You’re enjoying the day at your campsite. The kids are playing, the Wife is smiling, and it’s just plain good to get away. Your new campsite neighbor pulls in as you’re sitting down to eat. You watch as they back into the site, chock the wheels, get level, and start setting up. Then it happens. As you’re trying to enjoy the sweet savor of your fire-cooked meal, you get to watch and smell your new neighbor open up his sewage compartment and start making connections. Right there in your front yard. With a few simple rules we all can be better neighbors.
Seasonal campers will usually have PVC lines and even have them hidden behind skirting, shrubs, blocks, etc. In fact, they’re really one step away from being a permanent residence. The rest of us are temporary. Even staying for 2-4 weeks is temporary and proper etiquette still applies. These simple rules may be controversial for some but I believe that they help make the camping experience even better.
Make sure your sewage hose is in good shape
When your sewage hose is in poor shape with holes or fittings that don’t seal, what your really doing is treating your neighbor to that far from delightful array of odors that will spew forth. Don’t be that guy! Take care of your sewage hoses and replace them as soon as possible when they fail.
Don’t connect unless you’re dumping
It’s a common practice to connect the sewage hose, open the gray valve and leave it that way for the duration of the stay. This is largely an unnecessary practice. Nobody really wants to sit in their front yard and look at your sewer.
Most people have 10 to 20 foot flexible sewage hoses. These flexible hoses will often not be open to their full length which means that the corrugated ridges will still be there. With your gray valve open; the little bit of water from washing your hands won’t actually make it into the sewer but rather sit in the ridges inside of your hose. This potential sludge sitting in a plastic hose out in the hot sun all day, will aid in cooking and breaking down your hose. Ever put hot water into a plastic container? That once rigid plastic became much more pliable when hot, right? Nobody wants to deal with a hose that fails right in the middle of dumping.
Dump when your full (or leaving)
Having a full, or nearly full, tank when dumping will actually help you get a more thorough dump out. Now doesn’t that just sound delightful? RV holding tanks rely on gravity to dump out. The more volume in the tank means there will be more force behind it which will result in a more thorough dumping.
Be mindful of when you’re dumping
Always remember that in a site with water, electric, and sewer, your sewage side is in your neighbor’s front yard. Despite what you may have seen in the movies (e.g. RV), nobody wants to gather around and watch or smell you dump your sewage. Try to wait until your neighbors go for a hike, exploring, or aren’t relaxing in their front yard. If you must dump while they’re around; pick a time when they’re not eating and let them know that while you don’t want to, you need to. Most campers will appreciate the courtesy.
There are numerous articles on how to dump your holding tanks. The generally defined best practice is to dump a little bit of the gray tank, dump the entire black tank, then dump the rest of the gray tank. The reason is the first gray dump gets some soapy water into your hose then the last gray dump helps to clean out the hose. If you have a tank flush system you can flush the black tank before moving back to the gray tank. This procedure is also the most efficient and will allow you to spend less time mucking about with the sewage in the first place.