Friday, December 9, 2022


How about some dump station decorum?


By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Most of us picked up on life’s little niceties when we were young, say, in kindergarten. Sharing. Taking turns. Working at developing patience. For the most part we see it in our fellow RVers – courtesy seems like a general rule among most. But still, there are areas where it seems like some need those little “gentle reminders.”

For those who spend months camped out on government land outside of Quartzsite, Arizona, you already know most of the drill. With thousands of RVers plunked down on four Long Term Visitor Areas, and limited dump stations to serve all, lines leading up to those spots can get pretty long. We used to count the number of rigs lined up, multiply that by five, and know just about how many minutes the last guy in line would have to wait for his turn. All in all, most folks acted fairly sanely, but at times there were little altercations where somebody who just couldn’t stand the wait just had to try and cut the line.

Sometimes, during the big rush of the day, somebody (maybe they were greenhorns) would get the bright idea that this was THE time to try and really flush out his holding tank. Mount that special device, pull hoses, and wishy-washy that blank tank for all they were worth. Instead of taking the typical ten minutes to clear one of the two dump lines, they could take 20 minutes or even more. We often wanted to politely suggest that coming back late in the afternoon was a good time for protracted proctology, but we kept our mouths shut.

Another trick of some (who we hope were merely ignorant) was to either dump with a leaky hose or, heaven forbid, no hose at all. Maybe they’d make a half-hearted attempt to flush away their fecal followings, but in any event, these characters really left something behind to remember them by.

dump-station-litterRolling up to a free dump station one morning in Pendleton, Oregon, we found yet another calling card of folks that need a little education. Free dump stations, as most know, are a vanishing breed. If you find them, treat them with care and respect – too much of a good thing often gets shut down. But nope, it looks as though for some free means “disrespect.” Lemme tell you about that.

Years back, when we first started RVing, sanitary concerns and health awareness weren’t what they are today. Us “he man” RVers would roll up, sling hoses, and dump tanks in our bare hands. What, me worry? Eventually awareness arrived, and more and more RVers are embracing the idea of putting on a little protection when they dump tanks.

We found that clearly in evidence today: A big pile of discarded rubber gloves, stacking up at this dump station. Yeah, we know, the dump providers didn’t leave a handy garbage can, but what’s so tough about stuffing your used gloves in a plastic bag and taking them with you? A little bit of picking up after ourselves makes for a lot fuzzier feeling in those who manage those free dump stations. Not that we’re advocating leaving your trash when you have to pay to dump your tanks.

Like Mrs. Munger used to tell us in kindergarten, “Please, pick up after yourselves.”


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2 years ago

Out of curiosity, have you ever asked RV owners if their black/grey tank indicator actually works as intended? Ours definitely doesn’t.

Whenever I’m stuck behind someone taking forever at the hole, I assume their black/grey tank level indicator is stuck on something other than “empty” and they’re not yet aware of this super common problem.

“Should I tell him, or will you?”
“Omg no- leave him alone, he’ll be mortified.”
“That looks like a rental. We’ll be here all day!”
“Google the name on that sticker. Maybe they can call him.”
“Like that’s not *worse*.”

2 years ago

Russ and Tina, fine job getting out to us what most of us have painfully been aware of for many years.
If an alien approached me asking to take it to the place where the, stupidest, most inconsiderate, unsanitary, inhuman people were to be found on this continent I’d direst them to the nearest RV dump station,
What is it about dump stations that seem to attract lingerers? What is it about dump stations that seems to attract those who have no bloody concept at all about those behind them? – (some of which you highlight)

And then there’s the general lack of even base sanitary conditions, or having a clue how to dump those tanks. The guy behind me must love me, as I’m very rarely ever more than a few minutes from start to finish dumping my tanks – using gloved hands a long long time before it became fashionable to do so.

Richard Hubert
2 years ago

Re: Dump Station Etiquette –
Will always remember the time that a large Class A was tying up the dump station for almost an hour – even as other RVs lined up behind him waiting to dump – because he decided that since there was a water hose there (for tank rinsing) that it was a great time to simply wash his entire RV! Had his soap filled bucket out and long handled scrub brush and just merrily went ahead and washed his entire rig. And then – once done – decided then that he better dump his tanks . . . while he was there.

This was at a private RV park where most sites did not have a sew connection – so everyone had to use the dump station there. Those waiting in line just kept expecting him to finish up and leave – but he did not and everyone was totally flabbergasted.

Unbelievable our self centered some people are.

Mike Sherman
2 years ago

Good article you guys. I believe it is time to start saying something….peer pressure works. I am always surprised when I spot a free dump station, know it too will eventually be filled with cement. Along side the aspect of delaying others are those folks who believe the gas pump is there for them only. I always hassle the idiot that pulls up to the pump, and the first thing he does is go shopping. Then he returns to pump his fuel. Others reverse the process….gas up first, then go shopping. The gas pump is not a ‘parking’ spot. Fill up then immediately move!

2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Sherman

YES YES YES< Mike you hit the nail on the head. I witnessed a fist fight at a Conoco, in Montana due to this. The {bleeped} who started it all will remember the big logger type who didn't take to waiting to get his rig fueled while the inconsiderate shopped for beers and smokes before fueling. That was a good one. What entertainment!!

2 years ago

Last year Georgia rest stops had dump stations. They were always just filthy. This year they are all filled with concrete. Don’t know who to blame, but no more dump stations.

2 years ago

Always amazed at what you see at dump stations, especially what people leave or just don’t clean up after themselves. Makes you wonder what their home looks like?? The article does make you think…..

2 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Mike the mens showers are just about as bad in some cases worse depending on the staff on hand to clean up the filth – messes that right now during this pandemic thing are a major reason restrooms and the like are shut down – people are pigs and there’s no one around to clean up after them. SAD!!!!

2 years ago

Good article Russ and Tiña. Just yesterday at La Posa South, because each water spigot has two outlets, people were staggering so only one person at each outlet……social distancing. Then, before I was done filling, someone cut in line and parked next to me thinking there was an extra non-used spigot. I had to ask them to stand back. They were not pleased and seemed irritated. I didn’t care, and stood upwind.

Jack Blackwell
2 years ago

As my old drill instructor from basic training would say’ “Come on you ##### ***s!! – your Momma doesn’t work here so you have to clean up after yourselves! Just do it!

Sink Jaxon
2 years ago

What? People dumping without a sewer hose??? I’m just, just speechless!

2 years ago
Reply to  Sink Jaxon

I know…. Well, I can imagine that when some people look at the dump port which is surrounded in concrete- tapered into the hole, that they must think it’s like a shower drain of some kind. Somehow I just can’t see myself pulling the valve handle and having raw sewage fly out while onlookers watch in amazement.

2 years ago
Reply to  Sink Jaxon

In over 50 years of RV’ing – 35 of them with units that have holding tanks, this is one thing I have never seen – the only thing – which as bad as it gets I’d presume is very very rare.

2 years ago
Reply to  Sink Jaxon

Yup, saw it just a couple weeks ago at a Nevada state campground, no hose just brown effluent gushing out towards the dump drain and all over. The guy doing it was too intimidating looking for this 59 year old female to take a picture of and report him. So glad we didn’t need to use that dump station later.

2 years ago

Unfortunately those that are the offender, seldom see themselves as such.
Good article.
Thanks for taking the time to write.