Managing waste is one of the less glamorous aspects of caravanning and camping, however it’s one of the most important.
If you have an onboard or portable toilet, you will need to empty your cassette about once every three days or once a week for those with a black waste holding tank.
Thankfully, there are thousands of dump points around Australia where you can easily empty your business and rinse out your receptacle so that you can get back to more fun adventures.
If you’ve never used a dump point before, there’s no need to feel intimidated. Here we cover how to use a dump point, where to find them and general dump point etiquette.
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Where to Find Dump Points
Dump points can be found spotted all over Australia, from Cape York, right down to Kangaroo Island, across to Broome and everywhere in between.
There are over 900 public dump points, most of which are a free service provided by local councils in order to encourage travellers to stop at their town. However, a handful do require a donation or small fee ($5 – $10), which goes towards maintenance and emptying.
Most caravan parks will also provide a dump point for their guests as part of their facilities.
Regular Dump Point Locations:
- Visitor Information Centres
- Caravan Parks
- Rest Areas
- Council Parks
There are two ways to quickly find your nearest dump point while you’re travelling. The first is by using our free Dump Points Near Me map, the second is by using a camping app, such as WikiCamps, CamperMate or Camps Australia Wide.
Camping apps are great not only for sourcing out dump points, but also for finding potable water, camps, toilets and other valuable resources on the road.
Download offline maps with your preferred camping app, so that you can still find resources without reception.
How to Use a Dump Point
While most dump points are easily spotted by the infamous blue lid, there are also plenty of dump points around that don’t have the telltale blue cover. In fact, some are nothing more than a pipe hole in the ground.
Whatever they look like, the process for how to use a dump point is pretty well always the same.
Get Your Cassette or Black Tank Ready
I always like to give the toilet itself a quick clean first, before emptying the cassette. That way, the water that you use for cleaning the bowl won’t take up space in your freshly emptied cassette, which you’ll want completely empty for the next camp.
Once you’ve cleaned the toilet, pull the cassette out of its storage cabinet and agitate the contents (this helps break it down for emptying), then head over to the dump point.
If you’ve got a black waste tank (instead of a cassette), then your preparations will include hooking up the sewerage pipe.
Take a bottle of washing-up detergent (dedicated for dump point use) for rinsing the cassette.
Join the Queue
Often there will be a line-up to use the dump point, which means joining the queue and waiting patiently for your turn.
If you have a black waste tank, you may need to drive your caravan or camper into the queue or at least park as close to the dump point as you can.
Most people who are using dump points in Australia will be emptying cassettes, so those with black tanks may need to just stand in line until it’s your turn. It helps to let the person behind and in front of you know that you’ll need to move your RV up to the dump point so that they can give you the space required.
Open the Dump Point
Once you get to the dump point, you’ll need to open the lid.
For the blue-lidded dump points, it’s just a matter of opening the blue lid and resting it backwards. For the drain-style dump points, you will probably need to unscrew the pipe cap.
Empty Your Cassette or Black Tank
Once it’s your turn at the dump point, you can empty your cassette or black tank.
How to Empty a Cassette:
- Twist the spout open
- Remove the spout cap & place it well away from the dump point (so it doesn’t accidentally get knocked in!)
- Empty the contents into the dump point
- Pushing the little round button while emptying will release the pressure & speed up the process
- Once empty, put some water (using the tap provided) into the cassette & give it a shake
- Repeat a few times until the water runs clear – it helps to add a squirt of detergent
Clean the Dump Point
After you’ve finished using the dump point, always make sure you give the area a rinse and wash any remaining waste down into the drain hole.
Close the dump point lid and leave the area as clean as you can for the next person.
Once you’re finished, hop out of the way so that the crappy procession may continue!
Add Your Toilet Chemical
Before putting your cassette back into its hatch, add your preferred toilet chemical.
Some people like to use purpose-made RV toilet chemicals, such as Aqua Kem Blue (liquid) or the various pod-style packs.
I’ve always used the store brand Napisan using a ratio of 1 tablespoon mixed into 1 cup of water. Napisan is a much cheaper and more accessible option on the road, which contains the same active ingredient (hydrogen peroxide) as the other products.
All of the above options will work well in your caravan or camping toilet, it all comes down to personal preference.
Wash Your Hands
Once you’ve finished at the dump point and put the cassette or black tank hoses away, be sure to always wash your hands well with soap.
It’s also a good idea to have some hand sanitiser handy, especially if you’ve only got limited water available for hand washing.
Caravan Maintenance & Service Log
Log and track all of your caravan maintenance and servicing requirements.
- 7-page Planner (digital & printable)
- Caravan Service History Log
- TICK OFF checklists
- COMPLETE maintenance tasks
- ADD in extra tasks
- RECORD maintenance & service dates
Dump Point Etiquette
Only Use Dump Points for Black Water & Grey Water
RV and Caravan dump points are specifically for the disposal of sewerage waste (black water) and grey water only. Never use them for disposing of anything else, including rubbish, wet wipes or sanitary items.
Patience is a Virtue
Arriving at a dump point and finding a line-up is pretty common. Simply join the queue and patiently wait your turn. Everyone is there for the same reason and needs a little time to dispose of their waste.
In order to ensure that you don’t end up holding up the queue, make sure you’ve got everything prepared before you arrive at the dump point.
This can include grabbing your detergent bottle and pre-agitating the cassette. If you want to add the toilet chemical at the dump point, make sure you’ve got it all ready to go.
For those with a black water tank, getting prepared will involve moving your rig as close to the dump point as possible and hooking up the sewerage hose before joining the queue.
Clean Up After Yourself
If you accidentally spill any waste while using the dump point, be sure to clean it up straight away using the hose. Always try to leave the area cleaner than you found it.
Give Others Space
Always keep a reasonable distance from fellow dump point users while you’re waiting for your turn. Be respectful and give others the privacy and space they need to empty their waste.
Be as efficient as you can at the dump point. Empty and rinse your cassette or tanks in a reasonable amount of time so that you don’t hold up the people behind you.
Don’t Use Drinking Water Hoses
Never use your drinking water hoses or connections at the dump point as it can lead to contamination of your potable water. Always use the dedicated dump point hose for rinsing your cassette or sewage hoses.
Don’t Use the Dump Point Hose/ Tap to Fill Up Water Tanks
No matter how tempting it is, never use the dump point tap or hose to fill up your drinking water supply. Even if you think it looks okay, the risk of contaminating your potable water is too high. You never know what previous dump point users have used the hose or tap for.
Advise Local Council of Any Issues
If you arrive at a dump point to find a problem (e.g. it’s overflowing) contact the local council so that they can rectify the issue as soon as possible for other travellers.
Respect the Rules
Always respect any signage requests at each dump point. For example, some dump points will ask for a donation or they may state that it’s for the use of cassettes only. As nomads who rely greatly on the resources and services of many towns along the way, the least we can do is respect what is asked of us.