One of the most common questions for RVers is where to find RV dump stations and water. Knowing where you can get water to fill the RV’s water tank and dump station locations is to key to enjoying the RV lifestyle; either on the road between destinations or when you go boondocking off grid.
As full-time RVers, we’ve put together a great resource that will help the beginner weekend camper to the most seasoned full-time RVer find where to dump their tanks and where to find water.
So, as you you head out for your next RV destination or to boondock off the grid, here’s where and how to find RV dump stations and potable water for your van, camper or motorhome.
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Where to Find RV Dump Stations & Water
Now that our RV has much smaller holding tanks, we need to fill up our motorhome’s fresh water and empty our gray and black tank more often.
Finding RV services can be a challenge sometimes but through creativity and a little research, water and dump stations are out there.
Through our RV travels, we’ve found some great utility sources to share so you’re not left scampering around trying to find them.
But first, before pulling up to or parking our RV to fill or empty tanks, we’re always mindful of a few dump station rules to follow.
RV Dump Station Etiquette
1) Always ASK for Permission
Always ASK if to fill your water tank. Never assume you can just pull up to any water spigot or water filling station to fill up your RV water tank, water jugs or water bladder.
It’s super important to know that some water sources may be contaminated or are not meant for drinking, dishwashing or hand-washing. If they aren’t labeled ‘potable water’, then I wouldn’t take the chance of drinking it or bathing with it.
Second, if you enter any property and take water or dump without asking or their knowledge, that’s the same as stealing. Be prepared to pay the consequences for trespassing and theft.
2) Never expect FREE water
Don’t ever expect to dump and/or get potable water for free. Either offer a donation or patronize them by making a comparable purchase. If a friend or family member offers their water or sewer drain, always slip them some cash; especially for those on fixed incomes.
My suggestion is $5 for every 25 gallons. Remember, these resources don’t have to give it to you for free, nor should you expect it to be given for free.
If a source is offering free potable water, do not think you can go in there with your big RV’s 100 gallon and fill your water tank to the top. Be kind and don’t be greedy.
Someone is paying for that water. Can you imagine the cost if 10 big rig motorhomes or fifth wheels filled up their 100 gallon water tanks?
3) Do Not Block or Impede Traffic
Some campgrounds and other locations may be a challenge to navigate a big rig RV to dump stations and water sources.
Wherever you go to fill or dump your tanks, be considerate of other drivers. Respect the traffic patterns and designated parking spots.
4) No Lollygagging
Dump Stations are really intended for just a dump and run. They are not the place to do your RV’s monthly tank maintenance.
Save your RV black tank maintenance and flushing for when you stay at a campground or RV park. Chances are there will be a line behind you waiting to dump their tanks as well. So, make it quick.
5) Leave No Trace
Whenever you’re taking on water or dumping, always leave it better than you found it. Never leave any trash or proof of that you’ve been there.
If you make a big mess at the dump station, let the owner or manager know. It’s illegal to walk away from a dump accident anyway. But, if it’s just a little splash, make sure you hose down the mess into the sewer hole.
Also, if you run over a curb and break the concrete or hit a sign post, report it immediately. Don’t be that guy and walk away from damage you create. Remember, they cost money to repair.
Now that the RV dump station etiquette rules are out of the way, let’s talk about where to find clean potable water to fill your tank or places to dump your gray and black tanks.
How to find dump stations near me?
There are actual designated dump stations located throughout the United States. But knowing where to find them doesn’t have to be like finding unicorns or rainbows.
There are great online resources and smartphone apps that can point you to nearby dump stations. Our favorites are SaniDumps, RV Dump Stations, and RV Dumps. Most are crowd-sourced where others post locations and services as they find them.
Campgrounds & RV Parks
We will fill our RV water tank and dump at a campground or RV park we are staying at. Before leaving the campground, we flush our gray and black tanks thoroughly and fill up our water tank.
But if we’re just passing through and know there’s a campground or RV park, we’ll call to ask if they have a dump station and/or potable water available. Usually it costs about $20-25 to dump.
However, potable water may not be located near or at the dump station, so you may incur a separate charge to fill your water tank.
In my opinion, it may just be more feasible to park overnight at the campground instead. That way, you can also get your laundry done and take long hot showers before trekking off to your next destination.
Truck Stops & Travel Centers
Usually, you can find a dump station at a truck stop or travel center. Flying J and Pilot travel centers as well as Love’s truck stops are updating their services for RVs.
Your best bet would be to visit their website and find a location nearest to where you need service.
Typically, dump stations at these establishments cost about $10-15. However, if you join their discount loyalty program, you can get it for about half of that.
But one rule I didn’t include in the courtesy rules above is to stay out of the way of the professional truck drivers.
Like the above travel centers and truck stops, some of the bigger fuel station chains have either dump stations or potable water spigots or both.
However, most may not accommodate big rig RVs. But if they do, there is, most likely, a nominal charge to fill your RV’s water tank.
Welcome Centers & Rest Stops
Though they are few and far between, some interstate rest stops may have separate dump station and potable water spigots. They usually don’t cost anything however, in some states, there may be a nominal fee.
Municipal & County Parks
There are many municipal or city parks as well as county parks that have potable water and dump facilities. But, don’t expect them for free. There’s typically a small fee to dump and take on water.
If that city or county has a bonafide campground or RV park, perhaps it’s just as economical to just stay the night and eat at the local diner.
State Parks & National Parks
Every State Park and National Park has a dump station and a separate potable water station. Usually, your entrance fee into the park will allow you to use those services. However, be aware that some may charge a small fee to cover their costs.
Public Lands, BLM & U.S. Forestry Ranger Stations
Some public lands, BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and U.S. Forestry Ranger Stations have sewer and potable water facilities in addition to restrooms, picnic areas and separate campsites. Ask the Ranger on duty if there is a dump station and potable water spigot so you can self-service your RV utilities.
A lot of Native American tribes operate casinos that may have their own campground or RV park along with dump stations and potable water. Be aware though, they most always will incur a fee for dumping your gray and black tank as well, take on potable water for your RV.
Again, it may be better financially to just stay an overnight at a casino campgrounds, play the slots, and take in the buffet.
Boats typically have the same kind of water and sewer systems as RVs. Instead of RV dump stations, they have pump out stations where boats can dump their tanks as well.
If your RV or van is small, you may ask the Marina office if they can handle your black tank and water fill. They, just like other dump station locations most likely charge a fee for potable water fills and dump fees.
Several larger RV dealerships may offer dump services as well as propane filling stations. But usually, they are inside their gated lots and will need an employee to assist.
If you have a Good Sam Membership, you can use Camping World’s RV dump stations for free. Some may also have propane fill stations. However, do know that not every Camping World offers those services.
Outdoor Sporting Goods Stores
Some outdoor sporting goods stores like Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops may have a dump station on the premises. However, they impose a dump fee.
As well, there may be a separate charge to fill your RV water tank, water bladder or even your water jugs. They may also have propane for sale as well.
Wastewater Treatment Facilities
Some local wastewater treatment facilities may have places where you can dump your tanks. However, through our experience, they are usually under lock and key requiring staff to let you in to dump. There may or may not be a dump fee.
When we boondocked with our big rig fifth wheel, we oftentimes would run into town with our portable water bladder and ask a commercial business if they minded if we filled it up. We always offered to pay whether through making a small purchase. But most often, because we were polite and asked, they would allow us to fill for free.
Home Septic Systems
If your home has its’ own septic system, you can certainly use it to dump the contents of your black tank.
However, there’s a few caveats in using your septic system to dump your RV’s raw sewage.
First, be aware of the capacity of your septic tank and if it can handle the amount you’ll be adding to it.
Second, when dumping from an access port, make certain you’re on the correct side of the baffle. This will ensure solids remain far from the outlet.
Third, make certain you plan ahead if you know you’re going to dump your black water into your septic tank. You want to refrain from using chemicals anytime you’re dumping into your septic system as it may destroy your bacteria breakdown process.
The issue with procuring potable water from churches is you really need to be there when the church staff is onsite.
Again, never just drive up to their water spigot and fill your van or RV water tank. Even if you write a donation check and slide it under the door, that doesn’t give you free rein to just assume it would be okay.
But, if the clergy or church staff does allow you to fill your water tank, ALWAYS make a donation. Never ask if you can make a donation’. Just do it. $5-10 for a small RV or van should do it. But for a big rig RV that’s filling 50+ gallons, $10-20 should cover it.
Overnight Camping Memberships
But again, never assume or just pull up to their outdoor water spigot and fill up your RV.
Wrapping up where to find dump stations near me
So, it’s apparent that finding dump stations and potable water isn’t as hard as finding unicorns or rainbows. You just need to know where to look and be creative in your findings.
If you’ve found a different kind of venue that offers RV dumping and water tank filling, please leave a comment so we can add them to our list here.
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