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How to Design and Build a RV Park Dump Station

Design and Build RV Dump Station

Do you want to build an RV park dump station? If YES, here are 10 factors to consider when designing and building a dump station for RV park.

When it comes to disposing of black and gray water in the United States, it is illegal to just dump it anywhere. That includes anywhere in the wilderness. Note that wastewater can cause damage to the environment.

It can also pollute the water that wildlife depends on for survival. That is why there are designated RV dump stations where campers can safely dispose of their RV’s wastewater.

What is an RV Dump Station?

An RV dump station is a facility where wastewater from a recreational vehicle can be safely emptied into a sewer or septic system. Self-contained RV’s equipped with grey and/or black water holding tanks can be emptied at a dump station by connecting a sewer hose from the rig to the dump station input.

On the other hand, the gray water tank is connected to all the water drains, like the one in the kitchen sink, the shower, and the outdoor sink.

This means that the gray water tank will contain dirty but somewhat soapy water. Both of these tanks should be emptied before they fill to maximum capacity because a backed-up toilet is the last thing you want to deal with when camping out in the middle of the forest.

These stations located in public campgrounds and RV parks are usually free for campers staying overnight and may have a fee for non-guests. Many truck-stops and gas stations also have dump stations making them a great “pit stop” to re-fuel and empty tanks.

In the united states, it is very much illegal to dump raw sewage into the street. It is also illegal to dump the contents of your wastewater tank in the wild. Doing so can probably cause a disease outbreak for animals of the forest and it can permanently pollute the environment.

Campers can either hire an official sewage treatment company to empty their tanks or drive up to the dump station in their local sewage treatment plant or the dump station at a campsite. There are a lot of factors to consider when constructing a dump station for RVs.

Many of the RVs are the size of fire trucks so access and maneuvering room are critical in the design of these stations. Because of these issues, it becomes much more complicated to complete a dump station design while still minimizing impacts to the environment.

The focus should be on nature and not on roadways, so if possible use curving roads to limit long views of asphalt which will also help keep traffic at slower safe speeds.

Basic Requirements for Building an RV Dump Station

Also, note that locating a designated RV dump station can be time-consuming and take away from the enjoyable experience that traveling and camping are meant to be. However, if your campsite depends on the municipal sewer grid, building an RV dump station is still possible.

You will need to find the short pipe that is connected to the larger sewer line. This is called the clean out. These pipes often have a safety cap that can be removed to check or clean the line.

You will need to open up the line before you connect your RV to the sewer for dumping.In the United States, here are some of the basic requirements that you need to include in your plans:

  • Concrete pad

Have it in mind that your drain would be expected to have a concrete pad around it that is sloped. This helps prevent the wastewater from spilling on the ground and becoming environmental contamination.

  • Self-closing cap

Also, the drain is required to have a tight-sealing, self-closing cap such as the Footloose RV site sewer cap.

  • Flushing water

Also ensure that there is a water source that allows you to flush the dump station pipes. A sign shall be posted “Not for Human Consumption. Use for Flushing and Cleaning Purposes Only.”

  • Service Access

Make sure you plan access to the system in multiple places in case service is required. Close off these access points using manhole covers. They are available in a many sizes and configurations. Some have lids that can be locked, some lids are watertight, and some have special designations so service personnel know what where to access the system.

  • Fluid Control

Note that many sewer and water systems require access where waste can be removed from sections of the sewer network. Capping these sections is important to protect the environment while still allowing service access. Well / sewer plugs are available in several designs and configurations and should be considered in the design of your system.

Engineering Requirements of Building an RV Dump Station

Note that the practical requirements tend to vary from state to state but some of the most important elements you should build into your dump station include:

  • Have at least one dump station for every 100 campsites. For those campgrounds that offer both tent and RV sites, you only need to account for the RV sites.
  • Each RV dump station needs to have designated water for flushing. There should be clear signs indicating the water is for flushing the line, not for drinking.
  • Extra measures in place to protect the water supply in the area. This means you need to have equipment that will prevent backflow at the dump station.
  • You have to be equipped with a tank that can hold a thousand gallons of water. However, if you are connecting to a sewer line rather than a septic tank you need to ensure that the piping is maintained and leak-proof.
  • Each dump station should have the right hoses and caps that prevent the site from being tampered with. Sewer caps like the footloose RV site sewer cap offer high-quality and tamper-free security for your RV dump station line.

Why Care Must Be Taken When Planning an RV Dump Station

It’s very necessary that you try to preserve as much vegetation as possible and use it as a buffer between parks and facilities.

Try to keep the station within the roadway or pedestrian corridors. The typical RV has water, sewer, electrical, and cable connections located near the rear of the vehicle on the driver’s side. The access into the RV is on the passenger’s side of the vehicle.

Many RVs also have slide-outs that increase the size of the interior space which can create problems for RVs in tight parks. Avoid these problems by addressing RV park needs during the design stage. So, if you are looking to construct a dump station for your RV Park, below are few factors to consider.

10 Factors to Consider When Designing a RV Park Dump Station

  1. Terrain

You should avoid placing the septic tank at the base of a steep slope. When it rains, the water will rush downward and potentially flood the tank or leach field. With nowhere to go, waste water could flow back into your park and cause problems.

It could also seep through the ground surface and fill your fields with a foul, sewage stench. To prevent this, choose level or high ground for installation.

  1. Regulatory Codes

Almost everything about RV parks are tightly regulated by health departments and regulatory agencies. They have regulations covering storm water drainage, access, traffic circulation, water and sewer services, electricity, garbage collection, and development densities.

You must always check your state and local regulatory agencies for the specific code requirements before you begin your park design.

  1. Soil Characteristics

Your dump station needs to be placed in the right soil to work properly. The ground should have a high absorption rate as it needs to take in and treat effluent before it’s released into the environment. Sandy, undisturbed soil provides the best absorption.

Bedrock and land with high clay content impede water and should be avoided. You should steer clear of soil with coarse gravel, low loading rates, and rising water tables too.

  1. Lane Widths

The park drives for RVs and trailers should be 20-24 feet for two-way roads and 12-20 feet for one-way roads. A good design practice is to make one-way roads that are 20-feet in width which includes a 6-foot wide pedestrian walkway.

This provides RVs the maneuvering area needed to back into a park while still offering safe pedestrian access through the park.

Campers are friendly outgoing folks that enjoy meeting other campers and are very considerate in stopping and providing assistance to a fellow camper trying to get into a park. Another nice feature of 20-foot wide one-way roads is that they can become two-way roads during emergencies.

  1. Surface Water Pollution

Surface water during its flow over the deposited waste may carry along some pollutants. Water courses flowing across the site should be diverted, and the surface water due to precipitation prevented from reaching the water course by an impermeable barrier.

  1. Land Design

Natural and man-made structures on your property, including water wells, trees, and buildings can impact system drainage. When working in areas with obstructions, you have to navigate electrical lines, tree roots, and additional obstacles.

Avoid these locations to prevent equipment damage. The volume of fill required depends upon density, degree of compaction, depth of fill and life for which the site is to be used.

The volume required will change in different cases. At a waste generation rate of 0.33kg/capita/day0.33kg/capita/day and final ‘in situ’ density of 1000kg/m31000kg/m3, about 150,000m3150,000m3 will be needed per million population for one year’s operation.

  1. One-way Roads

One-way roads work very well in parks and help to increase pedestrian safety. It can also suit well with your dump station.

Two-way roads can be used but extreme care must be utilized to avoid turning conflicts for parks. One-way roads with pedestrian lanes are the preferred design since they limit conflicting traffic, provide a safe zone for pedestrians, and provide additional maneuvering room when needed.

  1. Hydro-geological Investigations

The rainwater percolating through the waste tends to carry large amount of pollutants to the groundwater if the underlying strata is pervious or fissured. NEERI studies have shown that the leachate coming out is highly polluting (15 to 20 times more concentrated than the domestic wastewater).

As the pollution introduced is high, unless proper precautions are taken, it is likely to cause problems by getting drawn up through a dug well or other sources of water.

To avoid leachate contamination of groundwater, an impermeable barrier in the form of a puddled clay blanket should be provided. A thin plastic membrane could be provided and the leachate collected taken out through specific points, treated and then let out to meet water pollution control regulations.

  1. Park Access

Park access from public roads will be regulated by the county, Parrish, or the State depending on who controls the roadway where the park is located. A turn lane or lanes may be required depending on the size of the park, the speed of the main road, the roadway gradient, number of lanes, peak hour traffic counts, and site distances.

RVs and trailers don’t decelerate quickly or make quick turns into park entrances so right-turn and/or left-turn lanes may be needed for traffic safety. Consult a traffic engineer for the improvements needed for the park access.

  1. Approach and Haul Distance

The site should be easily accessible for vehicles throughout the year. It is desirable that narrow bridges, steep grades and roads that are likely to be submerged during some periods be avoided. Such sites receive additional loads from other processing and disposal site (which may not be working) in which case alternate approach roads will be needed.

Such sites should not be too close to residential and commercial localities. Also, providing all the other conditions are satisfied, the site should be as near the area to be served as possible. The larger the haul distance to the site, the larger will be the recurring transportation cost.

Benefits of Building an RV Dump Station

If you have an RV campground, then you understand that providing a facility for guests to dump their waste is very crucial. Whether you provide one dump station location or give each camping site its own receptacle, this is a necessary part of your infrastructure.

However, building the perfect RV dump station is more than just digging a hole and gluing some PVC. You need to consider the engineering elements and even some legalities. There are a number of good reasons to consider building your own RV dump station.

By letting your guests to dump black and gray water on your property, you will be able to earn some extra revenue. Not every site offers RV dump stations as an amenity to guests, so your campsite will stand out if you decide to build one.

Most sites already have access to their local municipalities’ sewer lines, which makes adding a tank for your RV wastewater simpler and more affordable in the long run.


Having an RV dump station on your campsite can be a convenience for those who enjoy traveling and it can also bring in some extra revenue for your business. Visitors will enjoy not having to bother about finding a dump station along their route and you can attract other campers in the area to your site.

However, regardless of the reasons you want to build your own RV dump station, having the right equipment and tools are key to ensuring you have a dump option that works and avoiding expensive repairs down the road.