When it comes to living on the road, RV dumps are essential. It also means that you will need to become proficient in using RV dump stations. These dump stations will allow you to connect your RV’s septic tank to an underground waste disposal station in order to safely and efficiently empty your tanks.
The cost of an RV dump station on average is $10 to $25 per dump. If you want to add a dump station membership, the fees will run from $200 to $1,500 a year for a full-service membership. Most people prefer to go with a one-time fee, but memberships are great for those who travel full-time.
The cost of the dump station would vary on where your destination would be. In this article, I will talk about the different factors that come with RV dumping and the cost of using RV dump stations. I will also talk about what supplies you need to bring and places where you can find dump stations. Lastly, I will also discuss the proper way and how many times you should dump your waste.
Different Factors that Come in RV Dumping
There are different factors that come in RV dump pricing. Not everyone dumps appropriately in each station. Now, RVers use the facilities either free of charge or for a minimal fee; the people running the station have an unenviable task of dealing with any problems that happen.
When many people use the dump stations, it can create clogs and stop the dump station from being usable. A plumber would then need to resolve the issue when the staff cannot resolve it on their own. Another problem that may occur is when people aren’t great at securing their hoses and fixtures correctly.
This can result in the black tank waste going all over the serving area, which must be cleaned up. Usually, the person who is responsible doesn’t report it either. Though a $5 fee may be seasonal to RVers, the collected revenue doesn’t cover the cost of calling a plumber repeatedly to fix any issues that comes up with an RV dump facility.
This is one factor why you have recently seen many dump stations increasing their fees to $10 to make sure their costs are being covered.
The Cost of Using RV Dump Stations
As mentioned above, the average price you will spend on dump stations would be around $10 to $25 per dump. The price will allow you to do everything from emptying your tank to cleaning and rinsing the black tank completely. The fees can run anywhere from $200 to $1,500 a year for a full-service membership for memberships.
Plenty of people prefer to pay a one-time fee for using the dumping station when they are traveling for a short time. However, for those who are living in their RV full-time, it makes sense to pay the membership fee instead. Some dump stations offer free water and hose access, while others will charge you for it.
When mapping out your monthly budget, you should always factor in the dump station cost, especially since free stations are very few and far between. There are also quite a few dump stations that offer discounts to seniors and military members; just make sure to ask the dump station staff before using their services.
Most RV dump stations would require a one-time fee or a membership for you to use their station. When you are planning on using a station that is a chain, it is best for you to take advantage of their yearly membership.
What to Bring With You to an RV Dump Station
When using dump stations, it takes a little bit of planning and preparation. You want to make sure that you stock up on pump station supplies before you hit the road. Most supplies are available for purchase at truck stops along the way, but it is always good to grab the things you need before you head out.
You can find the items you need to properly use RV dump stations at RV supply stores or even big box hardware stores. The following is a list of what you need to bring whenever you are going to a dump station.
- Rubber gloves (heavy-duty)
- Apron or rubber smock to protect your clothes
- Garden hose or standard water hose
- Buckets to flush water
- Weighted discs in order to keep the hose in place
- Towels or rags that you don’t mind ruining
Most of the things you will need to use an RV dumping station will come standard with your RV. For newer models of RV, it usually comes with an automatic tank flusher, so you don’t need to worry about the hassle.
The main hose connected to your RV and the dumping station hole can be found and stored near your black tank. Now, if you find that this hose is damaged or missing, you can order or purchase a replacement online or in RV stores, depending on the model of your RV.
Where You Can Find Dump Stations
Dump stations are designated throughout the United States, but knowing where to find them doesn’t have to be a challenge. There are great online resources and apps that can point you to the nearest dump stations from your location. Some of the RVers’ favorite spots are Campendium, SaniDumps, RV Dump Stations, and RV Dumps.
The following are some of the places where you can find dump stations aside from the locations I’ve mentioned above.
RV Parks and Campgrounds
Most RVers use the dump stations in the RV park or campground where they are staying at. At most times, people dump their tanks before leaving the campground or park. However, if you are just passing through and know there is a campground or park nearby, it is best to call to ask if they have a dump station available.
The price of most RV parks and campgrounds ranges from $20 to $25 to dump. Now, it is more feasible to park overnight at the campground or parks instead of just passing through. This way, you can also get other things done, such as laundry and taking long hot showers before heading to your next destination.
Truck Stops and Travel Centers
Flying J and Pilot travel centers, as well as Love’s truck stops, are currently updating their services for RVers. So it is best to visit their website first before going to the nearest location where you need service. Typically, the cost of dump stations at these locations ranges from $10 to $15.
Now, they have a discount loyalty program where you can get it for about half the price, which is great when you are constantly on the road. When you are dumping in these locations, make sure to stay out the way of professional truck drivers as a way of showing courtesy.
Rest stops are few and far between locations, but some interstate rest stops offer dump station services. They don’t cost anything, but in some states, they do have a particular fee. Make sure to ask first how much the dump station costs in the rest stop before using the service.
Municipal and Country Parks
There are plenty of municipal or city parks throughout the United States that have dump station facilities. Just like the other locations above, you do need to pay to use these services. Usually, the fee would range from $10 to $15. Now, if that city or county has a campground or RV park, it is best just to stay the night there and use their dump station services instead.
Now, if you are looking for dump stations without any fees, here’s the perfect blog for you.
The Number of Times You Should Dump Your RV Tanks
The rule of thumb is to empty your RV black tanks every three to five days to prevent any buildup of waste residue. It doesn’t matter how well your high-quality RV holding tank works, and waste residue will always build up when left for some time. The best solution to this problem is to dump your tank regularly before the waste residue has a chance to collect on the sidewalls and floors of your tanks.
When you don’t dump your tanks regularly, waste and toilet paper will start to stick to your sensor probes, which causes them to read full all the time. Sensor issues can easily result when the waste in your tank stagnates. When you dump your tanks every three to five days, it can help reduce the chances of misreading sensors.
Now, having enough water in your holding tank is crucial because it can suppress odors. If you don’t have enough water, the aerobic bacteria on the tank won’t be properly hydrated, which can result in less effective waste breakdown and odor elimination.
If you are using enough water, it can last you for about three to five days, but you will need to use more water if it takes longer than that to fill up your tank. When you don’t use enough water, odors can become a particularly overpowering problem.
The aerobic bacteria in your holding tank treatment will not eliminate odors as they digest waste when the water is not full. When you have enough water, it also forms a barrier to prevent odors from entering your RV. The said water barrier function works the same way as your home toilet.
The toilet’s pipe contains a p-trap that holds the water at a low point in the pipe. This will block the sewer odors from seeping into your home. This is one of the main reasons why you should keep up with dumping your waste tanks every three to five days.
How to Use the Dumping Station
Now, before you hit the road, it is best to do a quick search on finding RV dump stations along the way. When you get to the dump station, there are different steps that you need to do to empty your RV’s tanks properly. The following will talk about a step-by-step guide on how to use the dumping station.
Know-How to Align Your RV
The very first thing that you need to do is to properly line your RV with the pump that’s located in the station. You also need to know where your tank hook-ups are located. Be sure to park your RV as close to the pump attachments as you can. When this is done properly, you can easily get in and out quickly as well as easily.
Always Remember Safety First!
Since you will be working with human waste, you need to make sure that you will protect your skin. Heavy-duty rubber gloves are a must, and you can take them a step further by wearing face masks. The face masks will help if you are sensitive to smells. You also wear an apron or a rubber smock to protect your clothes if ever any splatters may happen.
Time to Connect the Pump
First, take your RV connector hose and attach it to the pump station before sealing it on the RV’s tank. You need to make sure that the hose is properly fitted to the pump station hose by using the sealing rings that come fitted with your hose. This will prevent any spills or splattering from happening during the process.
If you want to ensure that it is properly connected, you can go an extra step by placing a weighted object to hold the hose in place to the dumping hole. Once the hose is securely in place and you are sure that it won’t disconnect, connect the other end of the hose to the tank’s emptying valve.
Next Step: Releasing the Valve
When you are sure that both ends of the hose are in place, you are ready to open the valve and release the waste. The valve is located right at the base of your ‘black tank.’ Make sure to open the valve completely until you hear the liquids start flowing through the hose.
Time to Rinse Your Tank
While you are waiting for your tank to be emptied, you can prepare your RV for rinsing. You can use a standard garden hose for this process. Depending on the model of your RV, you should have some sort of automatic rinsing system that is located on your ‘black tank.’
When your tank is finished draining, attach the water hose to both your RV and the dumping stations. Make sure to let the water flow through the tank a couple of times to make sure to loosen any solids that might be stuck in the bottom of the tank. Once the solids have loosened, rinsed them away with water.
The automatic rinsing system will allow the water to flow, so you don’t need much effort in cleaning your tanks. Now, for those with older RV models, you may need to manually rinse your tank by flushing your RV’s toilet a couple of times.
The Final Step: Closing the Valve
Once you are done cleaning and flushing your tank, you can turn off your black tank’s valve and remove the waste hose from both ends. Give your tank a final rinse to make sure it is completely clean and empty before putting your supplies away.
The following step is very important because you don’t want to hit the road with a lingering waste smell in your tank. Once you’re done with all of these steps, then you are good to go. Start your adventure with clean and good-smelling tanks!
Knowing the cost of a dump station is important, especially when you need to budget your money every month. The price may not be as much, but it can add up when you total the amount of money you pay to dump your waste. As mentioned above, you should dump your waste for at least three to five days, and when multiplying the amount you need to pay, it can be expensive. Budgeting your money properly while on the road is as important as you living in a normal home. Happy dumping!