Can You Bypass The Black Water Tank?

If you are considering a semi-permanent stay in your RV, there are some modifications to consider. Connecting to local utilities will most likely be paramount among them. Should you be thinking of attaching your RV to sewer or septic service and are wondering if the black water tank can be bypassed, we can help you. We researched the process in depth so that you'll know for sure what it involves.

The black water tank can be removed so that your RV toilet empties directly into a septic tank. While this can be accomplished on your own, you're encouraged to get the guidance of a professional plumber beforehand.

Now that we know that it's possible to bypass the black water tank in an RV, we'll take a look at the process. You might also be wondering if you can dump the black water tank at home or if you can hook your RV up to your home's sewer. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.

RV owner dumping waste water to a dumping point, Can You Bypass The Black Water Tank?

How To Bypass Your RV's Black Water Tank

Bypassing your black water tank will allow you to hook directly into a municipal sewer system or a home septic tank. If you are wanting to stay in your RV long term on your property, this sort of setup is ideal.

By dumping your solid waste and grey water tank contents into a secure system directly, you will save a lot of time and effort by not having to manually dump the tanks every two to three weeks.

We suggest using a licensed plumber for this task. It will involve a good deal of re-plumbing, the installation of a new toilet, and the proper connection of your new wastewater line into the sewer line on your property. 

Woman dumping a toilet tank in a dumping point

Many areas will mandate that you use a licensed professional for this job. For the sake of providing information, we'll review what this process will entail so you know how extensive it will be.

You'll Need To Have The Black And Grey Water Tanks Removed

The first step will be for your plumber to remove the black and grey water tanks. These will no longer be necessary since all contents from the toilet, shower, and sinks will be transported directly into the sewer or septic system.

These tanks are both located under your RV. There is a protective covering under the vehicle that will need to be carefully removed to access them. This process might take quite some time.

New Plumbing Will Have To Be Installed

As soon as the tanks are removed, your plumber will install new piping. They'll probably use 3-inch PVC for the job. They'll use this new plumbing to connect to all of the drains onboard the RV. 

The sinks and shower that your RV already has on board will be fine to use with this new plumbing. But there is one unit that you might seriously consider replacing.

A New Toilet Is Recommended

While you can use the toilet the RV has on board, we suggest using an actual residential unit. The one on your RV works great with the system it was built to accompany. But with new plumbing and no holding tank, this toilet will not function properly.

RV toilets use a flap and gravity to drop waste into a holding tank. A residential toilet uses a siphoning method. The RV toilet will not be able to hold in the sewer gas as well. Though you might be able to mask this odor, it's just easier to replace the toilet altogether.

The New Wastewater Line Will Need To Be Attached

A new line will need to be attached to the sewer or septic system on your property. If you are doing this yourself, we do encourage you to have it inspected by a professional when complete. If not done correctly, you'll have a smelly mess on your hands as untreated sewage begins to seep all over the ground.

Can You Dump The Black Water Tank At Home?

Toilet dump point intended for RVs

While it is certainly possible to dump your black water tank at home, you will first want to check with local laws. Some areas prohibit this practice. The last thing you'll want to face is a steep fine.

Bucket Brigade Method

The black water tank can be emptied at home in one of several ways. The first is the easiest but potentially the messiest. It involves you emptying the contents of the tank into a bucket, which can be dumped into your toilet. 

This is also the most time-consuming method. But if you don't want to mess with finding a sewer cleanout or you don't have a septic tank, this might be your best bet.

Use Your Septic System

Another method involves dumping the contents of the black water tank into your septic tank. Of course, this will only work if you have a septic tank. 

Experts urge you to use caution when dumping your black and grey water tanks into a septic system. As these two tanks will make a large amount of water rush into the septic tank, there is a bit of a risk of septic tank overflow. 

This means you might have to pump your septic tank a bit more often if you make this a regular practice.

Dump The Contents Into The Municipal Sewer System

Heavy water going down the drain

Some municipalities will allow you to connect your drain hose to the city sewer system on public property. While legal in some areas, it's prohibited in many others. Never dump without permission. 

At all costs, you must avoid dumping your wastewater into storm drains. These aren't meant to handle untreated sewage. Pollution, the buildup of noxious gases, and other dangers will arise if you do this. You'll also get into a lot of trouble with local authorities!

Can You Hook Up Your RV To Your Home's Sewer System?

Sewage system on an excavated trench

A parked RV can be a good option for a long-term guest on your property. But before you allow this, it's a great idea to check with local laws. Some municipalities have ordinances against people living in RVs, even on private property. 

But if your local government allows it, you should be able to connect your RV to local utilities, including electric, water, and sewer. To connect your RV to the sewer system, you'll need to locate the sewer cleanout on your property.

This will require some digging. We highly recommend getting a professional for this, as there are a lot of other water pipes leading into and out of your home. You don't want to damage any of them, either.

Once the cleanout has been located, the cap can be removed. The drain hose from your water tanks onboard the RV can be attached so that its contents can be emptied.

Final Thoughts

RV owner dumping waste water to a dumping point

Bypassing the black water tank on an RV is not a quick process, but it can be done with the right tools and know-how. This is a good option to explore if you are wanting to stay long term in one location so that you can avoid having to dump the tank every few weeks.

Depending on your local laws, you should be able to empty the contents of the black and grey water tanks at home as long as the waste is disposed of properly.

We hope this post on the black water tank answered your questions. For more helpful information, we suggest the following posts:

RV Black Tank Flush Not Working – What To Do

What Should I Put in My RV Black Tank?

How Much Water Does An RV Toilet Use Per Flush?

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One comment

  1. Dear,
    When we are camping in our RV during the snow season, the sewage pipe is easy to freeze and crack and leak. Is there any way to fix this? thanks!


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