Just a quick blog about hooking up to sewer at a campground. When we first started this journey I wasn’t sure how all these systems worked together so I looked around on the internet and found a few videos but had to piece some of the information together myself. I hope this helps.
There is a certain order to these posts. Power then Water then Sewer. I wrote it that way, because that’s the way I set them up. This is a precaution. I always want a cold beverage and the ability to wash my hands before I start messing with grey and black water systems. It’s also the best way to keep the bacteria from these systems from getting onto your power system and more importantly your freshwater system components. I always wear gloves, store the black and grey water hoses in a water tight bin separate from the other systems and sanitize everything between trips. Additionally our trailer comes with a separate grey water tank for the kitchen so there are some extra parts that you may not need, but I’m going to work with what I have.
Our water disposal system consists of three 10 foot sections of collapsible sewer hoses that can be inter-connected without fittings, a Y-connector, a 90 degree clear elbow with fitting for sewer pipe and two 15 foot Slunky expandable sewer hose cradles. You may need more or less depending on your camper. I always start from the camper and work my way down to the sewer connection.
First locate your tank connection. We have two on our camper one in the front for the grey water tank in the kitchen(pictured left) and one in the back for the grey and black water tanks for the bathroom (pictured right.)If you look closely there are two gate valves on the picture on the right: one grey handle and one black handle. Guess which one is the black water tank…. (that’s just grey water… I hope.)
Most campers, now a days, have this pin and hook connection for the outbound water pipes. It makes it a little easier to connect, interconnect and disconnect all the plumbing. We have to deal with the two separate tanks and did not want to mess with moving and connecting hoses mid-camp, so we invested in this Y-connector that helps put two hoses into the same sewer dump. Additionally, the kit we bought included the see-through 90 that dumps from horizontal to vertical. Gross to think about, but trust me you wanna know when you have cleaned all the black water out of the hose using the grey water before you think about disconnecting anything. The less you have to touch this stuff, the happier everyone at camp will be, including you.
This setup is really more art than science: You have a hose connected to the tank, and have added an extension or a Y to get the water where it needs to go, then there is the 90 to move it from horizontal to vertical, add the complication of where your outputs are on the trailer and where the input is for the sewer. It’s like a smelly puzzle. Depending on the campsite, the routing might have to be adjusted once or twice before I run water through this system. Finally, we add the hose cradles to make sure the water runs from our trailer down hill to the sewer intake.
There are gauges in the camper to tell you how full your tanks are, but I haven’t found them to be reliably accurate. Our family sticks to our trailer’s bathroom, we usually don’t use the campground’s facilities. This means our tanks fill up a little faster than other people’s might. Generally I find it easier to get up every morning and after showers are done, go dump the black water. Once that stops running, I flush both grey water tanks to clear the lines and make sure we don’t have tanks filling up at camp. When I am not actively dumping water, I leave all the valves closed so that sewer gas does not back up into the trailer.
A Note About Toilet Paper:
Toilet paper is the one thing that can really gunck up your trailer’s sewer system! Be sure you are using marine/camper grade toilet paper – not your usual Charmin.
We also regularly use a tank treatment such as Aqua-Kem to keep things smelling pretty and help break down waste in the tank. Most companies have nifty pod packs to toss in your toilet now.
If you find that your black sewer sensor is reading full – even after you have just dumped – you may have a piece of toilet paper blocking the sensor. Then it’s time for a hose and a true tank cleanout, but that’s another blog…
On our trips, so far, we have not run into any sanitation issues. We are far from experts, but if the information we have gleaned from our mistakes is useful in preventing you from repeating them everyone wins! Stay safe and have fun until we post again…
Tearing Down Camp (coming soon)