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
When I am done dumping, I remove my gloves, turn them inside out and throw them away - then wash my hands in the motor home. Then I drive to the fresh water, wipe down the water faucet inside and outside and also the handle with wipes. Then I run the water a little before attaching my water hose.
If that doesn't take care of the germs, well, I've done everything I can think of. So far, so good.
I always start the dump by making a dilute solution of bleach and water in a 2 gallon bucket. With a wet shop towel I open the dump hatch and my sewer valve. Following the dump, I flush my hose with the bleachy water several times and splash the remainder around the station. Have been known to use that same shop towel to wipe the bottom of my shoes. My idea is that no matter how messy the guy in front of me, I've left the place better than I found it.
What a great subject! I think people are way too spooked about dumping their tanks. I am organized and seldom have any problem. My Montana 5er's equipment helps make the job easy with the 'boom' hose. The only thing I have to handle is my own elbow fitting, which gets a good rinse afterwards. There is an outside water outlet with hot water on the RV that I can wash up with afterwards, with soap that I keep handy. It's an unpleasant job but somebody's got to do it, and there is no reason that it should be dirty or messy.
I've seen people put the sewer hose over the fresh water spigot to flush out the sewer hose. I carry a small container of bleach/water and always spray the spigot before connecting our fresh water hose.
Doctor, I hope you informed someone at the Head Office of the Bus company about their lazy driver. The rest of us Canadian travellers do not need to be smeared with the same smell as that idiot driver. I carry a separate water hose for rinsing my dump hose and tanks and over the years up after many careless people. There are only a few who make things tough for others but they will always be with us.
I use a Sanacon pump and never touch anything. It does the job for me. That is the way to go.
My wife and I are workcampers and have seen alot of crazy things. One of the worst is rver's rensing off their sewer hose on the parks picnic table. We see this too freaquently. We advise the rvers, in very strong language, of their disregard for others that may use the table for what it is intended for. Thankfuly most rvers are considerate of others.
Not sure where you're filling your water tanks, but if the "fresh water hose" was within 50 feet of the sewage dump I'd drive on until I came to another option. I sure don't see that kind of thing at the parks where I stay here in the SE United States.
Way to much concern about germs. Bleach solution! The water has chlorine (bleach) in it already just hook up to fresh water and flush out hose before connecting to rv. You're done. I have never used fresh water near dump station. Water only at dump station to rinse sewer hose.
One problem as I see it, the inconsiderate ones don't take the time to read articles like this. They are the "know-it-alls" and feel the article is a waste of time. So, how do we educate a "know-it-all"?
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