RV Park Sewer Systems

Commercial wastewater treatment plant installation

a How-To Guide

So, you’ve got that piece of land and you’re ready to start developing. Here are some things you might need to know about RV park sewer systems.

1. RV park sewer systems have a big job.

RV’s are made to use less water. That’s great! Unless you have to treat their waste. Less water means less dilution. Less dilution means higher strength wastewater.

Wastewater strength is commonly measured in biological oxygen demand (BOD). That’s the amount of oxygen it is take out of the environment for biological processes. Household wastewater contains around 250 mg/L BOD. The raw influent entering an RV sewer system can be as high in BOD as 1000 mg/L.

Since septic tanks only reduce BOD by 30% RV parks discharge up to 700 mg/L BOD into their drain fields. That’s a lot of pollution entering the environment and potentially into the aquifer.

Aqua Tech wastewater treatment systems remove pollutants from RV wastewater before its discharged to the environment. We can take that 1000 mg/L RV raw influent down under 10 mg/L. That’s better than most municipal systems.

a process flow diagram depicting the treatment of high strength wastewater to a high level

2. RV park wastewater systems probably need a discharge permit.

In most states wastewater flows beyond that which is produced by a large single-family home must be permitted through an environmental protection agency. You will likely need a state-licensed engineer to write the permit. If you don’t have an engineer, we can probably refer one to you. Just give us a call.

As part of the permitting process, the engineer will determine influent parameters based on samples taken from the actual flow for a current RV park or based on modeling assumptions provided by the state. The engineer will also determine effluent limits based on regulatory guidance for the location and discharge type.

Once they have collected the data, they’ll send us the design criteria and we’ll design a system to meet them.

tandem wastewater treatment tanks front view with air snorkels and influent pipe
The tandem treatment tanks

This is our Design Criteria Form:

3. Most RV Park Sewer Systems are too Expensive.

They’re too expensive for a couple of reasons. First, the sewerage to get the wastewater from the RV sites to the wastewater treatment plant costs too much. Gravity sewers often require high-diameter pipe, manhole covers, wet wells, and lift stations. All that can up to hundreds of thousands of dollars spent before you welcome your first guest. Aqua Tech sells STEP Collection systems as a modular, low-cost alternative to gravity collection systems. Since RV design flow can be considerably lower than residential flows, developers can often get up to 4 sites on one STEP system.

The second reason wastewater systems are too expensive is the approach most vendors take to designing and deploying RV sewer systems. Many wastewater treatment system providers produce one-size-fits-all systems that don’t actually fit your needs. The high overhead and material cost of these systems can kill the ROI on your development.

A newly installed wastewater treatment system for an airstream resort in Utah

4. You have options for disposal.

We frequently recommend subsurface drip disposal (SDD) systems to dispose of treated RV park wastewater. SDD systems discharge nutrified water to a grass crop under low pressure. This means you can use the greenspace around your RV park for your disposal field.

wastewater treatment system delivered to an RV park
The treatment system has arrived!

Our systems can treat RV park wastewater to surface water discharge standards. By removing most residual nutrients and contaminants our systems can safely dispose sewer water to a stream, river, or lake.

There are lots of other disposal options that your engineer might recommend. We can work with them to make sure the effluent will meets compliance requirements for whatever works best.

For some of our RV Park projects, check out our portfolio.