Avoiding RV Septic Disasters: Tips for Proper Maintenance and Pumping

Avoiding RV Septic Disasters: Tips for Proper Maintenance and Pumping

July 21, 2023

Avoiding RV Septic Disasters: Tips for Proper Maintenance and Pumping

If you’re an RV owner, you know that maintaining your RV’s septic system is crucial for a smooth and stress-free camping experience. Neglecting proper maintenance and pumping of your RV’s septic system can lead to disastrous situations that can ruin your trip and cost you a fortune in repairs. In this blog post, we will share some tips to help you avoid RV septic disasters and keep your travels worry-free.

1. Know Your RV’s Holding Tank Capacity

Understanding your RV’s holding tank capacity is the first step in proper septic system maintenance. It’s important to know how much waste your RV can hold before reaching capacity. This knowledge will help you plan your trips better and avoid overfilling the tanks, which can lead to messy and unpleasant situations. Familiarize yourself with your RV’s owner’s manual to find out the specific holding tank capacity and use this information to plan your bathroom breaks and septic system maintenance routines.

2. Use Proper Septic-Safe Toilet Paper and Chemicals

Using septic-safe toilet paper is crucial for maintaining a healthy and functional septic system in your RV. Regular toilet paper can clog your RV’s plumbing and create backups. Look for RV-specific toilet paper brands that are designed to dissolve rapidly in water. Additionally, using septic-safe chemicals in your holding tanks can aid in breaking down waste and reducing odors. Chemicals like RV-approved toilet treatments can be used to enhance the breakdown process and keep your septic system in good condition.

3. Practice Regular Tank Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your RV’s septic system is vital for preventing disasters. Start by thoroughly flushing your tanks on a regular basis. After emptying your tanks, fill them approximately one-third full with clean water and add a tank treatment recommended for maintaining the septic system. Allow the treatment to work as you drive and slosh the water around the tank, cleaning it and breaking down residual waste.

4. Monitor Tank Levels and Empty Before They Reach Capacity

Keeping an eye on your tank levels is crucial to prevent overflows and backups. Many modern RVs have tank monitoring systems that provide accurate readings of the tank levels. If your RV doesn’t have a built-in monitoring system, consider using external gauges or electronic tank sensors. Monitor the tank levels regularly and plan your pump-outs accordingly. It’s always better to empty your tanks before they reach capacity to avoid potential issues during your trip.

5. Follow Proper Dumping Procedures at RV Parks and Campgrounds

When visiting RV parks or campgrounds, it’s important to follow the proper dumping procedures. Most parks have designated dump stations where you can empty your tanks. Follow the posted rules and regulations, and be considerate of other campers waiting to use the dump station. Always wear gloves and protective gear when handling sewage and properly rinse and sanitize the dump station area after use to maintain cleanliness and hygiene.

6. Schedule Regular Pump-Outs

Regular pump-outs are essential for maintaining a healthy and odor-free RV septic system. The frequency of pump-outs will depend on your usage and the size of your RV’s holding tanks. As a general rule, it’s recommended to have your tanks pumped out every three to four weeks for moderate usage. However, high usage or extended trips may require more frequent pump-outs. By scheduling regular pump-outs, you prevent your tanks from reaching their capacity, minimize the risk of backups, and keep your septic system functioning efficiently.


Proper maintenance and pumping of your RV’s septic system are crucial for a stress-free and enjoyable camping experience. By following these tips, including knowing your RV’s holding tank capacity, using septic-safe toilet paper and chemicals, practicing regular tank maintenance, monitoring tank levels, following proper dumping procedures, and scheduling regular pump-outs, you can avoid RV septic disasters and keep your travels worry-free. Remember, a little bit of preventative maintenance goes a long way in ensuring the longevity and functionality of your RV’s septic system.

Got Questions? Let Us Help!

Welcome to Sharps Sanitation! Sharps Sanitation has been in business since 1964, serving El Centro, California and the surrounding areas for over 50 years. We specialize in portable toilet rentals for any occasion, septic tank pumping, RV tank pumping, and portable toilet pumping. With more than 40 years of experience in the industry, Sharps Sanitation is a company that you can trust to get the job done right. We pride ourselves on our competitive pricing and being on time every time. We are family owned and operated and have been since the day we started. We are your one-stop shop for all of your portable toilet and septic needs. Give us a call today!

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