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RV Grey Water: What Is It And How To Dispose Of It

What happens to your RV kitchen dishwater? (Image: Shutterstock)

RV Grey Water: What Is It And How To Dispose Of It

Owning an RV gives one so much freedom—freedom to hit the road, to feel at home in the wilderness, to take off on a whim. But with the freedom of RV ownership comes many responsibilities, including dealing with RV grey water. 

What is RV grey water?

“Grey water” is essentially any water that has been used in your RV that hasn’t gone through the toilet. This includes water run-off from your shower, kitchen and bathroom sinks, and washing machines. Water that has gone through the toilet and has toxic human waste in it is known as black water.

Grey water has its own storage tank in your RV separate from the black water tank and must be disposed of correctly since there are still environmental risks posed by this water.

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Simply dumping your water into a field or the bushes is not only gross and unacceptable but it’s illegal. The food matter in this water can attract flies and diseases while the chemicals from cleaning products and soaps can cause problems in groundwater and streams. 

How do I dispose of RV grey water?

Properly disposing of your grey water is important for a number of reasons. Depending on the size of your RV or camper, your grey water tank will only hold a certain number of gallons of water.

If you’re someone who likes to camp for long periods of time in remote or desert public lands, you’ll need to figure out how to dispose of your grey water or access a dumping spot.

Your grey water puts a great limitation on how long you can camp in one spot. Limiting the number of people traveling or how much water you use can help lengthen the time between emptying grey water tanks.

When it’s time to empty your grey water tank at a designated dumping station, it should be clearly marked on your RV next to the other tanks (fresh water and black water).

You’ll need a sewer hose and ideally some gloves for this task. Hook your sewer hose to the grey water-labeled valve on the outside of the RV and secure the other end to the sewer. Fasten both ends, then pull the valve and let the tank drain. Close the valve tightly after the tank is empty.

Other tips for RV grey water disposal

While it is illegal to just dump grey water, there are a few other options if you’re nowhere near a dumping station and have a full grey water tank. The first is to buy a portable waste tank.

These tanks come in various sizes and allow you to transport your waste water to a dump without picking up and moving camp. Most tanks come with a drain connection, fill connection, fill hoses, and a hitch adapter so you can pull it behind your vehicle. 

There are a few other options for minimal amounts of grey water as long as you use only biodegradable soap and cleaning products with your water.

In the video below, Jason and Nikki Wynn of adventure/camping blog “Gone With the Wynns” took note of the unique ways that campers at Nevada’s annual Burning Man festival deal with RV grey water disposal. 

As you can see, disposing of RV grey water isn’t a fun chore but there are ways to do it easily and legally. You may also want to check out this RV LIFE article for more tips on managing your RV grey water tank.