What is a Grey Water Tank? A Guide to Waste Water Removal

Learn the answer to “What is grey water in an RV?” and how to properly dispose of it. Read this guide from Cruise America to be prepared for your road trip.
what is grey water in an rv

Anyone who has ever gone RV camping knows the drill: At some point, you have to dump the grey water and black water that has been collecting in your RV's grey and black water tanks. 

However, those who haven't ever gone RV camping may be wondering, "What is grey water in an RV? How do I dump it? And where?" For those in the latter group, here's a quick guide to grey water, and what to do with it when you've generated too much of it.

What is Grey Water in an RV?

So, what is grey water in an RV? And, what is the difference between black and grey water?

Grey water is all of the water you use in the RV that doesn't flow out of the toilet. Black water specifically refers to used water from your toilet. The thing to remember is that, actually, both grey water and black water aren't limited to RVs! Yes, you create grey water every day in your home, whenever you take a shower, run the dishwasher, or do the laundry. But, whenever you use the toilet, you're flushing out black water.

How To Dispose of Grey Water in an RV

At home, you don't have to worry about disposing of black or grey water you generate; your plumbing system does it for you, without you needing to give it a second thought. When you're out and about in an RV, the circumstances are very different, and so are the grey water and black water disposal methods. 

Failing to properly dispose of RV grey water and black water can be hazardous to the environment and to human health. Knowing what grey water is  in an RV is only the beginning. Ensuring grey water from your RV is properly stored and dumped is essential.

Though it may not smell all that great, grey water poses less of a health risk to humans than black water, so it can be less of a hassle to dispose of. You could, technically, even dump grey water on the ground, so long as your campground does not have explicit rules against doing so (and provided you're not camping near a river or a lake). 

They might not want to admit to it, but many boondockers without a dump station likely rid themselves of grey water this way. However, many states and federally-managed campgrounds explicitly prohibit dumping grey water this way, so you're better off just doing the responsible thing.

Do the Responsible Thing With Your Grey Water

What is the responsible thing? Keep that grey water in your grey water tank until you find a place to properly dump it! Most well-developed campgrounds, especially larger ones, have dump stations you can make use of, and you absolutely should. 

If you're renting an RV, you may also have the option of dumping your waste water at the rental location.You may want to do this anyway if you generate any more grey water or black water on your journey from your campground back to the rental place, which is always a possibility.

Don't Forget To Check Your Grey Water Levels!

By the way, it's important that you regularly check the levels of grey water in your RV, so you know when to empty the tank! In older models, this could be as easy as noticing that your shower water isn't draining as it should. 

In newer models, you can check it on a utility panel. Since you know now what is grey water in an RV, you must also remember to check that grey water level regularly, especially if you're going on a long RV road trip.

FYI: Portable Grey Water Tanks Make Life Easier

One more thing: Say you're staying for an extended amount of time (two weeks or more) at one campground, and you check your grey water tank level and realize it needs to be emptied. Wouldn't it be nice if, rather than having to unhook everything, drive to the dump station, and then return to your campsite and hook it all up again, you had another option? 

Enter the portable grey water tank.

A portable grey water tank, or RV tote tank, is a convenient way to empty out your RV's grey water tank at your campsite. Simply hook it up to your RV's grey water tank, transfer the grey water from the RV grey water tank to the portable tank, and then take only the portable grey water tank to the dump station. Your campsite setup stays as-is, and you get some exercise walking the portable grey water tank to dump it.

Put That Grey Water Knowledge To Use in an RV Rental

You now know the answer to the question of what is grey water in an RV, and you're well-versed in your options for disposing of it. What's next? Securing an RV rental from Cruise America, of course!

Cruise America has a huge selection of RVs you'll have no trouble emptying of grey water, whether at a dump station or in a portable grey water tank! Get in touch with Cruise America today to see picking up an RV rental, and put that grey water knowledge to the test ASAP!

Find Your Perfect RV To Rent

Maximum
Capacity
7
Learn More

A traditional motorhome with the self-contained features you expect. This economical family unit is a traditional favorite for those who want the walk-through convenience of a motorhome.

Features And Amenities Include:

Maximum
Capacity
5
Learn More

A traditional motorhome with the self-contained features you expect, units in the USA even include a power generator. This economical family unit is a traditional favorite for those who want the walk-through convenience of a motorhome.

Features And Amenities Include:

Maximum
Capacity
4
Learn More

Our compact plus unit is a fully self-contained RV. The floorplan features a unique rear kitchen design with all the amenities of a larger unit. The compact RV is the ideal unit for two adults of any age and a dinette folding to an extra bed allows for a child. With 6.5 foot/2 meter ceilings and walk through convenience even tall campers can enjoy the compact plus RV.

Features And Amenities Include:

Maximum
Capacity
3
Learn More

Our compact unit is a fully self-contained RV. The floorplan features a unique rear kitchen design with all the amenities of a larger unit. The compact RV is the ideal unit for two adults of any age and a dinette folding to an extra bed allows for a child. With 6.5 foot/2 meter ceilings and walk through convenience even tall campers can enjoy the compact RV.

Features And Amenities Include:

Maximum
Capacity
4
Learn More

This custom built trailer provides the freedom to setup camp and use your own vehicle to get in and out of town.  It has all the amenities of a motorhome, but provides flexibility when you need it.

Features And Amenities Include: