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When it comes to owning an RV, there’s one aspect that no one wants to talk about but everyone should know about: the sewer tank. Knowing how to maintain and preserve your blackwater sewer tank will ensure its longevity and efficiency, all while keeping your RV home feeling clean and ready for the next adventure.
So, with that said, here are step-by-step directions on how to best clean and maintain your RV blackwater sewer tank:
Wear the Proper Protective Clothing
Never forget that the contents of your sewer tank are, well, sewage. This content is toxic, so it is vital to protect yourself (and your beautiful clothing) with rubber gloves, shoe protectors, and any other protectors needed to make sure that you don’t get any toxins on yourself. It is also recommended to have ample cleaning supplies on hand, such as dish soap, clean, warm water, and clean rags able to manage any spillage or leaks to keep yourself and your surrounding area as clean as possible.
Empty the Tank
Now that you're protected and prepared for spillage, you can empty the tank. In order to dump, your RV must be located next to a dumpsite, which can be found at your campsite or a local dumping station. To drain at a dump station, connect your sewer hose to your RV, then place the opposite end into the sewer hole. If you are at a full hookup campsite, you should have already connected your hose to your sewer outlet upon dumping. If you are camping, you should always keep your wastewater tank valve closed and your gray water valve open. You should not wait until the tanks are full to dump because their weight can damage or break the tanks.
Before you dump, close the greywater valve and fill it partially with soapy water to cleanse and preserve the tanks in order to keep them fresher and viable for a more prolonged use. When dumping your tank, be sure to open the blackwater (sewage) valve first. Once the contents of the container have been emptied, fill your RV’s toilet with water and dump again to be sure all the remaining drainage has been flushed out. Continue this until the water runs clear. Once the sewer tank is empty, open the greywater valve and empty its contents into the dump hole as well. This allows the system to be fully flushed out and prevent any future backups or backflow. Once your tank is empty, how you continue with this process depends on your future travel plans. If you continue to stay in your present location, add in a gallon of water and a cleaning agent, and close the sewage valve again. However, if you plan to drive your RV following emptying your sewage tank, close both lids, and place an enzyme cleaner and a gallon of water inside the tank. Using the enzyme while you drive will act as a cleaner, eating away at any hardened or clogged matter while you are driving.
While regularly emptying your RV’s portable sewage tank contributes to its upkeep and keeping it clean, just draining the tank is not enough. With frequent travel where there are multiple people, it is essential to clean your RV’s sewage tank at least once a week. Using a mixture of water and bleach to soak and flush out your tank is the best way to manage bacteria, minimize odor, and ensure sanitation.
However, to make life a little bit easier on you, there are Portable Sewer Tank options available in case your RV is unable to move or in case you don’t have a dump station nearby.
By following these steps and care tips, you can keep your RV’s blackwater tank fresh and maintained, avoiding severe odor and backup, eliminating potential discomfort and travel interruption in your RV adventures. If you’re looking to purchase a new sewage tank, or a portable sewer tank, for your RV, or any other RV supplies, visit RVupgrades.com!