When RVs have to go...

Article: Dump Station Etiquette

KC Chavda

Summer RVing is in full swing in Canada.

It's 6 am and I am sitting with my fishing rod at Vaseaux Lake Provincial Park in BC waiting for smallmouth bass to provide an early morning thrill and maybe a nice addition to breakfast. So far the bass seem to have a problem finding my hook.

Dump station etiquette is something that is not discussed or written of in any of the old English etiquette books. You might ask 'isn't it enough to just go and dump your tanks and get the hell out?' I am sure every RVer has encountered a dump station that has been left filthy, or with a damaged sewer hose still connected, or worse, a pipe blocked with a stone, and you only find out when your effluent backs up. And we all know what black and grey tanks contain! How many of you have watched another RVer dumping bare handed, touching everything and then just climbing in the RV and driving off. Yuck!

What I mean by dump station etiquette is having consideration for the owner/operator of the dump station, fellow RVers and the environment as well as protecting yourself and your family.

Today, while many dump stations are free to use, some are starting to charge anywhere from $2 to upwards of $50, and I am not talking about honey wagon service. In America many state run dump stations located at rest areas have been closed. The main reason for this is pure and simple: ABUSE. To be fair, non-RVers are also to blame, some dump toxic waste like commercial cleaning waste, to avoid paying handling fees. Consider access to dump stations as a privilege not a right. I am going to touch on what we can do to try to ensure this privilege continues.

Etiquette Rules

  1. Report anyone abusing the dump station. They are compromising our privilege.
  2. Always thank the operator/owner for letting us use their dump station. If possible reward them by purchasing something: fuel, supplies, meal.
  3. Make sure that the dump station can accommodate your rig. For example, some dump stations require you to back in or back out, and for a Motorhome with a toad, this is a nightmare scenario.
  4. Be ready to dump at the dump station.
  5. Have the right equipment: hoses, connectors, elbows, extensions ...etc.
  6. Always wear protective gloves (disposable are preferable) when dumping. Chlorine wipes are great to wipe off storage bin doors and latches if you have to touch them.
  7. Make sure to pull up close enough to a dump station for both your sewer and flusher (non-potable) hose to reach. This will avoid the need to move the rig during the dumping process.
  8. Always connect the sewer hose to the dump station outlet first. Then hold the tank end of the hose under the cap as you open it to capture any leakage in the tank drain. This will avoid accidental spillage on the ground.
  9. Do not fill your fresh water tank while dumping as it is highly likely you may contaminate your water supply. Also, you may block someone else from dumping as it takes 5-10 min to fill a typical tank these days.
  10. Always clean up the area before you leave. Like good fisherman, leave the site cleaner than you found it. Do a walk about to ensure you have taken all your equipment. Wipe off any areas that may be contaminated with a chlorine wipe.

Just a moment, I think I have a fish on the line... Oh it's just a sunfish. Ah well it's only eggs and toast for breakfast.

Tip: Locating a dump station

Dump stations are located in many places from gas stations to state and provincial parks, commercial campgrounds, rest areas on highways, fair grounds, waste water treatment plants and businesses like Canadian Tire.

The internet is a great place to look for dump stations. www.sanidumps.com lists over 17,000 dump stations (2014) across Canada and the US and this list continues to grow. The site lists dump stations by country, state or province and the nearest town. It also contains all the other important information such as directions, price where applicable, seasonality, GPS coordinates for many, availability of potable water and whether it is big rig friendly.

Since the internet is not always available when you travel, you can get the e-book which contains the same list that you can download on your laptop, and then you are prepared anywhere, anytime.

Next issue we will discuss winterizing your RV. Although I know the summer just started in many parts of Canada.

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When RVs have to go...™

Dump Station Types

The type of recreational vehicle dump stations you will find on Sanidumps.com include: private, public, RV park, non-park, municipal, truck stop, rest stop, campground, camping, resort, commercial, pay, donation, waste disposal, and free.

It is important to dispose of human waste properly when RVing. The RV dump station, dump point, or sanidump station you choose to empty your gray and black water holding tanks is up to you; we're hoping that you will choose an approved dump station site that's green and environmentally friendly, using an environmentally sound method.

Know Where To Dump Your Tanks

Do you need to know where to dump your holding tanks when your RV is on the road? Now you can know where the RV dump Stations are while traveling with a e-book. More information about the RV Dump Station location e-book.


Although efforts are made to make sure of the accuracy of the information presented, Sanidumps.com shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused, or alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly by the information contained here.

Sanidumps.com is not affiliated in any way with any place/location listed on this site. Fees are subject to change; availability and prices can and do change.

We thank all the RVers that have contributed information :-)

The Sanidumps.com Team

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