Subject: How to Empty RV Holding Tanks
Content: OK, so we’ve had our RV for a year now.   This, of course, makes me a pro on all things RV… just kidding.   Actually, I’m still learning something new on each trip.   Things like how to fix the inverter in a snow storm, where to park to get satellite signal, and mice love the taste of vehicle registration and insurance paperwork in the glove compartment.   I haven’t figured out how they can climb up into the living quarters from outside.   But I think the most important advice for new RV owners is how to dump tanks.   We’ve all seen the movie where Robin Williams gets covered in… well, you know.   As hilarious as that was, that was all I could think of on my first time.   Especially since the campground we were in was very crowded and I could feel the other campers staring at me as I fumbled with the sewage hose.   As with any "first time" experience, i t was a very intimidating.   So, I thought it would be helpful to give a step by step procedure for all the RV newbies out there.   Hope you enjoy it. First of all, avoid dumping tanks that are not at least 75% full.   That has never been a problem for us, what with two kids and all the junk food you can eat.   Mix in a little beer for me and viola:   full tank in no time.   But if you do find yourself pulling up camp with a half empty tank, you can add water to the tanks until they are at least 75% full.   This will cause all the… well, you know, to become suspended in the water and flow out of the tank. Step 1: Start by pulling up to the RV dump station so that your black holding tank drain valve is as close to the opening of the dump station as possible. This will ensure that if you do pull a Robin William-like stunt, it will be contained in the dumping area. Step 2: Put on disposable gloves and get your sewer hose out. I always like to put mine on inside the RV while staring intently at my wife with a sly grin on my face.   It always gets laughter out of the kids.   Back outside, before removing the cap to the holding tank drain opening, ensure both the gray and black water valves are both closed. Step 3: Always use an elbow and a hose ring to connect the sewer hose to dump station hole as this will hold the hose in place and avoid any splatter.   Use the hole's cover, a brick, your kid, your neighbor’s beer cooler, or something heavy enough to hold the sewer hose in place so it doesn't pop out of the hole.   Or you can go to step 4 through 6 and race back to the hole and put your foot on the hose to keep it down.   On your mark, get set, go!   Let’s all hope you win.   Unless I’m there with a video camera so I have some good YouTube footage. Step 4: Check your hose to ensure it is securely attached.   No, not THAT hose.   I’m talking about the sewer hose.   Attach the sewer hose to the RV tank outlet.   A partially attached hose will result in the Robin William experience. Step 5: If you have a black tank rinse system, now is the time to connect it up to both the RV and the dump station water supply with a garden hose. Don’t use your fresh water hose for the black tank rinse and do not turn on the water until the next step has started. Step 6: Once you are certain everything is secured, pull open the black water tank valve first. You will hear the sewage rush through the hose, start to slow down, and finally stop. Some solids may still stay lodged at the bottom of the tank as well as on the tank sidewall. Isn't that a lovely thought! Step 7: If you have connected a black tank rinse, turn on the water, let this run for two-five minutes to help remove solids left behind, then shut off the water and disconnect the garden hose. Now close the black water tank drain valve by pushing the handle completely closed.   If you do not have a black tank rinse system, you can fill the toilet bowl with water using the internal pump. Ask your wife or kids to make themselves useful and flush the toilet.   Its good practice for them anyway. Step 8: Now open the gray tank valve. As in step 6, you'll hear water flow, then slow, and stop. Close the gray tank valve. Step 09:   Check your tank readouts on your internal display panel to make sure they read empty.   If they don’t, then your tank sensors might be gummed up or you have left over stuff in the tank that has dried out or something.   To fix this, you can just empty several bags of ice down the toilet into the holding tank before you drive away.   The ice will slowly melt as you drive and gently scrub the insides of your tank. Step 11: Make sure that both your black and gray water tank valves are closed and then disconnect the sewer hose from your tank outlet. Step 12: Lift the end of the sewer hose (the end you just disconnected) to completely drain the hose into the dump station. Remove the sewer hose from the dump station hole and rinse the outside of the hose. Replace the tank outlet cover. Step 13: Return your sewer hose to the storage bin.   But before doing that, hold it away from your body and pretend like you are wrestling a giant python that is trying to eat you while screaming at the top of your lungs.   This will give the other campers something to talk about over dinner. Step 14: Dispose of the latex gloves into the garbage bin (not in the dump station). Clean all the surfaces you touched when wearing your gloves with bleach wipes. Wash your hands in case the gloves leaked.   Pull out an unused pair of gloves and put them on.   Walk in to the RV and pull the gloves off and throw them in someone’s lap.   After they run around and scream, let them know they were not the real gloves you used. Step 15:   Now add about three gallons of water (about three full bowl flushes) to your black tank and then add some holding tank treatment.   This will keep your tank in good condition until your next trip.   Unless you are like my family and your kids end up using the toilet while you drive home.   Then you’re just going to have to find another dump station somewhere.   Or some new kids.