Watch your dumping operation closely (but not TOO closely)


By Greg Illes

I don’t think anyone will argue that the dumping of holding tanks is the worst of RV jobs. This skanky task makes equals of us all: Young or old, rich or poor, we have to get rid of our sewage now and then.

Most folks have an understandable aversion to any close association with 30 or more gallons of waste disposal. But there are good reasons to brave the experience and “do it right.”

One inexpensive method is to install a clear fitting in your drain hose. Yeah, that’s right — so you can actually look at all that nasty stuff as it disappears into some septic system. Why, oh why, on this beautiful green Earth, would you ever want to do something like that? Well, there really are some pretty good reasons. Ask yourself these questions about how well you’d like your sewer system to be working. The answers might suggest some corrective action to take before your system becomes inoperative.

· Did the effluent come out easily, or was it thick and slow flowing? (not enough water used)
· Did the effluent come out in a rush, or in a slow trickle? (blocked plumbing or tank)
· Is there undissolved toilet paper flowing by? (wrong paper used)
· After flushing, did the water run clear or still have contamination? (inadequate flush)

Hook up a clear fitting in-line with your drain hose and you can (however reluctantly) watch the process and assess the final condition of your tanks. A fitting can be placed at the beginning or end of the hose, but it’s easier to monitor progress near the RV instead of at the dump station port. Also, if you have room to semi-permanently install the clear fitting at your primary drain outlet, you can even check if one of your dump valves has been leaking (or left open) before you remove the cap and end up with a big puddle at your feet.

Camco makes a nice selection of clear fittings that connect to standard bayonet attachments and they come in various lengths, both straight and angled. You can buy one of these from Amazon or Camping World for $10-$20.

Greg Illes is a retired systems engineer who loves thinking up RV upgrades and modifications. When he’s not working on his motorhome, he’s traveling in it. You can follow his blog at

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