Best Black Tank Tip

How to avoid a black tank mess

Dumping the black tank can be a source of extreme anxiety for new RVers. I know it was for us, so much so that even though we were full-time RVers, I forbade anyone from using the black tank except in the most dire of situations. That was until we learned a simple and easy way to avoid a black tank mess.

Black Tank Fears

Blog posts, YouTube videos and that scene from “RV” (the hilarious Robin Williams movie) fed and legitimized this fear.  

Iconic scene from the movie ‘RV’ with Robin Williams

After awhile, I learned that the fear and anxiety I felt about having a catastrophic black tank disaster was mostly unwarranted. Mostly…I would be lying to you if I told you I never had an issue dumping my black tank. However, the issues I experienced while dumping RV tanks were relatively minor and never, ever at the level Robin Williams experienced in “RV”. 

Escapees events are a wealth of information

Escapees is an RV club that supports, educates and entertains RVers. While attending an Escapees rally a few years back, Kerry and I attended an RV Tanks How To class and in it, I learned the one tip that cured me of my black tank phobia.  

Typical causes of a black tank mess

First, I need to explain how a black tank mess usually happens. Many RV tank dumping disasters occur because of the lack of a good seal at the points where the sewer hose connects to your RV tanks or where it connects to the dump station. 

This actually happened to me because I wasn’t aware that the o-ring/gasket inside the sewer hose at the point where the hose connector marries up with your tanks and or dump station port had fallen out.

The other incident occurred when my sewer donut (odor proof sewer hose seal) was not seated and therefore I had no seal. 

To dump tanks, the RVer typically has their sewer hose connected to the rig as well as the dump site and then empties the black tank then the gray tank to help rinse any remaining black tank deposits. We are going to add one small variation to our normal RV tank dumping process. 

Quickly release the gray for 2 seconds

Before releasing the contents of the black tank and hoping for the best, try releasing a small amount (2 seconds or so) from the gray tank first. This will reveal any leak points with water that was used for bathing, dishes and hand washing instead of revealing it with human waste.  

Once you have confirmed there are no leaks, continue with the normal process of dumping your tanks. The entire process as I’ve described is as follows: 

  1. Release a small amount from the gray tank (2 seconds should work) 
    – If no leaks continue with the normal process 
  2. Release contents of the black tank (don’t forget to close this valve after) 
  3. Rinse with the contents of the gray tank 
  4. Rinse your sewer hose with a dedicated tank rinsing water hose (separate from your drinking water hose).  
Avoid black tank spills with this simple tip

I hope this simple but effective tip helps you as much as it has helped us. Watch our video for more info and feel free to leave a comment below if you have any other questions.

One thought on “How to avoid a black tank mess”

  1. Great sugestion Russ! A little common sense goes a long way, I just hadn’t thought of it.

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