Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We are newbies to the RV world. We love the freedom of sailing the open road. We make no long-term plans. We just go where the spirit moves us and the wind blows warm. My wife suffers from “Germaphopia” and is always concerned when we use the dump station. She thinks they are the most unsanitary places on earth. I assure her that I use precautions when dumping and filling with fresh water, but she still has her concerns. Has this ever been a problem for other RV’ers? Is there anything we should be concerned with? I think it is all in her head but I would like to ease her mind.
--Dumpmeister in Delaware
Your wife’s fears are understandable. Many dump stations are used by a percentage of people with no concern for others. Often it is a case of misunderstanding. I just explained to a foreign couple, traveling in a rented motorhome, which water hose was for rinsing the sewer hose and which was for filling the fresh water tank. They had no clue and were confused by the signage. Most dump stations are poorly designed and could have the fresh water supply spaced well away from the sewage area with little expense added in piping. This would also allow those waiting in line to dump to move up while you are filling your water tank. Most are designed with the two separate supplies within a few feet of each other. I would assume that there have been users before you that have contaminated the hose. I am always amazed at how many people use no gloves, can’t seem to get the sewage in the hole, do not rinse the area down after they have made a mess, and use the fresh water hose to rinse their sewer hose. You should take precautions at every dump station and assume the worst.
As an example: We stopped just outside Cody, Wyoming at a free dump station near a VFW park. The sign stated, NO COMMERCIAL VEHICLES ALLOWED. Just as I was finishing up, a Canadian tour bus pulled up and the driver and tour guide stepped out. They were speaking French, but it did not take me long to figure out they had no hose and were going to pull the pin and shoot for the hole. I told my wife, as I hurried into the motorhome, “jump or swim.” We pulled away just as they let it fly. I went back over and gave them the “what for” but they just played stupid, which didn’t take much acting practice.
Your dump supplies should include rubber gloves, a small container of sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. It only takes a few minutes more to be organized, clean, sanitary and safe. Explain to your wife the procedure you go through and let her have a go at it. Once she understands what you are dealing with and the safeguards you employ, she should feel more relaxed with the whole process.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink