How to handle your waste water

Author: Cathy Anderson  


Many modern motorhomes come with everything including the kitchen sink - it makes life on the road so much easier!  But, of course, the more conveniences you have that use water - including your kitchen, shower and vanity sink - the more you’ll need to understand how to manage your waste water as well as how to care for your motorhome plumbing. Waste water is often referred to as grey water. Black water is the waste that comes from an onboard toilet.

It’s important to be a responsible RV traveller and follow the rules when it comes to dealing with your waste water, but it’s equally satisfying to understand how your vehicle works and how you can maintain it, so it will carry you across the country without a hitch. Here are some of the essentials when it comes to waste water.



In most motorhomes fitted with a kitchen sink, and for vehicles with a shower and a vanity sink, the waste water drains into a waste water tank built into the belly of your motorhome. The position of the tank will vary from model to model, as will its capacity. It's recommended you empty your waste water tank every one to two days - especially if you are a high water user - to avoid overflowing and the maintenance drama that could flow from that.



You must only ever empty your waste water into an authorised dump station. This ensures the water is not spilled into areas where it may cause damage to local flora or fauna, or simply cause a mess. Most holiday and caravan parks will have a station for its visitors, but you can also find dumping points at various truck stops, municipal parks in towns and campgrounds - there are several online resources to allow you to locate dump points along your intended journey. Our favourite is Campermate which you can download from or via the google or apple app stores.



Emptying your waste water tank is actually pretty simple. Drive to the dump point and ensure the waste water outlet under your vehicle (which looks a little like an exhaust) is close to the dump point (which is a tank usually underground with a lid on top that offers access points). You will have been given a waste water hose when you purchased the vehicle, and this should be kept with your tools or other equipment so it can be easily accessed. Connect it to the waste water outlet under your vehicle - it slides over the connection very easily and you secure it by pulling back the clips on either side of the hose. Place the other end of the hose into the dump station’s grey water or waste water deposit point. Pull the lever open to release the contents of your tank. Once it has finished draining, close the lever, detach the hose and put the hose away.



The drains in the vehicle are very narrow compared to drains you would find in a house, so you need to ensure they stay free from grime buildup and blockages. To avoid water backing up in your pipes, never tip cooking fat from your bacon and egg breakfasts or food particles such as rice or coffee grounds down the drain - empty them into a bin instead and dispose of them into the trash at your RV park. Similarly, make sure nothing goes down the shower drain or vanity sink that could clog the pipes.

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