If you’ve ever been on an RV road trip, you know that at the end of it all, there’s a lot of waste to get rid of. But what if you don’t want to take your trash to the dump station? Is it legal to dump RV waste at home?
It is legal to dump RV waste at home in most states. However, if you use a municipal sewage system, you must check your local laws first. Some municipalities prohibit dumping RV waste into their systems.
This article will take you through the types of waste you can dump at home, how to dispose of it properly, and the potential legal implications of doing so. Read on for a rundown of everything you need to know about dumping RV waste at home.
Types of RV Waste You Can Legally Dump at Home
RVing can be a great way to travel and see the country, but what do you do with the waste when you’re done? In most cases, the first place that comes to mind is the local dump station.
However, if you’re not near a dump station or don’t want to use one, the good news is you can usually legally dispose of your RV waste at home.
Here’s a rundown of the types of RV waste you can dump at home:
RV Black Water
RV black water is the water that goes down the drain when you use the toilet. It’s also called sewage or wastewater. Black water contains human waste and is considered hazardous.
Because of that, it’s essential to dispose of black water properly. The best way to do that is to use a septic system. If you don’t have a septic system, you can use a macerator pump to grind up the waste and pump it into a holding tank.
RV Gray Water
RV gray water is the water that goes down the drain when you shower, wash your hands, or do the dishes. Gray water doesn’t contain human waste, but it can contain food particles and grease.
Gray water is less hazardous than black water, but it’s still important to dispose of it properly. You can use a gray water tank to collect the water and then dump it into a septic system or holding tank when it’s full. Alternatively, you can filter the water and use it to water plants or flush the toilet.
RV Solid Waste
RV solid waste is the trash that you generate when you’re RVing. That includes items like food scraps, paper towels, and packaging.
Solid waste doesn’t pose the same hazards as black or gray water, but it’s still important to dispose of it properly. The best way to do that is to incinerate it, take it to a landfill, or recycle it.
The Consequences of Dumping RV Waste Illegally
Before I dive into how to dispose of RV waste at home properly, it’s essential that you understand the consequences of dumping it illegally. Dumping RV waste without following the proper procedures can have some severe legal and environmental implications.
Here are a few of the potential consequences of dumping RV waste illegally:
You Could Be Fined or Go to Jail
Dumping RV waste without following the proper procedures is considered illegal dumping. In most states, illegal dumping is a misdemeanor offense that can result in a fine or jail time.
If caught dumping RV waste, you could be fined up to $1,000 or sentenced to 100 hours of community service. In addition, you may be required to pay for the cleanup of the site where you dumped the waste.
You Could Cause Environmental Damage
Dumping RV waste illegally can also cause environmental damage. When RV waste is dumped in an unauthorized area, it can contaminate the soil and water. That can harm plants, animals, and humans.
In addition, illegal dumping can create eyesores and attract vermin. It can also lead to the spread of diseases.
You Could Contaminate Water Supplies
Water contamination is one of the most severe consequences of illegal RV waste dumping. When RV waste is dumped in an unauthorized area, it can contaminate groundwater and surface water. That can make the water unsafe to drink, swim in, or fish in.
Moreover, contaminated water can spread diseases. So, not only could you make people sick, but you could also be held responsible for their medical bills.
You Could Spread Diseases
Dumping RV waste without following the proper procedures can also spread diseases. Black water, in particular, can contain harmful bacteria and viruses that can make people very sick.
Even gray water can pose a health risk if it’s not disposed of properly. That’s because it can contain food particles and grease that can attract vermin. When vermin are present, they can spread diseases.
You Could Cause Odor Problems
Another potential consequence of dumping RV waste illegally is odor-related issues. When RV waste decomposes, it emits a foul odor. That odor can be very strong and challenging to get rid of.
Besides being a nuisance, the odor can also cause health problems. It can trigger headaches, nausea, and respiratory problems.
How To Properly Dispose of RV Waste at Home
Now that you know the consequences of dumping RV waste illegally, let’s talk about how to dispose of it properly. If you’re going to dump RV waste at home, there are a few things you need to do.
Here’s how to dispose of RV waste at home properly:
1. Understand Your State’s Regulations
The first thing you need to do is understand your state’s regulations. Each state has different laws and regulations regarding RV waste disposal. Therefore, you need to know what the laws are in your state before you start disposing of RV waste.
You can find out what the laws are in your state by contacting your local solid waste management agency. Alternatively, you can check your state’s website.
2. Get a Bucket
If your state allows you to dispose of RV waste at home, the next thing you need to do is get a bucket. You’ll need a bucket that’s big enough to hold all of your waste.
In addition, the bucket should have a tight-fitting lid to prevent leaks. It’s also a good idea to get a bucket with a handle so you can easily carry it.
3. Drain the RV of Black Water
Once you have your bucket, the next thing you need to do is drain the black water from your RV. You’ll need to do this before you start dumping any waste.
To drain the black water from your RV, follow these steps:
- Connect a hose (separate from the one you usually use at home) to the black water tank outlet. For starters, go with this Camco 20′ (39742) RhinoFLEX 20-Foot RV Sewer Hose Kit from Amazon.com. It comes with two hoses and a clear elbow adapter so you can see when the tank is empty, making the process easier.
- Open the valve and allow the black water to drain into the bucket.
- Close the valve once the bucket is almost full.
- Pour the black water into a toilet and flush it away.
- Repeat the steps above until the black water tank is empty.
4. Drain the RV of Gray Water
After you’ve drained the black water, you’ll need to drain the gray water. To do that, follow these steps:
- Connect a hose (separate from the one you usually use at home) to the gray water tank outlet.
- Open the valve and allow the gray water to drain into the bucket.
- Close the valve once the bucket is almost full.
- Pour the gray water into a toilet and flush it away.
- Repeat the steps above until the gray water tank is empty.
For tips on draining your RV holding tank, be sure to watch the following video (spoiler alert: it also mentions a crucial resource you can use to locate places to dump your waste while on the move):
5. Put the Solid Waste in Your Dumpster
Once you’ve drained the black and gray water, you’ll need to dispose of the solid waste. To do that, put the solid waste in your neighborhood dumpster.
Be sure to put the solid waste in a bag before you put it in the trash can. That will help contain any odor.
6. Clean Up Any Spills or Messes
After you’ve disposed of the RV waste, you’ll need to clean up any spills or messes. If there are any solid waste spills, pick them up and put them in the trash can.
If there are any gray water or black water spills, clean them up with a bleach solution. Remember, it’s essential to dispose of RV waste properly. If you don’t, you could face some severe consequences.
Note: If you don’t want to dispose of the RV waste at home, you can take it to a proper disposal facility. Just be sure to call ahead to check if they’re open.
Essential Guidelines for Dumping RV Waste at Home
Having looked at the basics of dumping RV waste at home, let’s now explore some essential guidelines that will make the process easier for you. Besides, they may help you avoid breaking the law or getting fined.
Here are the essential guidelines for dumping RV waste at home:
Follow State and Local Regulations
I cannot emphasize this enough – you must follow state and local regulations when dumping RV waste at home. Remember, each state has its own set of laws and regulations.
So, you must find out what the laws are in your state or locality before disposing of RV waste. If you’re unsure about anything, err on the side of caution and seek help.
Never Dump RV Waste on Storm Drains or Streets
Storm drains, streets, and water bodies are not dumping grounds for RV waste. Dumping RV waste in these areas can cause serious environmental problems.
So, always make sure to dispose of RV waste in the right place. If you’re unsure about where to dump it, contact your local waste management company for help.
Never Dump on Someone Else’s Property
Dumping RV waste on someone else’s property is not only plain rude but could also land you in serious trouble. Always dispose of RV waste on your own property.
Otherwise, you could face charges of littering or trespassing. Besides, you might also have to pay for the cleanup if the property owner sues you.
Don’t Pollute Water Sources
When dumping RV waste, always make sure not to pollute water sources. That includes lakes, rivers, and streams. Be especially careful when disposing of gray water since it contains soap and other chemicals that can harm the environment.
To avoid polluting water sources, always dispose of RV waste in a proper sewage system. If there’s no sewage system, use a macerator or call your local waste management company for help.
Bonus Tip: Don’t let RV waste sit around for too long. The longer it sits, the more likely it is to cause problems. So, always make sure to dispose of RV waste promptly.
Dumping RV waste at home is legal as long as your state allows it. Remember, each state has its own set of laws and regulations. Before disposing of the waste, you must find out what the laws are in your state or locality.
Remember always to follow proper disposal methods to avoid contaminating groundwater. Contact your local sanitation department if you’re unsure how to dispose of your waste properly.