What is the difference between grey water and black water?

There are two categories of wastewater: black water and grey water. Grey water generally refers to water from the sinks and shower, and it collects in a large tank on the underside of the motorhome. Black water, on the other hand, refers to the wastewater from the toilet, which is collected in a smaller tank — usually in a cassette or in a permanent waste-holding tank; this tank should be emptied every few days, no matter how full it is. The level indicator in your motorhome will let you know when it’s time to head to the next dumping station.

Where can I dump and how much does it cost?

The number one rule of filling and emptying your water tanks is: Always dump at designated disposal points, never in the great outdoors! The easiest way to go about this is to stay on a full hook-up pitch on a campsite. That way, you’ll have everything necessary to dump, and you can do so quickly and easily right on site. If the pitch does not have its own chemical disposal point, there’s usually a dumping station in a central location on the campsite grounds where you can empty your tank. As a shared resource, you may find you’ll need to wait for a while, especially during peak season. Also, since national parks, for example, do not provide any dumping opportunities, we recommend emptying your wastewater tank and topping off your freshwater tank every chance you get. Petrol stations may also have proper dumping facilities that may be used either for free or for a small fee. If you’re on the road in Germany or other European countries, you can find a list of all motorhome service stations here. (Note, this text is only available in German.) 


How do I empty the grey water tank?

1. Back up your motorhome over the drain

When you’re at the dumping station, you should first look for the appropriate opening in the ground that is designated for draining grey water. Drive the motorhome as far forward as necessary so that the tank is located right above the opening.

2. Open the tap

To drain your tank, you’ll now need to open the tap. Depending on the type of motorhome you have, the tap may be installed on the inside (usually in the back portion of the vehicle) or on the outside. Once you’ve opened the tap, your grey water will flow out of the outlet and into the drain provided.


How do I fill the freshwater tank?

3. Open the cap to the freshwater tank

While the grey water is draining, you can already take care of filling the freshwater tank. This tank is usually integrated into a heated area of the motorhome to prevent it from freezing. Most motorhomes are also equipped with a lockable filler neck, which is frequently located on the outside of the motorhome on the side where the tank is installed. First thing’s first, you’ll need to open up the tank’s cap.

4. Clean the freshwater hose before use

At most motorhome service stations, you’ll find a designated freshwater hose for topping up the tank. Before you use it, though, you should always wipe it down with a clean cloth; this will keep your drinking water from getting contaminated.


5. Let the water flow!

Once you’ve put the freshwater hose in the tank’s opening, you can turn on the tap and let the water fill up the tank. We recommend that you ask a camping buddy to help you turn on the tap; that way, the water pressure won’t push the hose out of the tank’s opening. It’s a good idea to have your own hose on hand, in case the motorhome service station does not have one available. You’ll also need a ½ inch or ¾ inch adapter to connect it to the tap: You can purchase one at any hardware store. If you want to know how full the tank is, check the level indicator in the motorhome. Additionally, all motorhomes have built-in overflow protection, so that excess water simply drains below. Make sure to regularly clean and disinfect your water system. Specially designed additives keep the water clean and fresh for multiple days at a time.

6. Turn off the drainage tap, close the tank cover and leave the dumping station clean

Finally, you’ll turn off the drainage tap inside the motorhome and close the cover to the freshwater tank. Should any grey water have missed the drain, you’ll usually find a rinse hose near the freshwater hose, and you can use this to wash off the area around the drain. 


Now you should be all set to fill up the freshwater tank and empty out the grey water tank in your camper! You can find even more tips for beginners in our magazine.