An RV Dump Station with Two Faucets
If an RV dump station has two water faucets, one will be for drinking, the other will be for rinsing. If it only has one faucet, it is meant for rinsing only. However, there is more to this. Read on…
Color Coded Faucet Handles
Water faucets at RV dump stations are supposed to be color-coded…
- Red means that it’s non-potable
- Blue or green means that it’s potable.
RV Dump Station with Only One Faucet
RV dump stations with one faucet are painted red is because they know people will use them for rinsing out their black tanks, and end up touching the handle and threads with unsanitary hands. Owners are not willing to accept liability should someone get sick from drinking the water.
In most cases, water plumbed into these faucets still comes from city/county tap, and has been treated for safety.
Another reason is because a faucet may have been placed too close to the sewage drain. While regulations may vary on this, it’s always possible for tiny droplets of sewage to become airborne and land on nearby objects. And because most facilities cannot afford to build large, long dump stations with plenty of room between the faucet and sewage drain, they simply paint the handles red and make no claims on water safety.
We suggest sanitizing the faucet threads with hand sanitizer or some other alcohol wipe before connecting a hose or filter.
Often times a red-painted faucet is sourcing water from a well, and the owner of the dump station doesn’t want to people depleting their well. Hence, they paint the handles red and even put up signs against drinking.
You Can Always Ask the Manager
However, don’t ask the manager or owner if the water is safe to drink, because that puts them at liability. Instead, ask where the water is sourced (tap, well water, or reclaimed water). They’ll usually answer that, and let you decide if it’s safe.
What If an RV Dump Station Has a Sign Warning Me that the Water is Unsafe?
Then, don’t fill your tank with it.
How Else Can I Determine if the Water is Safe for Drinking?
- Smell it. Reclaimed water should have an odor to it.
- If it has no smell, taste it, and spit it out. If it tastes like clean water to you, it’s probably safe to drink.
- Read online reviews. Campendium and FreeRoam are two great places that list RV dump stations and offer crowd-sourced reviews. FreeRoam will let you filter listings by, “Fresh Water”.
What About Water Purifying Tablets?
Many RVers, not just boondockers, use water purifying tablets. However, RV water tanks don’t really have a way to put tablets into them. Most RVers fill their tanks with what they believe is potable water, and then drop a tablet into a gallon jug, and fill the jug from their kitchen faucet.
For more information about this topic, see our full length article, “Using Water Purifying Tablets for RV Use“.
What About Buying Bottled Water Instead?
Actually, many boondockers do this too. But, they buy gallon jugs of distilled water at grocery stores or Wal-Mart.
They’ll still fill their water tanks with what they believe is potable water, but only use it for washing dishes, showering, flushing toilets, or other kinds of washing. It actually helps them make their water tanks last longer.