After using travel trailers or RVs for a long period, their grey and or black tanks fill with waste. You need to empty it into the communal or campground septic or sewer tank with a waste hose and/or an RV sewer donut.
It’s one of the most inelegant tasks to perform before putting your RV away and you wouldn’t want to ruin that by using the wrong sewer hoses or fittings.
In this article, you will know step-by-step instructions on how to use an RV sewer donut without damaging it, and more details about the grey, black and fresh tanks in your RV.
Table of Contents
What is a Sewer Donut For RV?
An RV sewer donut is a technical device that goes into the campground’s sewer hole. It is placed into the sewer hole firmly and has a hole of its own that acts as a chamber, in which the sewer hose thread can be placed securely.
The seal of the RV sewer donut is tight and water-resistant. This rubber shaped device seals annoying gases and the sewer hose in and keeps water and other weather factors out.
What Exactly Is a Camping Sewer Donut?
RV sewer donuts have a tight seal that prevents any or more foul odors from escaping and keeps the surrounding area and the tank’s storage area smelling nice. It can also be spelled as ‘sewer doughnut‘.
What is an RV Sewer Adapter?
A sewer adapter allows you to connect your RV’s drain hose to the RV’s sewer outlet, and the end of the sewer hose to the campground’s dump station.
It creates a tight fitting sewer connection at both ends of the drain hose and reduces smell and spillage. Your RV’s drain hose may or may not require more adapters depending on the type and some other factors.
What Exactly is an RV Sewer Ring?
An RV donut is also known as an RV sewer ring. It’s a round rubber device that is used to seal off any ground sewer connection between the communal sewer and a threaded sewer connection with the RV sewer hose for the expulsion of waste from RV tanks. Many RV parks demand sewer rings to be used for emptying waste tanks.
Is a Sewer “donut” obvious?
A sewer donut acts as a campground sewer connection between the sewer hose and the sewer tank. It’s almost impossible to notice after connections, just like any gases that would disturb the environment without them!
What Does a Sewer Donut Look Like?
A sewer doughnut, like its name, looks almost like a regular donut pastry or ring. The doughnut’s tight seal and hole in its middle allow a threaded connection or a straight connection between asewer hose and a communal waste tank.
RV Sewer Donut Options
One such device is Camco which is one of the most trusted brands for sewers and sewer products. It is a thickened rounded rubber-shaped device that stops any form of stink while emptying your RV black tank.
It is easy to use and doesn’t retain moisture, making it very easy to clean. The Camco donut has a tapered end that creates a secure seal because it fits into most sewer holes you may encounter.
In my opinion, it’s a must-have product that should be part of any emptying sewer tank process because it performs its job and saves you from bio-hazards in an almost perfect manner.
Biohazards and/or annoying smells can also be stopped by using sewer donuts with clamps. They are usually made of stainless steel and are rust and waterproof making them very durable.
They are also pressure resistant and can easily prevent liquid and effluent or sewer gas leakage. All you need to do is connect them to the flexible connector then a waste line or a hoses’ threaded end to the other end.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to do some digging to find these because they aren’t easy to find even on Amazon.
How does the sewer system work on an RV?
RV’s have about 3 tanks installed in them; the freshwater, greywater, and blackwater tanks. After they fill up, it is necessary to take the RV to a waste dump.
Freshwater tanks are used to hold clean fresh water that can be used off campgrounds or sites, ranging from 3 to more than 25 gallons. They have an inlet from where it can be filled by connecting it to hookups with a hose.
At RV parks or sites, you can decide to leave your tank hooked to the freshwater source, until it’s time to hit the road.
Grey water tank
This is where all water used in the RV accumulates. Water from the shower sinks, and washing machines meet up here. They range from 40 to 95 gallons depending on the RV type.
It’s great to have cause it can make use of recycled water. If it gets too full it can contaminate other water sources, so it’s good to drain it out when that happens.
Black water tank
This ranges from 15 to 50 gallons tank and is located under the RV. It collects all the waste from the RV toilet, becomes full, and then is emptied. These RV sewer hoses come in. The tank must be connected to a communal sewer tank and emptied once every month.
How To Use an RV Sewer Donut
Step 1: Check Sewer Valves
Check the sewer hole and the RV inlet and valves for the black and grey tanks. Remove any drip caps that you might have used to store the sewer hose.
Step 2: Connect RV Sewer Hose
Connect one end of the sewer line or hose to the RV and the discharge end the to plastic or rubber ring, which will keep any or more foul odor from escaping the communal tank.
Step 3: Drain the Black Water Tank
After doing the full hookups, checking the threaded fitting, and making sure there are no air gaps, use an RV sewer hose support to lift the hose in a downward motion. then turn on the black water tank valve and allow it to empty.
If there are any leakages, stop emptying the tank, readjust the connections and open the valve again.
Step 4: Drain the Grey Water Tank
If You have no way of flushing out the sewer lines or hose after emptying the black water tank, you can turn on the grey water tank to flush out the remnants or residue left. If you’re using a clear elbow adapter, the water should be clear on the end connected to the waste hole.
Step 5: Close the RV Sewer Waste Valves
After emptying the tanks and making sure there’s nothing left in the hose, you can then close the valves for emptying the tanks.
Step 6: Spray Down, Clean Up
After closing the valves you should put on the black water tank sprayer to remove any more gunk on the walls of the tank. After a few minutes open the valve and empty the tank again. It is advisable to watch this process carefully because pressure might build up in the tank and cause the toilet to overflow.
Step 7: Disconnect RV Sewer Hose
After spraying, disconnect the hose, waste line, or waste pipe and the donut for RV or sewer adapter.
Step 8: Disinfect
Disinfect everything used to this point and gather them all for putting back into storage.
Step 9: Put Everything Away
Put the caps back on the sewer hose and put everything that you’ve used to empty the tank back into storage.
RV Sewer Hose Tips & Tricks
Have a universal adaptor that works for any sewer hole
One of the things that might happen to you when trying to empty your tanks is that your hose might not fit the campground sewer hole. This happens to everyone. The pipes are usually 3 to 4 inches in size and it may be a smooth or even threaded version you might be dealing with.
The best thing to do is to get a universal adaptor that can fit all 3-inch to 4-inch sizes, or a sewer donut with a tapered end.
Another thing to do is to make sure you have your drip cap for the bayonet-style fittings on your hoses. This will stop any leaks from the pipe in the storage area.
Compress the hose
Compress the hose before putting it in storage. This makes storage easier, and also creates room for other items cause it’s less messy.
Focus on the task
This is a very overlooked important part of emptying tanks. You have to pay attention to the task without distractions to avoid any accidents. For example, toilets may overflow because of the pressure from the black water tank when spraying.
Disinfect items after use
Ensure you disinfect everything after use. This helps to maintain a healthy environment, keep you and your family safe, and lastly, the items in good condition.
Can an RV Be Connected to a Residential Sewer?
The simple answer is yes; RV’s can be connected to residential sewers for the emptying of their black tanks.
This has to be done legally so make sure to check the rules and regulations for a site before emptying your black water tank and preferably with a sewer donut to keep away effluent or sewer gas that could make the surrounding area unpleasant.
Is It Possible to Connect an RV to a Septic Tank?
Yes, it is also safe to connect to a septic tank and to create a dump site in that location. This may be at your home or a campground‘s sewer hole. You might decide to keep your RV connected or empty your tank at once.
This is a good choice but emptying waste into a septic tank frequently can upset the balance of the bacteria used to break waste down in the tank, so it would be best to choose how often you would like to do it.
Are Sewer Hose Supports Required?
Nowadays, Campgrounds and or sites usually ask that you use RV sewer hose supports for removing waste from RV tanks. Contrary to what you might believe, using RV sewer hose supports quickens the emptying process because the sewer hose is placed above the ground. This makes the flush process easier and faster.
How Long Should the Sewer Hose on an RV Be?
There are different sewer hose choices to choose from but an ideal one should be long enough to be connected from your RV to the sewer hole without any complaints. The ideal length for most sewer hoses is about 25 to 20 feet. Most hoses are retractable so they can easily be transformed to inches in length and placed in the RV storage area without any problems.
How Is PVC Pipe Used for RV Sewer?
If you would prefer using a PVC Pipe to a sewer hose I would recommend that you choose a black water sewer pipe within a diameter range of about 4 to 6 inches diameter.
You should connect both ends of the PVC pipe cut to the inlet of the black tank and the communal sewer hole with a PVC adapter or an elbow adapter. You can also use a flexible connector to attach the PVC pipe cut for a tighter seal and more flexible joint.
Are All RV Sewer Hoses the Same Size?
Sewer hoses are usually manufactured to make sure that connections remain clean and seamless. RV hoses usually come in 15-foot lengths but they still range from 15 to 20 ft, which is enough to reduce any or most stress on your part. It’s better to have a hose with too much longer than one without a lot of it.
How Do I Connect My RV to my Septic Permanently?
Some RV campers may decide to go for this choice if they feel they will have a long-term stay at the campground or RV park.
You can connect your RV to the septic by using a cleanout, which is one end of a waste pipe inside the ground and a little bit of it that’s above the surface with a screw cap. You can connect your hose to this by using a donut for RV or an elbow adapter.
Should you poop in your RV?
Yes, you are allowed to do this. A typical RV toilet is connected to its black water tank where all its waste resides over time. It is important that you empty your black tank at least once a month or once every two months to keep it in peak condition.
Can you pee in an RV shower?
We all have urges to do this when we are in the shower, but it’s not advisable to do so especially if your grey water tank recycles or reuses water. Urine should always go into the black water tank, though it can sometimes still be seen in the grey water tank.
What Size is an RV Sewer Connection?
This size of the connection between the sewer hose and the RV inlet and the campground’s waste hole is usually 3 inches in diameter which is the universal diameter for hoses. RV Hoses might still make use of bayonet fittings or a twist-and-lock type for connections.
RV life is an amazing one to live. It offers you a different sense of freedom you wouldn’t have in a regular home. It’s great, but at the end of the day it is still camping, and some tasks need doing whether you would prefer to do them or not.
If you decide to do some RV dumping make sure the rules and regulations for that campground have been researched to avoid unwanted fining. Ensure you always have a universal adapter or a donut with a tapered end and follow the steps and tips for RV dumping above.
Do you have any questions concerning RV donuts? What type of donut style would you prefer? Do tell us in the comment section below!
I`m a current Law Enforcement Officer working within the Counterterrorism Bureau in New York State. I have been Camping for over 20 years. My styles of camping include tent, car, truck, van, and RV travel trailer. I have a YouTube channel where I teach all types of camping with an entertaining method: https://youtube.com/@TheSmallsRVAdventures