Wednesday, September 28, 2022


Dumping RV tanks: Where do you go when you gotta go?

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
When we take on the RV lifestyle, we also put on some new “hats” for the roles we assume, including dumping RV tanks. What kind of hat does a “sanitary engineer” wear? I dunno — the only part of my uniform in that role is a pair of good, thick rubber gloves.

Getting out the sewage becomes our “problem,” and that can really BE a problem if we’re not sure of where to “get rid of the goods.” When set up in an RV park, it’s not a problem — but on the road or when boondocking, it gets a bit more complicated. Here are some possible places to dump your tanks:

Highway rest areas: Although some have been removed due to budget and abuse problems, many state rest stops still offer free dumping stations.

City, county, state, national and federal parks: Some are free, some charge a fee. Others are free only if you camp, or for a fee otherwise.

Local government sewage treatment plants: Look up the local government online, call the main number and ask for the treatment plant.

Truck stops: We point in particular to those catering to RVers, like Flying J. The “J” has instituted an electronically controlled dump station, meaning you pay to convince the electronics to let you lighten your load. With a Flying J RV customer loyalty card the price is $5 to dump, or $10 without. We’ve found some Love’s Travel Stops have free RV dump stations — they’re a little harder to find.

RV parts stores and RV dealers: Some offer dumping services, usually for a small fee.

Gas stations: Keep your eyes open: Some have a dump station on the premises.

Don’t think you can sneak off the road and off-load your tanks. The “Midnight Dumper” only messes up the local environment, causes image problems for RVers, and when caught will pay a stiff fine and earn an embarrassing arrest record.

Happy dumping!



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1 year ago

Having dumped aircraft toilets for many years when I was younger I came up with a few rules that are just as valid on our RV’s.

  1. Always wear gloves and glasses.
  2. keep your mouth shut in case of a splatter.
  3. jiggle the hose before opening the valve, jiggle it many times to make sure it doesn’t fall off.
  4. most important, step away after you open the valve. The hose will stay on or it will fall off and either way you don’t need to be standing there. I have seen many get a poo bath (with their mouth open).
John Sciortino
1 year ago

There is a new problem arising with the rest area dump stations on Interstate 80 in Iowa.
The long long trucks that transport the large wind turbine blades are too long to park in the rest area’s parking lot, so they park on the ramp to re enter the Interstate. This completely blocks the dump station. No one is able to use it. You no longer can rely on them being available for use.

John Crawford
1 year ago

The has saved me more than once. They have a good app as well.

1 year ago

Cabela’s and fairgrounds that cater to RVs.

1 year ago

Donald N Wright
1 year ago

Chuck, how do you follow “leave no trace” with an RV in BLM lands ? Do you use brooms to cover your tire tracks, put twigs and rocks strewn about for a natural untouched look?

1 year ago

The first thing is take your Home Depot poop bucket with you. And all those paper towels you used for wiping? Those too. Your mother quit cleaning that when you were potty trained.

Judy S
1 year ago

Donald, it’s hard to know whether you’re sincerely asking or just being contrary, but you can get the Leave No Trace info in many places, especially

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