the spray nozzles intended to flush the trench was partially plugged or aimed in the wrong direction. So the trench wasn’t being cleaned in a thorough and timely fashion.
Watch the dump station in action
Following is a video of the dump station explaining the design. Note: I chose not to provide an actual demonstration using the contents of my holding tanks!
[Editor: Please excuse the spelling on video. It should be Cosgrave, NV.]
As gross as this design and process is, there are a few positives:
- You are able to determine if the toilet tissue you are using fully dissolves in your black tank!
- You don’t need to use or flush your sewer hose when done.
- There’s no need to don rubber gloves. But you may need to sanitize your shoes and other apparel if the wind is blowing when you dump!
Final thought on this design. Since you don’t need to use your sewer hose, why is there a hose bib at the dump station? It’s painted red, but it’s not labeled as “not potable.” Hmmm. Fill your freshwater tank? Wash your shoes maybe???
What are your thoughts on this dump station setup? Feel free to leave a comment below.