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If your idea of RVing is to go from one full-service RV park to the next, this article may be of little interest.
If, like me, you spend your RVing dollars exploring new off the grid locations where the next dump station is who knows where… then read on. This may make your life a bit better.
I’m going to show you the easiest and most affordable way to empty your RV holding tanks (both the gray water tank and the black water tank) without tearing down camp just to empty your tanks.
Finding RV Dump Stations
Living fulltime in my travel trailer, I sometimes spend lengthy periods of time in the same spot — away from dump stations.
This would mean hitching up my trailer at least once every 2 weeks and hauling it to the nearest dump station. It might be a truck stop, a gas station, or even a city park that provides a sanitary dump station for the convenience of passing travelers.
We all know that towing our RV trailers or driving our large motorhomes gives us pretty dismal mileage. Plus, set-up and tear-down time is an inconvenience when you’re all settled in and you discover that your tanks are full.
It’s bad enough if you’re in an RV park with only one dump station. But imagine driving 10 miles one way just to dump your tanks in a crowded, busy convenience store parking lot — where it’s barely possible to maneuver into position to reach the waste port.
Thankfully, there is a better way!
Method #1: An RV Portable Waste Tank On Wheels + An RV Macerator Pump
Many people purchase what is called a “Blue Boy” portable waste tank — a low slug container on wheels.
You couple it to the RV waste port, drain the contents into this durable plastic container, and then wheel it to the nearest dump station.
This is great if you’re camping in an RV park and the dump station is a short distance away.
Are portable waste tanks easy to work with?
Loading one of these full containers into the back of a pickup truck is a surefire way to get a hernia!
Towing a full tote tank down the road is not feasible — because the wheels just aren’t designed for high speed.
Their feasibility is also limited to the ground clearance of your RV — the waste output port needs to be higher off the ground than the input for the portable waste tank.
What is an RV macerator pump?
A macerator pump is similar to a garbage disposal.
It takes the contents of your black holding tank and grinds everything up into a liquified sludge.
Once it’s been ground up, it can be pumped out through a small hose into the container of your choice and then emptied at a dump station.
There are portable RV macerator pump kits designed specifically for this situation with the proper RV fittings — and they make the process of emptying your RV tank as easy as can be!
Downsides to this method of dumping RV waste
Of course there is a catch.
These items are expensive. An RV macerator pump kit and a portable RV waste tank can easily set you back $500 to $600 — if you purchase both.
There’s an even better, more economical way…
Method #2: A Plastic 55-Gallon Barrel On A Hitch Rack + A Cheap Macerator Pump
The world is abundant in blue plastic 55-gallon drums.
Where to find plastic 55-gallon barrels
You can readily find them at RV dealers and hardware stores — as well as places like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.
If you live in the Southwest, locally produced 55-gallon drums with fittings in place will run you from $65 to $85 — depending where you buy them.
The fittings required to adapt an RV waste hose to the bung port of a 55-gallon barrel may amount to $20 or $30 dollars.
The most affordable macerator pump
You can order a bare bones macerator pump without RV fittings for as little as $52, or buy one complete with RV fittings for less than $100.
I opted for the one without RV fittings and spent about $25 to fit it to my RV with a see-through elbow — so I can tell when the tank is empty.
For either pump, you will need a discharge hose sized to match the output of the pump. Mine cost $20 at the local Ace Hardware. (Some macerator pumps need no more than a dedicated garden hose.)
When all was said and done, I was up and pumping poo into my 55 gallon barrel for a total cost of about $150. This is clearly the more affordable method.
How to empty the 55-gallon barrel
Dealing with 55 gallons of dirty water is simple if you have a cargo rack that fits into your receiver hitch, or if you can carry the barrel in the back of a pickup truck.
Simply place the empty barrel into its transport location and pump the waste into it.
When you get to the dump station (whether it’s a block away or far across town), just couple up the RV discharge hose and empty the barrel as you would empty your RV waste tanks.
It’s as easy as can be. There’s no heavy lifting. No mess. And best of all… you don’t have to move your RV or deal with cramped RV dump stations!
The Bottom Line
If you tend to stay in one spot for extended periods of time, or if the dump station is quite a distance from your favorite camping spot, then a macerator pump and portable waste tank will take all the stress out emptying your RV holding tanks.
I love the fact that I don’t have to tear down camp and maneuver into a tight spot every time I need to dump my tanks!
In my video, you can see how convenient and easy using a macerator pump and portable waste barrel is — and how it can make life cleaner and simpler when you don’t want to move your RV every time the tanks are full:
NOTE: At the end of the video above, I also show you how I refill my RV fresh water tank — also without moving my RV!
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I’ve been involved in RVing for over 50 years — including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs and motorhomes. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller… you’ve got a good idea of who I am. To date, I've shared my RV knowledge in over 300 articles here at The Fun Times Guide!