I’ve been traveling and living Full-Time in my fifth wheel now for over a year and never have covered any tips for the RV Lifestyle, whether an occasional trip or Full-Time. For those newbies or if your just refining your own routines, here is how I maintain my Black and Grey tanks.

Tools

  • I have a Rhino flex sewer hoses. I have used both a 10′ and 15′ together several times.
  • A “bridge” to keep your sewer hose off the ground and sloped to the city connection. When you leave your hose connected, some municipalities require that your hose is off the ground.
  • A ninety degree connector for the city fixture that fits multiple size openings.
  • A RhinoFLEX Clear 45 Degree RV Sewer Hose Swivel Fitting to my Coach. I know it can be gross, but after the nausea leaves you the first time or you get used to it. It’s invaluable to see if in fact all of the tank is finished dumping and clear.
  • Disposable gloves.
  • Disinfectant spray.
  • Hand Sanitizer.
  • A green or black garden hose for the black tank flush only.

Dump Procedure

When camping at a place that has a sewer connection, I always leave my Grey and Black water valves closed.

  • There are other opinions to this rule. Some say they leave their grey water open. It’s my belief that it’s just as important to completely fill your tanks, if possible, then dump as the flushing action helps pull out the heavy sediments that settle in the bottom of your tanks with the water as it exits the tank quickly.
  • Even more important on your Black tank. You never leave the valve open as the liquids will drain leaving a buildup of solids which will eventually clog your tank. That’s not fun, from what I have read online.
  • Just a thought about leaving the valves closed. If your valves are open, you have a direct connection to the city sewer or common septic tank. Bugs and sewer flies can go up the hose and take up residence in your tanks or worse, come into your living area, need I say more.

I use disposable gloves when connecting my sewer hoses and operating the valves.

  • Call me paranoid, but I want to maintain a barrier between myself and even my own RV’s sewage water. But especially the fresh water fixture nearby and the city sewer fittings in the ground.
  • I use Lysol All Purpose disinfectant spray on all of the connections, including my own hoses and connectors, before and after.
  • Side note, when hooking up to my fresh water at the site I always use this spray on the fresh water connection. After hooking up my fresh water hose I flush my hose with water before hooking it up to the Coach. You never know if this connection was use by the previous camper to flush his sewer tanks. Again an once of prevention. (I also have a better quality filter for my fresh water)

Always open your Black water tank valve first and it alone.

  • I have an on board internal black tank fresh water flush, that I use every time I dump my black tank.
  • Take your time flushing, those of us behind you will be patient (most of us). I usually close the valve wait thirty seconds or so for the black tank to refill with fresh water, then dump again. I will do this until the liquid coming out is clear.
  1. After the Black tank finishes I close the valve and I open my Kitchen Grey tank (I have three sewer tanks)
  2. Next close the Kitchen Grey tank and open the Bathroom Grey tank, which services the bathroom sink and shower.
  3. Now close the Kitchen Grey tank valve and the outside valve gate.
    • The outside valve gate is an aftermarket secondary valve I purchased that is connected permanently on the outside connection to my fifth wheel. It acts as a back up valve and prevents any “surprises” when you open the outside valve cap as you begin this process.
  4. Finally use fresh water to spray down any spillage and your equipment. Use the disinfectant spray on your equipment and the city fixtures. Now return everything to storage. There are a lot of resources on the internet, including some how to videos that are very helpful.

Finishing Up – Treatment

After cleaning up I use the Walex black tank treatment each visit to the dump. It keeps the tank much cleaner and mostly order free. I also use their product for the Grey tanks.