It should be at the forefront of every RVers mind to be an ambassador of the lifestyle. What this means is that we should positively represent the “brand” to other RVers and the general public alike! A big part of this is how we act while traveling by RV, including the etiquette we put on display. This article will discuss dump station decorum.
There is not a lot to cover here, but it is a rarely discussed, yet important topic. Dumping RV holding tanks is a “crappy” job, but it is made even worse if we disrespect the process by leaving the station messy or staying longer than necessary if there is a lineup. I will put the issue of dump station etiquette into context by including my process for dumping holding tanks.
The most important rule regarding dump stations is to respect them. The providers of these facilities do so for YOUR convenience, and it does cost them money to maintain. Always bear this in mind when you are using them and be courteous and respectful. The remainder of the etiquette tips are really subsets of this general consideration.
The second point is to clean up after yourself. Be patient and mindful of others in the lineup, including the person currently using the facility. Respectfully wait for your turn. If somebody in front of you leaves a mess, you may choose to discuss it with them, or just clean up after them yourself. This will depend on your personal sensitivity towards approaching others. In either case, do not leave the station messy for the next person, even if the person before you did not extend the same courtesy to you. Always “pay it forward” in all things RVing, including using dump stations and other facilities.
After pulling up to the station and connecting your sewer hose to your coach, put the other end INSIDE the dump station drain pipe. Do not simply leave your hose near the drain unless absolutely necessary. If you must do this for some reason, put the end of your hose as close as possible to the drain pipe. In either case, weigh down the hose so it doesn’t move. Open your black tank valve first and let it fully empty. Then open the gray valve to evacuate that tank.
As most people know, emptying the gray tank after the black allows the gray water to rinse and flush the sewer hose of black water and solids. Once both tanks are empty, close the valves and detach the bayonet from the RV. After washing out your sewer hose, use the station rinse hose to thoroughly flush the dump station pad area near the drain pipe. This should include anything that dripped out the end of your RV drain pipe after you disconnected your hose. Completely rinse the area around the station drain to make sure there is no solid waste or gray water remaining. Ensure everything is washed down the station drain so it’s clean for the next user. Perform this task as efficiently as possible to minimize the wait time of those behind you. Note that you should also follow this process at full hookup RV sites so the next guest (or park staff) doesn’t have a mess to deal with.
While the above information may seem obvious to most, there are those who are new to the lifestyle who may not have been given this information. Also, it serves as a reminder to all of us to be good RV citizens.
About the author: Steve Froese
Steve Froese, an avid RV owner, traveler, and Coach-Net member since 2013, is the principal of “A Word to the Wise Technical Communications”, a published RV author, certified RV technician, and licensed Professional Engineer. He frequently collaborates with the “RV Doctor”, Gary Bunzer, and has worked with the RVIA/RVDA as a technical and training writer and consultant. Professionally, he works as a quality engineer and musician. Watch for more of Steve’s work in upcoming Coach-Net publications.
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