Last Updated on 02/18/2024 by Glynn Willard

How To Find RV Dump Stations Near You Easily (Guide)



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At some point, your RV needs to dump its holding tanks. Especially if you’re boondocking!

For those of you who only stay in parks with full hookups, your RV waste is a breeze!

Perhaps that’s a poor choice of words.

But for those of us who boondock most of the time, what’s the best way to find RV dump sites?

It took us a few months to master finding RV dumps, but now it’s really easy!

In fact, whenever we pass a gas station, rather than looking at the price, we look to see if it has a dump station.

Talk about conditioning!
 

 

Find RV Dump Stations Near Me

 
Is there an app to find RV dump stations? Yes, and the first steps to finding RV sanitation dump stations involve opening our favorite apps.

I’ll list our favorite dump station apps below.

This usually solves the problem immediately and we don’t need to look any further.

But I can legitimately say that we often are in locations that don’t show any dump stations in our apps.

When this happens, we have to resort to other measures. But I assure you, there’s still hope under these circumstances.

Let’s first review some of the best ways to find RV dump stations.

If you already subscribe to an app such as RV Life Trip Wizard, it will also be a good resource for finding the nearest dump stations.
 

Best Way To Find Free RV Dump Stations

 

 
We believe the best ways to find dump stations are:

  1. Start with the apps that show boondocking, water and dump station locations.
  2.  

  3. Enter “dump stations near me” on Google maps. If you’re an Apple person, you know the alternative search engine to find the same search results.
  4.  

  5. When out west check the people’s reviews on gas stations along the way. They usually disclose if they have a dump station. When in doubt, call the phone number listed.
  6.  

  7. Talk to other RVers. Most are happy to share their knowledge of dump station locations.
  8.  
    OK, so that’s a good starting place, but read on to learn our tips and tricks when we can’t find dump stations with the apps.

    But first, the best apps for dump stations.
     

    Best RV App To Find Dump Stations

     

    App Scrreenshot.

    My arsenal of apps to find camping, water, dump, diesel and cell signal.


     
    The number of apps to find dump stations are growing. But when you’re full timing, apps to find free dump stations are superior.

    Our favorites include:

    • iOverlander. Yes, this app is the most user-friendly, has the largest database, is free and stocked with reviews by RV owners. It was our favorite.
    •  

    • freeroam.app. Almost as good as iOverlander, but not as well maintained.
    •  

    • Google maps. A simple search for “nearby dump stations” often led to a few options.
    •  

    • Recreation.gov app when we needed to look for a state park to dump our tanks.
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    • Parkadvisor.com when we needed to find private RV parks to dump our tanks.

     
    You’re thinking to yourself, he missed a few. Well, apps like Campendium, The Dyrt, etc. are not as user-friendly, have insufficient databases or are paid only.

    You may disagree, but those never made the cut as our “go-to” apps for finding dump stations.
     

    What If You Can’t Find A Free Dump Station?

     
    This is when it’s time to expand your search outside of your direct route.

    Out west, distances between society can be far, so you must plan ahead. The old “we’ll find a dump station when we get there” is a bad plan.

    Since we always prepared in advance, we didn’t have this problem.

    Our dumping and fresh water fill always happened along our route to save fuel. And more importantly to reduce my anxiety.

    All else fails, you can seek out RV parks or wastewater treatment plants and pay a small fee for dumping.

    It’s usually affordable anyway.

    We found state parks with campgrounds to be the best-paid option when there were no free dump stations.
     

    How Much Does It Cost To Dump RV Waste?

     
    It’s not always free to dump your RV tanks.

    Fortunately, many of the RV apps disclose whether a dumping station is free or comes at a cost.

    Regardless, at some point, you will have to dump your gray tank and black water tank whether it’s free or not.

    The majority of the time, we find free dump stations, but here’s a list of the types of dump stations and the rates we’ve paid.
     

    • National Parks: Free with a National Parks Pass.
    •  

    • Public dump stations: Almost always free.
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    • Rest stops: Free most of the time, but we’ve encountered some as much as $10.
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    • Travel centers: The majority we’ve paid for were $10.
    •  

    • Gas stations: Generally free if you purchase fuel. Otherwise $5-10.
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    • State parks: For most, the cost of entry. We’ve paid anywhere from $5-20 depending on the region of the country.
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    • RV campgrounds: We’ve paid anywhere from $5-20 depending on the size of the campground.
    •  

    • Wastewater treatment plant: We’ve only called to inquire and we’re told $10. I’m sure this rate varies.

     
    Most of the paid locations offer more than just the opportunity to empty your septic system.

    You can also fill your freshwater tank with potable water and throw your trash away that’s accumulated in your RV.
     

    Tricks To Finding Dump Stations

     

     
    This is a list that we have accumulated of unique ways to find a dump station over the years (from experience).

    It’s a bit of a recap, but repetition equates to memorization, so put on your “review hat.”

    • First of all, since you’ll be dumping on moving days, it’s a good idea to find two or three potential options along the way. It will save fuel and time.
    •  

    • National Parks. Almost all national parks out west have super clean dump stations and great potable water. A national park pass equates to free dumps!
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    • Boondockers Welcome. Surprisingly, many hosts have RV cleanouts. We really liked Boondockers Welcome, but feel like the customer service diminished after it was purchased by Harvest Hosts.
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    • RV dealerships. Being kind when we called, often led to a “We sure do and you’re welcome to come in and use it.”
    •  

    • State parks with campgrounds. Not free, but a great value since they also have safe potable water.
    •  

    • Call the city hall in the town where you’re boondocking.
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    • Stop by or call BLM Ranger stations. They’re always super helpful and can fill you in on boondocking locations and regulations.
    •  

    • In the Western US, many rest areas have free dump stations.
    •  

    • Also, many truck stops have dump stations but generally have a small fee attached.
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    • Call the city’s waste water treatment plants. It’s a pain, but can work sometimes.
    •  

    • Ask another RVing boondocker. They’re usually happy to share their knowledge of dump station locations.
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    • Use sanidumps.com. This wasn’t always reliable or was outdated. But it’s worth mentioning.

     
    We’ve found success on several occasions in the past when the apps didn’t show any dump stations. This will change as apps obtain more user data.
     

    RV Dump Station Etiquette

     

     
    Not all public use dump station users respect this etiquette, so be prepared to clean up after someone else in addition to yourself.

    • Kindly offer assistance if you see a newbie struggling with their RV. You might be the one on the receiving end of this kindness.
    •  

    • If there’s a line, be patient and use the time to chat to strangers, review your map course, check email, safety check the rig, etc. In other words, budget for things to do when you arrive at the dump station.
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    • If there are a lot of people behind you, please hustle. This is not the time to do the extra-long tank flush.
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    • Make sure your sewer hose is securely attached at both ends before opening the valve to your black tank and gray tanks.
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    • Cousin Eddy’s line “shi$!ers full” is funny, but way overused at dump stations. Use it sparingly.
    •  

    • Use only the red-handled spigot to clean your hoses or flush your tanks. If it’s labeled as potable water, it’s NOT for cleaning your sewer hose!
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    • If you splash black water on the pavement, rinse it off with the supplied hose.
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    • Never leave trash unless it goes into a dumpster. Leave the dump station better than you found it.
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    • Again, never, never, never use the potable water source to clean out your hoses.
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    • When you finish, quickly police the area so it’s ready for other RV travelers.

     

    Is The Water At Dump Stations Safe To Drink?

     
    Is the water at dump stations safe to drink? If the blue or green painted faucet for potable water is a good distance away from where you dump your tanks, it is probably safe.

    If it’s right next to the sewage area, even if it’s painted blue or green, be very cautious!

    It only took one time for us to learn our lesson. It was early in our adventure and I made the mistake of trusting a blue-handled spigot next to the clean-out.

    We all suffered from diarrhea for a week and we had to sanitize our fresh tank immediately.

    A valuable lesson learned! So please use caution.

    Learn how to find potable water in our article, How Much Water Do You Need While Boondocking?
     

    Wrapping Up How To Find A Dump Station Near Me

     

    Great boondocking close to dump station in Flagstaff, AZ!


     
    If you full-time in an RV, you’ll find yourself returning to the same locations over and over as you make your way RV camping around the country with the seasons.

    As you do, you’ll know where to find the best boondocking, dump stations, water sources, repair shops and groceries.

    Before you know it, you’ll know the easiest way to find recreational vehicle dump stations all over the country!
     
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