RV Hookup: Can You Connect RV To Septic Tank?

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You’re out camping and realize you need to go to the bathroom, but there are no toilets or shower facilities around. What do you do? Now you are imagining the freedom of camping anywhere with your self-contained camper. For this, can you hook a camper up to a septic tank?

Yes, you can! In fact, it’s a great way to save money while camping. You can easily install the septic tank yourself by following the simple guidelines. All you need to do is locate the PVC pipe and sewer hose, and you’re good to go. But make sure that you are doing it in a proper way to avoid any severe problems.

permanent rv septic

With the right, easy-to-follow instructions, hooking a camper to a septic tank can be a breeze! Read on to learn more about the information used for connecting a camper to a septic tank. So, let’s hook in!

RV Septic System Design & How Does It Work 

An RV septic system is designed to process waste from a recreational vehicle (RV) without relying on external sources of water or sewage. The technique combines biological treatment and chemical oxidation to process sewage and other waste material from the RV, typically using a network of pipes and tanks. 

The design typically includes a network of tanks, pumps, and filters that separate and treat the solid and liquid wastes generated by RVs. The design is also suitable for use in remote locations where it can be challenging to access municipal sewer systems or hook up to city water lines.

Working of RV Septic System

A Recreational Vehicle (RV) septic system stores and processes waste from the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry areas. The RV septic system is different from the residential septic system. The working procedure of the RV septic system is quite simple. It just holds up the waste until it is dumped. 

However, the septic system working consists of three primary tanks and a dumping system:

Freshwater Tank 

The freshwater tank stores fresh water for use in the vehicle. It is typically filled with potable water before trips by attaching a hose from an external source, such as a campground spigot. The tank size varies depending on the type and model of the RV.

Graywater Tank 

The gray water tank holds wastewater from showers, sinks, and other non-toilet sources. Graywater is not considered as hazardous as blackwater and does not require the same level of treatment. The gray water tank can range in size depending on the type and model of the RV.

Black Water Tank 

The black water tank holds all the waste from your toilet. This waste contains large amounts of contaminants and must be disposed of properly to avoid environmental damage. The black water tank must be emptied and cleaned regularly to ensure proper sanitation. 

Dumping

Once all three tanks are complete, they can be opened at a dumping station or through a sewer disposal method or RV park. It’s up to you how many times the septic tank is dumped.

How To Add RV Dump To Septic Tank? 

Adding a recreational vehicle (RV) dump to your septic tank can be a great way to keep your RV waste system running smoothly. Adding an RV dump to your septic tank can help reduce the number of solids in the tank and reduce the number of times your tank needs to be pumped. 

Check with local regulations about dumping RV waste into a septic tank, as this is not allowed in all areas. Here’s how you can add an RV dump to your septic tank:

Gathering Materials 

Before emptying your RV tank into a septic tank, you’ll need to buy a few things. 

  • Transparent elbow pipe
  • Disposable gloves (latex or rubber)
  • Sewer hose (long enough to reach or with extra extensions)
  • Disinfecting and antibacterial cleaning spray
  • A hose explicitly made for tank cleaning (avoid using your drinking water hose))
  • Disposable bleach wipes

Track The Cleanout Pipe

Find your cleanout line or access point to the septic system before you put your RV waste into the tank. The cleanout pipe, often composed of PVC, is on your property. Finding the proper pipe is crucial, and it would be wise to speak with a specialist before dumping.

Connect RV Tanks

A hose that will connect to or flow into the cleanout pipe of the septic tank should then be connected to your RV’s waste pump. To connect your RV sewage hose to this pipe, remove the lid. Use something substantial to apply pressure if the hose cannot be securely fastened to the cleanout pipe.

Pump The Wastes

Make sure to wear gloves and access your blackwater tank. The tank should be emptied once the waste pump/macerator is turned on. After you’re done, close the pipe, connect your greywater tank, and open it. Repeat the procedure.

Finally, connect a clean water supply and go through the procedure to clean the tanks and hoses. The cleanout pipe is the preferred disposal method; however, if you don’t have one, you can utilize an access port alternatively.

Septic Tank Access Port (Alternative Option)

You can use an access port instead of the cleanout pipe if that’s not an option. The septic tank may be reached immediately from the access port.

  • To open the access port, remove the lid (but be careful- the gases emitted are dangerous).
  • Verify that you are disposing of your waste on the baffle’s side, designed to retain solids in the septic tank. 
  • A severe problem and leakage might result from dumping on the wrong side.
  • Additionally, be careful not to leave the hose connected and the lid open for an extended period since this might harm the ecosystem in the tank by letting in too much oxygen.
  • Make sure to verify your connections with any choice to prevent leakage.

How To Permanently Hook Up RV To Septic? 

Hooking up an RV to a septic system may seem daunting, but it can be done relatively quickly with the correct information and tools. You must choose a location for your RV’s septic tank drain. It should be somewhere that has adequate drainage around it and close enough to the sewage system inlet pipe or main sewer line so that gravity can do its job and move waste away from the RV. 

Here’s an overview that helps you to install a permanent hook for your RV to septic: 

Attach Adaptor

Attach the RV sewer adapter to the outlet pipe of your RV. It will allow for a sturdy connection between your recreational vehicle and the septic system. Ensure all hooks, clamps, and screws are securely placed before continuing to other steps. 

Fitting Of Pipes

The next step is to ensure that the pipes fire accurately. To ensure it, you need to do the following:

  • Measure the sewage pipe’s total length
  • Now, deduct two inches from either end
  • After that, cut a vertical portion on either end once more
  • The septic adapter will receive one side, and the sewage drain inlet will get the other
  • An equal-sized PVC pipe elbow must be fitted to the sewage pipe for the drain entrance
  • Thanks to the adaptor and PVC pipe, the sewer line will stay there and not budge under stress

It’s time to proceed to the next stage after you’ve fastened the two ends. But make sure that all fittings are snugly tightened and free of leaks.

Make Adjustments

Make adjustments to the pipe before connecting it to your RV sewer adapter. A hose with a diameter of three inches and a length of four inches is required. The hose is connected to the adaptor, and a clamp is used to secure it.

Next, connect the hose to the primary sewage line. If the RV is parked at an angle, you will need to create a slight downward slope so that waste can flow freely into the septic system. This adjustment also helps in preventing leaks.

Sewer End Security

An adapter with threading is required to ensure the sewage pipe is fixed and doesn’t slide at the sewer’s ends. Additionally, this connection creates a vacuum, allowing the waste to flow without clogging.

Additional Pipe Support

Additional supports can help keep your pipes in place even when connected to the RV. It will help ensure that vibrations and other external forces don’t damage the pipe. For RV owners, a sidewinder RV sewer support bracket is an exceptional addition.

Ensure Joints and Connections are Leak-Proof

The last step is ensuring all connections and joints are leak-proof. Use a sealant or tape around each joint and connection to ensure no leaks. Once you have checked for possible leaks, your RV should be permanently hooked to its septic system. 

Alternatives To Dumping Your Camper Waste To A Septic Tank 

If you are still determining the best way to manage your camper waste, it is essential to remember that many alternatives are available. From honey wagons to travel centers, they are used to safely and responsibly dispose of your waste without relying on a septic tank.

Honey Wagons For Campers 

Honey wagons are a great alternative to using a septic tank for camper waste disposal. These portable tanks can be rented and taken directly to a dump station. The waste from the tank is then emptied into the designated area, eliminating any need for an onsite septic system.

These trucks are equipped with appropriate piping and hookups to quickly and safely remove the waste from each camper onsite. With honey wagons, campers can enjoy their campsite without worrying about their waste building up over time or being exposed to other campers or animals

It provides a safe and sustainable option for managing camper waste. Additionally, honey wagons can offer an extra layer of security from potential spills or leaks during transport to disposal sites. They help ensure the environment is protected from hazardous wastewater that could otherwise be released into nature without proper management.

Travel Centers

Travel centers can also be an excellent alternative to dumping camper waste into a septic tank. Most travel centers offer full-service sewage disposal units that can be accessed anytime – day or night. While some locations may require additional fees, this disposal method ensures that all your waste will be properly removed, and you will not have to worry about it. 

Using the travel centers is usually very straightforward; connect your hose to the dump station (which will typically be clearly labeled) and let the water flow. Once you’re done, close the valve and dispose of your waste correctly. Travel centers also provide a range of amenities for travelers, including fueling up and food options and rest areas with bathrooms and showers. 

Whether traveling cross-country or just a weekend getaway, consider using travel centers to dispose of your RV’s gray and black water waste. It’s a convenient and eco-friendly way to keep your camper clean and help the environment. 

Apps Used For Hooking A Camper To A Septic Tank 

Septic tanks are essential to owning a camper. Ensuring it is appropriately hooked up to the facility’s septic system requires careful planning and preparation. Thankfully, some great apps and websites make this process simple and stress-free. 

From providing detailed instructions on provokingly hooking up your camper to offering advice on septic tank maintenance, these apps and websites ensure you can enjoy your camping trip without worrying about potential problems or disasters.

Here is a list of the best apps for RVs owner:

AppsIOS RatingsAndroid RatingsSubscriptionsUsers
FreeRoam4.94.7Free100000+
RV Dump StationsNA4.1One-time payment of $0.99100000+
Pilot Flying J4.74.8Free1000000+
Love’s Connect3.94.2Free1000000+
Sanidumps4.94.7Free (Donations)100000+
AllStays4.94.7Premium100000+

FreeRoam

  • Rating from Android Users: 4.7 out of 5,814+ users
  • Ratings from IOS Users: 4.9 out of 25.3k users
  • Price: Free
  • Users: 100,000+
  • Click here to download the app for Android mobile
  • Click here to download the app for IOS mobile

A non-profit organization called FreeRoam helps RV owners identify the finest free dump stations and campgrounds so they may enjoy camping with their loved ones or friends. You may also use filters to select places and organize your next vacation.

The Pros:

  • Locate clean waste sites, fresh water, food, propane, and other amenities in the area
  • Check the weather where you want to camp
  • Van life and full-time RV lifestyle group chats, forums, and gatherings
  • Adding review options for the dumping station is available
  • A video library for FreeRoam to inspect campgrounds
  • Inactive mode is also available
  • View the most recent RV events & shows
  • Displays the characteristics and facilities of the disposal site

The Cons:

  • A few dump sites are available

RV Dump Stations

  • Ratings from IOS Users: 4.1 out of 1.7k users
  • Price: $0.99, which is paid at once.
  • Users: 100000+
  • Website Link: https://www.rvdumps.com/#
  • Click here to download the app for IOS mobile

RV Dump Stations, created and designed by William Modesitt, is exclusively accessible on iOS devices. The app includes over 7000 trash sites spread across the USA and Canada. The program developer is also adding new sites and allowing users to create a dump station. For RV users, there isn’t any further information like cleanliness, maintenance, or another status, unlike other applications.

The Pros:

  • Operate offline too
  • Distinct filter types are available
  • Outlines the path between your location and a disposal station
  • Localized weather data
  • GPS location data (phone number, address)
  • Dumping fees for garbage
  • Data import as GPX files
  • A simple map that shows the locations of dumps in real-time
  • Specifically created for the iPad

The Cons:

  • Unavailable for Android Users

Pilot Flying J

  • Rating from Android Users: 4.8 out of 91, 647+ users
  • Ratings from IOS Users: 4.7 from 28.2k users
  • Price: Free
  • Users: 1,000,000+
  • Click here to download the app for Android mobile
  • Click here to download the app for IOS mobile

Pilot Flying J has been in business for 60 years and is a must-have app for all truck drivers and RVers. It is sometimes referred to as a “pit stop,” when supplies like food and petrol are stocked before continuing the journey. Additionally, Flying J has CAT scales, laundry, ATMs, bathrooms, washes, and other amenities.

The Pros:

  • A single app with several features
  • Great savings in comparison to competing service providers
  • Military persons are eligible for a special discount program
  • Dumping stations run 24/7 hours
  • RV Plus cards receive exclusive offers

The Cons:

  • Not intended for particular RV users
  • There is no RV community to connect with other RVers members
  • There is no RV society to connect with other RVers

Love’s Connect

  • Rating from Android Users: 4.2 out of 28,840+ users
  • Ratings from IOS Users: 3.9 out of 2.8k users
  • Price: Free
  • Users: 1,000,000+
  • Click here to download the app for Android mobile
  • Click here to download the app for IOS mobile

Love’s Connect is a multifunctional location that offers a 24-hour facility for all necessities to truckers, RVers, and motorists. The company guarantees that customers will receive a rest area that is secure, sanitary, and well-kept. Using Love’s website or mobile applications, you may find the closest Love’s Connect station for reservations.

The Pros:

  • A single app with several features
  • 24-hour service is available
  • Parking is available for dogs
  • RV parking is available
  • Fuel Prices in Real Time
  • Tidy locations
  • Staff members are outstanding

The Cons:

  • No reductions on RV disposal fees

Sanidumps

  • Rating from Android Users: 4.7 out of 5,814+ users
  • Ratings from IOS Users: 4.9out of 25.3k users
  • Price: Free
  • Users: 100000+
  • Website Link: https://www.sanidumps.com/about.php

Sanidumps, which John and Chris Clarke founded, is the ultimate stop for any RVer seeking convenient dump stations. Since March 2006, Sanidumps has installed more than 17230 stations

Additionally, it offers information on the sort of available water, its seasonality, GPS coordinates, a store, etc. For safe travel, you may also try RV GPS Apps. Sanidumps doesn’t charge anything for the factual information provided without cost. The locations served by Sanidumps include:

  • Canada
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Mexico
  • Chile
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Belize
  • Panama
  • Costa Rica

The Pros:

  • Numerous disposal stations (including those in all RV parks, private campsites, public campgrounds, etc
  • Features such as those that display truck pauses and dump costs
  • User-friendly
  • The site allows you to discover dump stations by searching by city, zip code, postal code, and latest maps
  • You may also suggest a new site or location
  • Only available on the website

The Cons:

  • Not accessible via the App Store.
  • The user interface of the website and app is not pleasant.

AllStays

  • Rating from Android Users: 4.7
  • Ratings from IOS Users: 4.9
  • Price: The cost of an Annual Subscription is $35.95; it can be increased by selecting several years. The free version, which has fewer features, is also usable.
  • Users: 100000+
  • Website Link: https://www.allstays.com/
  • Click here to download the app for IOS mobile

The all-purpose software AllStays has a lot of functionality. AllStays has been a trusted resource for RV owners for more than 22 years, making it one of the most experienced. AllStays offers restricted access to information, such as camping places exclusively, with the free version.

Different features, like Overnight Parking, Camp & RV, Dump, Camp/Tent, etc., are available in the Pro edition. They may all be accessible via the website and the app. You may choose “Dump stations” from the list of amenities if you’re interested in dump stations.

The Pros:

  • Turn-by-turn directions with a single tap for all Dump stations
  • Can operate offline
  • Offers a lookup mode
  • Included many characteristics, such as petrol stations, public spaces, storage facilities, retail establishments, washing machines, etc
  • Features for one-touch dialing for the manager of disposal stations. Call the number to inquire about fees or other issues

The Cons:

  • Accessible only to iOS users
  • The free version has limited functionality

Do You Need A Macerator Pump? 

Yes, a macerator pump is a necessary piece of equipment for your RV. There are only three possibilities for a macerator pump. It is only required if:

  • Need to pump uphill
  • Where you are parked is far from the landfill
  • To relieve yourself in a toilet

They are essential for pumping waste away from your vehicle. They help reduce the need for manual emptying and provide an efficient way to dispose of wastewater. The macerator pump is designed with lid material and turns it into a liquid easily pumped out. 

It makes it much easier to empty the tanks and reduce the waste material that would otherwise be left in them. Additionally, macerator pumps help to keep your holding tanks from becoming clogged with solid debris. 

Macerator pumps are available in various sizes and models, so you can find one that best suits your needs. Choosing a pump with enough power to match the size of your RV’s plumbing system and the type of sewage waste you plan on pumping out is crucial. 

Check Out Macerator Pump for RV | Simplified Black Tank Dumping?:

Pros of Macerator Pumps

Macerator pumps are highly advantageous due to their efficiency in performing functions. Some of its advantages are discussed below:

Smaller Hose

One of the main advantages of an RV Macerator Pump is that it uses a much smaller hose than traditional pumps. You may use any typical garden-sized hose in place of an RV sewage hose to empty the contents of your tanks.

Simply a garden hose output port, which you can purchase from any RV supply store, is all you need. It will take less space than a stench slinky to store this hose.

Hose Doesn’t Need Cleaning

Another great advantage of an RV Macerator pump is that the hose does not need cleaning after use, unlike other pumps requiring regular maintenance and cleaning. The typical 3-inch exit hose used by most RVers must be washed after each usage.

It helps make using an RV Macerator more convenient and cost-effective, as no additional time or money needs to be spent on upkeep.

Prevent Clogs

A stainless steel cutter grinds up the products so there are no large lumps to block any hoses. You may still have a blockage if a substantial accumulation obstructs the exit path.

Mild Odor

An RV Macerator pump also produces less odor than traditional pumps due to its more efficient waste disposal system. The sewer connection enables water to wash out the hose, cleaning it while it is connected. It makes it ideal for campers who don’t want unpleasant odors emanating from their RV while on the road. 

Waste Disposal Uphill

Additionally, an RV Macerator Pump provides an advantage of dumping uphill. Gravity is the primary method used by a conventional RV waste hose to remove trash from tanks. It implies that getting into the RV sewer might be highly irritating, complex, or even impossible if there is a slope or if it is steep.

Cons of Macerator Pumps

Macerator pumps may have advantages like convenience and ease of use, but they have a few cons. Here are some of them:

Creates Noise

One of the main issues is noise. These pumps can be loud, even if they are working correctly. It can be an issue for those who like to keep their RV quiet and peaceful while camping. People sometimes complain that their RV sewage grinder is too noisy to operate in a campsite.

Maximum Height Lifting

Another drawback is that macerator pumps have a maximum lift height limitation. The maximum lift height depends on the specific pump model, but it usually ranges between 6 to 10 feet. If your RV needs to pump higher than this, a macerator pump will not work.

Power Issues with RV Waste Pump Kit

One primary concern is power problems. An RV tank pump includes a 12-volt car outlet cigarette lighter power connection. You’ll likely need to rewire it if you need one close enough to your septic outlet for it to reach your power source. Alternatively, you might get a compact battery and a power cord with clamps.

Don’t Let It Dry

Another area for improvement is that you can’t let the macerator pump run dry. If it does run dry, it will likely cause damage to the motor and potentially other parts. It may not work forever.

The Pros:

  • Smaller Hose
  • Hose Doesn’t Need Cleaning
  • Prevent Clogs
  • Mild Odor
  • Waste Disposal Uphill

The Cons:

  • Creates Noise
  • Maximum Height Lifting
  • Power Issues with RV Waste Pump Kit
  • Don’t Let It Dry

Tips To Keep Your Septic Tank Work Well

Septic tanks are essential for many homes and businesses, providing wastewater treatment for toilets, sinks, and showers. While septic systems are generally low-maintenance, specific necessary steps must be taken to ensure your tank remains in tip-top shape. 

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your tank will stay in good condition and provide you with reliable service for many years.

Clean Septic Tank Regularly

An essential thing you can do to keep your septic tank in good condition is to have it cleaned and inspected regularly. Depending on your household size, this could be anywhere from once every few years to once a year.

A professional inspector can tell if any problems with your septic tank or its components, such as clogs or leaks, need immediate attention. This regular maintenance can help prevent more severe issues down the line.

Monitor What Goes Down The Drain

It’s essential to be mindful of what goes into your septic system so that you don’t inadvertently cause damage or clog up the system. Things like grease, oil, and other non-biodegradable materials can quickly cause clogs, so avoiding putting these items down the drain is essential.

Pro Tip: Be mindful of how much you use your septic system by limiting water usage where possible.

Install Proper Filtration Systems 

Installing a sound filtration system is key to keeping your septic tank in optimal condition. These systems will help remove contaminants from wastewater before they enter the tank, which prevents buildup that can eventually lead to blockages or damage.

Some of these systems also employ bacteria-based treatments, which can help break down solids in the wastewater before they get into the tank.

Pump Out The Tank When Necessary 

If you notice the tank getting full, then it’s time to have it pumped out. Pumping helps eliminate all the built-up solids and liquids in your septic system, preventing them from building up and causing problems later on. It can also help keep your septic system running smoothly and efficiently for years to come.

Get Professional Help

If you’re unsure what to do with your septic system, it’s always best to get professional help. Septic service specialists understand the complexities of these systems and can provide expert advice and assistance when needed. This way, you’ll be able to ensure that your septic system is in good condition and running well for years to come.

Related Questions 

How big of a septic tank do I need for an RV?

RV septic tanks are available in a variety of sizes. The capacity of a standard RV holding tank can range from 10 to more than 100 gallons. The size of the RV’s septic system will often increase with its size.

Can you convert a holding tank to a septic tank?

Unfortunately, converting a holding tank into a septic tank is impossible. It is because the two systems have different requirements regarding their design and function. A holding tank is a large container to store waste until it can be disposed of properly. 

On the other hand, Septic tanks are designed to break down waste material using bacteria. If you were to convert a holding tank into a septic tank, it would not be able to process the waste properly. 

What kind of septic system do I need for an RV?

A camper septic system is best to use within your RV. It serves as a storage tank for your waste to function. It does not function like a septic system commonly used in households. No leach fields are required; an RV septic system requires no breaking down. It just stores your sewage till you dispose of it.

What size is PVC pipe for the RV sewer hose?

Standard RV sewage hoses have a diameter of 3 inches; thus, you will need to utilize an adaptor, as the PVC pipe required for an RV sewer should be 4 inches. This adaptor will convert the typical 3 inches of black water hookups on the RV to 44-inches threaded PVC.

Are Portable Septic Tanks For Campers Available In The Market?

Yes, portable septic tanks for campers are available in the market. These tanks are designed to be easy to transport and use on camping trips and other outdoor locations where access to regular sewer systems is unavailable. The following two are the most portable tanks:

– Barker Tote Along RV Dump Tank
– Camco Rhino RV Waste Tank

The Bottom Line 

It is possible to hook a camper up to a septic tank; it may not be the most glittery aspect of the camping experience, but it could alleviate a lot of stress when trying to figure it out. You need to understand how the septic system works and follow the easy steps to hook up permanently.

Getting professional help is vital, as doing so can be dangerous if not done correctly. Installing the proper septic lines and following all safety precautions are critical when this connection is made. By taking these essential steps, campers can enjoy their time away from home in comfort and convenience while respecting the environment by using wastewater appropriately.

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Written by William Perry
William was born and raised in the United States and currently lives in Utah. A retired police officer, he is the father of three and grandfather of six. Along with writing, he enjoys traveling, the outdoors, reading and spending time with his grandchildren.
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