Thursday, October 6, 2022


Has a sewer valve or hose ever broken or malfunctioned while you were dumping?

Oh, horror of horrors! This surely must be the worst nightmare of any RVer short of a serious traffic accident. We sincerely hope you have never experienced a sewer dumping failure, but it does happen.

We saw a video the other day where a man told of how his black tank valve had malfunctioned, and as he drove down the highway the sewage backed up against the cap covering the valve. When he arrived at this campsite and removed the cap to attach his dumping hose, the crap (literally) gushed. “I was knee deep in it,” he said, although we are pretty sure he was exaggerating.

Most holding tank mishaps are not so serious or dramatic, but whether they are only a wee little drip or an eruption, they are not fun.

So our messy poll question of the day is about whether something like this has happened to you. We’re hoping most of you say no. But if you answer yes, please take a moment to fill us in on the details.

Oh, if you missed this scene in the Robin Williams movie RV, you should watch it. It’s funny, but disgusting. So you are warned!


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Ashley Wilkes
2 years ago

Actually just had a small mishap today. I have separate black and grey water tanks with separate lines so I had 3 hoses connected with a y connecter. When I started to empty the grey tanks the fitting at the end of the last hose popped off and the water began to seep out around the end of the hose. I was able to slip the hose back up and keep it from leaking too much while I finished emptying the tank. I was just glad I had already emptied and flushed the black tank.

Bob Weinfurt
2 years ago

Not yet but I’ll surely get my turn.

Dave J
2 years ago

Yep hose broke off of the fitting attaching it to the dump line and the dump valve picked that perfect time to stick open. Big mess. Took some time with the sewage wash-down hose while quite a few rigs backed up waiting to dump. During the Quartzsite show and at the LTVA so those who have been there know what I’m talking about when I mention the many rigs waiting to dump.

2 years ago

In my early days of RVing on my own I had a sewer mishap when the end connection on the hose came off. I immediately replaced that hose with a better quality and check the connections often.

Brian Jensen
2 years ago

Right after I bought my class C, I stopped to dump but found that the 10′ hose was lost in the bumper with no way reach it. Naturally another camper showed up to dump so I had to just drive off. Now I have a 10′ hose on one side and a 20′ hose on the other side and a 4′ rod to push the hoses around if I need to.

Paul Englert
2 years ago

Valve malfunction, Open the black tank valve and nothing happened, had a full tank, so I was concerned about how I would repair or replace the valve. I decided to continue on our trip and hopefully have the situation corrected at our next stop. we traveled about 400 miles, I had called ahead for a RV repair shop. But much to my surprise and delight, I hooked up my sewer pipes, turn the black tank valve and it worked. I was so happy, I guess the road trip moved the stoppage out of the way. Don’t know how I could have replaced that valve with a full tank.

2 years ago

No valve malfunction, BUT I had stoppage because the tank manufacturer left the cut out for commode in the tank. It was several years old, but it finally blocked the dump tube. I had one of those clear connectors with a hose connector. I capped the of it, connected the hose to it and blew it back in. The tank then was able to empty. I cleaned it extremely well. When I got home, I pulled the toilet and was able to see the cut out in the tank. I reached in with one of those long grabber tools and pulled it up to the opening grabbed it and pulled it out. Used new seal and reseated the toilet. It was a real PIA, but I got it done!

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
2 years ago
Reply to  Hank

Good job, Hank! 😀 —Diane at

Deborah Mason
2 years ago

Actually, we had bought our first motorhome sight-unseen from a relative. We’d been in it for several days, using the toilet at night, when we realized we didn’t see a valve at all! The previous owner had a habit of just discarding anything that broke or failed to work properly. There was no black tank, no valve, just a (longish) pipe with a cap. We found a dump station, did the best job we could dumping the pipe & cleaning the mess, then did the research to add a black tank & dump valve back into the system. What an education. And that was just the start on that rig.

Captn John
2 years ago

Put a Valtera valve on the end of your outlet. Now you have a 2nd valve and will know if you have a leak as it is opened 1st and nothing should come out.
Use a Drain Master sewer hose. Now ears to connect ~~ connect like the trucks delivering fuel to your service station. Rarely a reason or excuse for these things to happen.

2 years ago

I always dump a little gray water first just to make sure all is well, then close and dump the black

Gene Bjerke
2 years ago

Since we have a macerator, the hose is pretty substantial. However, one time when I needed to extend the hose full length, i discovered that it had several pin holes producing little fountains. We patched with duct tape until we could get the hose replaced, which took longer than expected (we had to order the hose from the builder in Canada).

2 years ago

I had a hose come completely apart while dumping my black tank. What’s worse, the dump station was in the middle of the campground and we had friends coming for dinner. Took quite a while to hose the area down, and ever since I replace the hoses regularly.

2 years ago

You never specified RV. I used to service aircraft toilets out of college. The equipment we used was somewhat less than optimal. I learned when you pushed the button that opened the valve, you ran the other direction. 50/50 chance the hose would stay on or fall off. Either way I did not need to be standing nearby. Things that taught me well when dumping my own system (mostly preventive maintenance). Take care of your equipment and 99% of the time it works great. For that 1%, don’t stand in front of the hose.

Jim Knoch
2 years ago

I was using the “el cheapo” hose provided by the RV dealer when I pulled the black tank dump valve, I discovered a pinhole leak in the hose that almost gave me a facial, but I moved fast enough to avoid the brown water squirt. I was able to use some electrical tape to cover the hole and finish business, then immediately ordered a Rhino Extreme with couplings from Walmart. Never a problem in the last 4 years.

John Hochschieldt
2 years ago

Staying on South Padre Island one January, there was an ice storm with freezing temps. I discovered that the inexpensive(cheap) brown sewer hose froze when, in the morning, I started dumping the grey tank and the frozen hose had split open. I closed the valve without too much mess and was just glad it wasn’t the black tank. Have since invested in a good sewer hose, but also disconnect, empty, and store the hose when there’s a freeze warning.

2 years ago

Never had a spill, but I went to dump the black tank one morning, and pulled on the cable control handle. The cable came loose from the waste gate, and all I had was a handful of cable. Turns out the cable on some gates is secured by one small set screw.

Cousin Eddie
2 years ago

It didn’t happen to me but I witnessed a travel trailer in front of me leaving a trail marker while rolling down the loading ramp on a ferry destined for Vancouver Island. It was low tide so the ramp was steep. The trailer rolled off the side of the ramp too soon and hit the deck hard on the driver side. The small, steady drip, suddenly turned into a raging brown river of poo! Loading was stopped, I had to back out. After a couple of hours, loading resumed.

2 years ago

as i was dumping the black tank the hose suddenly came loose from the fitting, what a mess. bought a new hose and where the hose connects to the fittings i first wiped the joint with mineral spirits then put some glue around them then wrapped duct tape around them, for extra insurance. dont trust them.

2 years ago

It was the first time using a 15 gallon tote to dump grey water every 3-4 days. At the dump station, the hose didn’t quite click on all the way, so when I turned the tote up vertical, it popped off. FORTUNATELY it was only grey water. Haven’t made that mistake again.

2 years ago

I use a cap with an additional garden hose connection on it. Before removing the 3 inch waste valve cap I test by first putting the terminal end of the sewer hose into the dump pipe as normal then holding the valve end of the hose up to the small garden hose cap, I slowly unscrew the small cap to check for liquid that might be sitting between the valve slide and the waste valve cap.

Thru the years this has prevented a potential disaster when something has partially opened either the black or gray tank valve or I have inadvertently left one open and didn’t discover it until I went to dump. Much easier to contain and control a small steady drip or stream from a 3/4 hole than a 3 inch pipe. I have had valves that leaked and this method has kept things clean until I could replace or repair the faulty valve.