A recreational vehicle (RV) is nothing other than a convenient home on wheels. It comes packed with all the necessary amenities you might need on an outdoor adventure. Inside you can find a shower, a bed to sleep in, a table, a stove, and countless other useful things. And on top of it all, you can drive this home on wheels wherever you want.
But that also means you carry waste materials and a sewer system onboard. Every RV has a dedicated tank or two where all the waste material is stored. However, you need to empty the septic storage tanks every once in a while and drain it all into a waste tank, found in most RV parks. You can even dig a hole in the ground, if you are out in the wild, and drain the excess over there. However, you can’t dispose of solid waste out in the open, which is why modern RVs have a septic system.
Modern RV Septic Tanks
Modern campers have two separate tanks, which collect all the waste coming from the RV’s facilities. They have a grey water tank and a black water tank. The grey water tank has that name because it fills up with the waste coming straight from the sink and shower. The soap used in the shower and the sink gives the water a grey color, hence the name. The black water tank, on the other hand, collects the entire waste coming from the RV’s toilet.
If you have an old camper, then there might be only one septic tank that collects all the sewage. You should always consider that as a black water tank.
Both modern and conventional tanks work the same way when it comes to disposal. So, you should connect a trustworthy hose to the septic tank outlet and drain the sewage.
How to Permanently Connect the Hose to a Septic Tank?
It is surprising to see that most RV owners don’t know about a septic tank and that they can connect their RV directly to it. Some are oblivious to the fact that you have to empty the tank at regular intervals. We have seen plenty of first-timers clogging their toilets and showers with black water because they didn’t know how the sewage system worked.
You can’t be that guy, right?! That’s why you need to know how wastage tanks work. But before you learn any of that, you must know how to empty the wastage into a sewer.
This shouldn’t be a problem when you are parked at a dedicated RV park. That’s because, in such places, you can use the full facilities provided by the management, including access to a sewage drain. All you need to do is permanently connect your camper to the park’s sewer and the septic tank would keep emptying itself without requiring any further assistance from you.
But you need to know the right procedure to attach, remove, and clean the hose after the septic tanks are emptied into the drain.
The adapter and the PVC pipe will ensure the sewer pipe stays put and does not budge under load. Once you have secured the two ends, it’s time to move on to the other step.
That’s about all you have to do! Fortunately, such work is easy to do in modern RVs. All the supplies are easily available, and you can even buy them online.
How Do RV Septic Tanks Operate?
There is not a lot of science involved in the working of a septic tank. The process is quite simple and easy to understand. We have already talked about grey water and black water tanks. Furthermore, you should know that the black water tank has a special mechanism wherein the solids are separated from the liquids. The solid waste goes into a separate section whereas the liquid filters through to a different compartment.
The naturally existing bacterium inside the septic tank treats the water in a way that it is easily absorbed inside the soil. However, if you put unnecessary stuff inside the toilet then you could affect the workings of the septic tank.
Therefore, avoid throwing toilet paper, tissue wipes, and coffee grounds into the system. The RV’s toilet is not the same as the one at home. So, if you want the septic tank to last longer than usual, you should be careful of what you are throwing into the system.
When to Flush Out the Septic Tank?
It is common knowledge among RV owners that the tank should be two-thirds of the way full. That’s when you get the optimum pressure and outward flow. However, if you wait too long or open the valve too early, the wastewater wouldn’t flow properly, or the pipe might choke. You don’t want any of that to happen, which is why you need to activate the RV pump.
The pump comes standard in most RVs, and it helps push all the waste out of the system. If you don’t want to have one in your camper, you should think about investing in one. The macerator pump is essential and can save you a lot of time.
Should You Invest in A Macerator Pump?
If your RV does not have a built-in macerator pump, you will need to buy one and install it in the RV. This unique machine acts as a grinder, breaking solid waste into smaller pieces so that the flow is smoother.
If you don’t have space to install one on the RV, you can attach one on the outside. But to do that you must ensure the sewer hose connects with the macerator and also to the septic tank. Otherwise, the system wouldn’t work.
Also, it is better to fill the RV tanks with clean water every once in a while so any sediments left behind can mix with fresh water and leave the system. This way, you ensure the tank’s capacity is always at its maximum.
It is advisable to wear gloves and waterproof clothing (if accessible) during the draining procedure. That’s in case the pipes burst or wastage gets stuck, and you have to divert the flow somewhere else.
Keep these tips in mind, follow the steps mentioned above, and you will never have problems with your RV
It depends on your usage. But as a general rule of thumb, the tanks should be emptied once the tank’s level rises to two-thirds of the full capacity.
The bigger the tank, the longer you can go before you empty it into the septic. Usually, a 40-gallon tank lasts for a week on light usage.
You can find a sewage outlet at every RV park. But if you can't find one, you can dig a hole in the wilderness and dump the waste there. Cover the hole with dirt once you are finished.
Blackwater tanks are made of a special polyethylene resin material. It lasts long and doesn't crack too easily.
Yes, some modern RVs have built-in septic tanks that you can use to sort out the waste.
Yes, the grey and black water tanks are vented. A thermoplastic pipe runs from the main tank to the RV's roof, where the fumes are released into the air.