Matt Light in Gloves, black water tank


How-to Empty the Black Water Tank

It can be intimidating to empty your black water tank for the first time. Matt explains the process and shows how quick and easy it is to clear the black water and gray water tanks - it really only takes a couple of minutes!

The number one question most seasoned RVers get from newbies is almost always about the sewer or ‘black water’.  It really isn’t a big deal IF you know what you’re doing!  There are some very specific steps to take to make this necessary part of RV camping painless.

5 Simple Steps

  • Get Gloves

    Some people get a box of disposable gloves and use a new pair every time they clean out the black water line. I actually recommend a pair of heavy-duty plastic gloves like you’d wear to do dishes. You can find them specifically made for RVers too. Make sure they are the ones that go up your arm a bit too. These are easy to wear, flexible, and clean off easily.
  • Start with the Black Water

    Before you pull any valves, make sure all your connections are very tight on both ends of the hoses. Then, gently pull just the black water tank valve open. You’ll hear a swishing sound. That’s is the waste from your toilet moving through the hose.
  • Empty the Gray Water Second

    Once the swishing sound of the black water line ends, gently pull the grey water valve open. This is the wastewater from your shower and sinks. In addition to getting rid of that wastewater it’s also cleaning out the hose – that’s why you run the gray water AFTER the black water.
  • Shut the Valves

    Once all the tanks are completely cleaned out, you’ll want to shut the Black Water valve first and then the Grey Water valve.
  • Hose Down the Hose

    Some RVs come equipped with a flushing system that will flush out the sewer line. If you don’t have that, just take a regular hose and wash down the sewer hose if you think it needs it. Leave your sewer hose connected the entire time you’re at the campground, keep your eye on the tanks’ gauges inside the RV, and when in doubt, flush your tanks daily.
Matt Light in Gloves, black water tank
Pulling the Black Water
Holding Tanks
Matt Light Headshot

Retired NFL Player, New England Patriots

Matt Light, former offensive tackle for the New England Patriots is an enthusiastic RVer following his 11-year NFL career that included 5 Super Bowl appearances, 3 Super Bowl championships, and 3 trips to the Pro Bowl over the course of 11 seasons. He now spends his time running the Light Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to giving at-risk kids a better chance at leading healthy lives by using the great outdoors to learn and grow. The foundation provides them with opportunities to reach their highest potential and become mentors to their peers. The Light Foundation also provides academic scholarships to deserving young student leaders in Ohio and New England and gives kids opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have to get outside and take on a challenge or to strive for excellence in their academic pursuits.