How to Use a Portable RV Waste Tank (Ultimate Guide)

How to Use a Portable RV Waste Tank (Ultimate Guide)

RV vacations have all sorts of adventures. Some are fun and exciting and others bring you back to reality. One of the latter experiences is learning how to use a portable RV waste water tank. Once you learn how to do it, you may have lots of stories to tell your friends when you return home.

How to Use a Portable RV Waste Tank: If you get the right one, you can simply hook up a macerator pump and pump the waste from your RV permanent black water tank into the portable one. Then you just grab the handles and wheel the portable to the dump station and empty it.

When you use a portable waste water tank the key is to watch out for tricky surfaces. If a wheel breaks, you may have a mess on your hand. To find out more details on using a portable RV waste water tank just continue to read. We give you the information you need to know to use one correctly.

How to Empty a Portable RV Waste Tank

Before we get to the instructions to empty a portable waste water tank, we need to talk about filling it first. The portable tank comes with its own flexible and collapsible hose. To begin, you bring your portable over to your RV sewer connection. Make sure you get close enough to keep the hose from becoming too taut.

Then unhook the hose on the portable tank and hook it up like you would hook up your 20 foot sewer hose. Make sure to open the vent valve on the portable tank before opening the dump valve on your RV. This makes the transfer smooth and easy.

When the portable tank is full, close the dump valve, unhook the hose and put it back where you got it. Next grab the handle and walkover to the dump station. Emptying the portable is also very easy to do and you may need a couple of accessories to help you do it.

When getting ready to dump the portable tank, you may need a double pin adapter and a 90 degree elbow. After you arrive at the dump station, you want to unhook the portable tank’s sewer hose but keep it upright. If you don’t you may create a mess you do not want to clean up.

Attach the two adapters to this hose and hook it up to the inlet valve on the dump station. Now open the little air vent to add air pressure to help move the contents into the dump station. At this point, you release the portable tank’s hose from its compartment and place it on the ground for a smooth dump process.

If the transfer is moving a little slow or you are on a slope, then you can lift the handle end of the portable tank and help the transfer pick up speed. After the transfer is complete, just unhook all the hose from the dump station, unhook the adapters and put everything back to their normal storage positions.

And you are done.

RV Holding Tank Chemicals and Treatments

As you drive your RV around the country, you will eventually be placed in a situation where you need to treat your black water holding tanks. This situation applies to both permanent and portable tanks.

You can safely use the following treatments, keeping your RV smelling fresh and germ free all the time you are on the road:

#1. Walex Porta-Pak Holding Tank Treatment

One package of this treatment holds 50 paper tablets that are made to be dropped into your black water holding tank through your toilet. One tablet should give you about 7 days of protection.

Once you drop the tablet inside the tank, it starts to break down those solids and toilet paper remains. This process will eliminate those nasty odors you do not want to smell. No formaldehyde is used to create these tablets.

Their blue color will not stain your toilet bowl or leave a mess as it flushes down your RV toilet. Click here to see all the details.

#2. Camco Ultra Concentrated RV Toilet treatments

For under $25 you get 30 drop in tablets in one bag of this RV black water holding tank treatment. They are easy to use but you must wait till you have emptied your holding tank and placed about 2 gallons of fresh water back in the tank before dropping them in.

As it dissolves, the tablets release a nice orange scent to help mask those foul black water tank odors. Also, the tablets help break down solids, etc., that enter your tank after almost every flush.

Just one tablet is needed for tanks 40 gallons in size or less. Just click here for more information.

#3. Happy Campers Organic RV Holding Tank Treatment

This powdered black water tank treatment only needs one scoop to make sure your 40 gallon tank remains in top shape. After you flush the scoop, this treatment helps your holding tanks work better. You can use this in either your black or gray water tanks.

On top of this capability, this RV tank treatment will make short work of those solid wastes, including toilet paper, and make sure their odor is nullified. Also, you can use this treatment in hot and cold temperatures.

Made from organic materials, this product is environmentally friendly and biodegradable. Just click here to learn more.

#4. Thetford Eco-Smart Tank Holding Deodorant

Another eco-friendly RV toilet treatment that helps protect your nose as it does the environment. These tablets do the job without causing harm to the area around you. All you do is just drop a tablet in your toilet and flush.

Soon your black water holding tank will be cleansed from particles in your sewer discharge system, odors will be eliminated and the solid wastes will be broken down. You can’t ask for more than that from an RV tank treatment.

You get 12 tablets in one pack and you only need to use one at a time to get those great results. Click here for more information.

#5. Thetford 24452 Tissue Digester

This powdered biodegradable RV holding tank treatment just needs to be poured into your toilet and flushed down to your holding tank. Once it gets there, it trolls up its sleeves and gets to work.

All you do is pour the recommended amount and let the powder do the rest. This treatment is designed to keep your hoses clear from build ups as well as eliminate foul odors. It also reduces tissue so the paper does not clog your pipes and valves.

The special enzymes inside won;t harm your tank or pipes. Click here to find out more.

Where to Store a Portable RV Waste Tank

This is not a difficult question to answer. Whether you are a do it yourselfer or not, you have plenty of places on your RV to put your portable tank. Some locations depend if you are hauling a trailer or driving an RV.

Here are some great ideas for you to draw inspiration from:

  • Back of the pick up truck- if you are hauling a trailer, this is the perfect spot for a portable tank. It is out of the way, safe and easy to access when needed
  • Trailer storage- if the portable is small enough, you can fit it in the front storage of a large trailer.
  • Trailer storage- if the portable is small enough, you can fit it in the front storage of a large trailer.
  • Inside the RV- if kept sealed and clean this is still a safe hygienic place to keep the portable tank until you park at your camping spot for the night
  • Under your RV- whether it is your trailer or RV, underneath is always a good spot. A few strong bungee cords can hold the tank up and out of the way as you drive
  • Under your RV 2- or you can be innovative and make your own carrier. This can be done by attaching steel rods to your frame, adding a couple of hinges to one side and a locking latch to the other and have your storage spot slide open. This makes retrieving the tank nice and easy
  • On your ladder- a lot of RVs have a ladder on the back so you can climb on to the roof. Attach the portable tank there with strong bungee cords or rope, etc. And keep it out of the way as you drive.
  • On your back bumper- If you do not want to block your ladder, just rig up a special device and attach it to your back bumper

We are sure if you put your mind to it, you can come up with some pretty convenient spots. You may be even more creative and design some great holders to keep the portable tank secure while out of the way.

Can I Leave my RV Tank Drain Valves Open

While it may seem like a good idea, the majority of RV owners do not agree with keeping holding tank valves open. In one poll only 14% of those responding said they keep their valves open all the time. Another 14% said most of the time they keep them open.

Yet a majority 57% said they always keep them closed even when attached to hook ups. This conclusion is backed up on RV user websites. Most of the people talking about this issue say they keep their valves closed.

The reason for this is that if you leave your valves open, the solids inside the tank can dry out and clog up your valve and make dumping a lot more difficult. Also, the dried solids can end up costing between $500 and 600 in repairs.

Also, all the water will run out and leave behind a pile of solids you do not want to clean up. The recommended black water dump time comes when the tank is either 2/3 or 3/4 full.

The same goes for the gray water tanks although more people leave them open. There is still a danger of damaging the dump valve but it is not as great as the black water holding tank.

What to Look for When Buying a Portable Tank

Not every tank is made the same and some come made with inferior materials. It pays to know what to look for before you spend your money on a cheap portable tank

  • Tank size- the size of the portable should be big enough to handle the contents of your holding tank in one trip. Unless you want to make several trips to empty the holding tank. If you travel with lots of people, then a large tank is needed
  • Wheels & handles- you want to be able to transport the tank smoothly and easily. You will want a tank with wheels and a good, long handle to pull it. Carry handles are okay if you are lifting the tank in and out of your pick up truck
  • Durability- look for a reputable brand name that makes top quality portable tanks. This is another RV product you do not want to save money on and buy the cheapest model on the market.
  • Easy to use- you do not want to spend your vacation trying to figure out how to use the tank. Get one that is easy to use and has the compatibility for those accessories you need to use
  • Price- the most expensive is not always the best and the cheapest is not always the worst. Find the one that is durable, easy to use and is built with quality construction materials

Some Final Comments

Having a portable RV waste water tank on hand will save you a lot of trouble and frustration when you run into difficult dumping situations.. You also won’t have to worry about using one. They are easy to set up on both ends of the dumping process and easy to keep clean.

Then treating your holding tanks is not that hard either. There are enough top quality and easy to use RV holding tank treatments on the market to choose from. They all do a good job in making sure your tanks do not smell and stay at prime operational levels.

All you need to do is know what to look for and where you are going to store it. Once you get the information for these two requirements you will be able to find the right portable RV waste water tank for you.

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