FAQ: Water Tanks

If you are renting an RV, you will learn about water tanks. Every RV has 3 tanks, black, grey and fresh water tanks. What does this mean? We will explain below. For those renting an RV, your RV should contain a sewer hose, a fresh water hose and an electrical connection.

What is a black water tank?

Black water tank is a fancy way of saying your sewer tank. This tank will hold all of your sewage from flushing the toilet. When you are hooked up to sewer at a campsite, this tank will drain directly into the hookups at the campground. When you are not hooked up, your black water tank will hold all of the wastes from the toilet until you empty it at the campsite.

What is a grey water tank?

Grey water tank holds drainage from the shower and sink. When you are hooked up at a campsite, your grey water will drain directly into the sewer hookups at the campground. When you are traveling and not hooked up to the sewer line at a campground, the tank will hold all your grey water until you empty it at the campsite.

What is fresh water tank?

Your fresh water tank can be filled with a hose when you are hooked up at the campsite. This water is what comes out of the sink and shower, and flushes the toilet. This water is safe to drink and cook with. When you are hooked up at a campsite, this water will come directly from the hose and not from the tank. To fill the fresh water tank, you use the hose at the campsite.

How often should I empty my black water tank?

The black water has a gauge that will tell you how full the tank is, using that as the guide and knowing these gauges are often in-accurate, plan to dump when the gauge shows the tank is three fourths full. Normally two people can go six or seven days without having to dump the tank, use this as a measuring mark also. In the hot summer months you would usually dump every five days with just two people.

Doesn’t the gray tank always empty when connected to a sewer at the campground?

YES—but it is a good practice to collect some gray water to assist in flushing hoses etc. when dumping the black water tank. Example: you are camping for seven days, at day five close the drain valve on the gray water tank thus accumulating some water which can now use for black water hose cleanup. So, on day seven dump the black tank and then open the gray water valve and it will rinse out the hoses for you. Note: it is important that you maintain a separation in storage of sewer hoses, do not let the black water hoses come in contact with your drinking water hoses. Keep things separate and clean.

What do I do if my next campground does not have hook ups for water or sewer?

You should plan to come into that campground with a full tank of fresh water and empty gray and black storage tanks. Before you leave your full hookup campground, make sure you have emptied your black and grey tanks and have filled your fresh water tank before you arrive at the campground with no hookups. Also you will need to conserve on both water usage and sewer use. RV’s have a water supply system that will deliver two gallons of water per minute, a ten minute shower is 20 gallons, you have just used up half of your gray water tank capacity. Be careful and you can probably go three days. You can also use campground bathrooms and showers to conserve water.