What is a Galley Tank on an RV: Understanding RV Waste Management

What is a Galley Tank on an RV: Understanding RV Waste Management

Ever been on an RV trip and wondered, “Wait a minute, what on earth is a galley tank?” Well, my curious friend, you’ve just embarked on a fascinating journey into RV waste management. A galley tank, simply put, is your RV’s dedicated space for holding kitchen-related wastewater.

But there’s more to this mysterious tank than meets the eye, and understanding its function can be a real game-changer for your RV adventures. Stick around to unravel the secrets of the galley tank and learn why this often-overlooked component is a crucial part of your RV’s ecosystem. Buckle up; it’s about to get interesting!

Understanding RV tank types is crucial for properly maintaining and using your RV. One specific type of tank that you should be familiar with is the galley tank.

In this post, we’ll discuss what a galley tank on an RV is, its benefits, and how to maintain it properly.

So, what exactly is a galley tank on an RV? Simply put, it’s a specific type of wastewater holding tank that collects water from the kitchen sink.

Any water used for cooking or washing dishes will go directly into the galley tank.

You might be wondering why knowing about this particular tank type is essential. Well, having a separate galley tank can provide several benefits.

First, it can help prevent odors in your RV by keeping food particles and other debris out of the main holding tanks.

Having a separate tank for kitchen wastewater can make monitoring and managing your overall water usage easier.

Of course, like any part of your RV’s plumbing system, it’s essential to maintain your galley tank to ensure optimal performance properly.

This includes regularly emptying and cleaning the tank as needed. Also, consider using specialized cleaning products designed specifically for RV holding tanks.

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Understanding Your RV’s Plumbing System

Overview of the RV Plumbing System

An RV’s plumbing system is a complex network of pipes, tanks, and valves that work together to provide potable water and dispose of wastewater.

The system consists of four main tanks: freshwater, grey, black, and galley. Each tank serves a specific purpose in the overall functioning of the plumbing system.

The freshwater tank holds potable water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. It is essential to ensure that the fresh water tank is filled with clean water from a reliable source before embarking on any trip.

Monitoring the tank’s water level regularly is crucial to ensure you get enough fresh water during your journey.

The grey tank collects wastewater from the bathroom sink and shower. In contrast, the galley tank collects wastewater from the kitchen sink explicitly.

Both tanks ensure easier plumbing by preventing dirty water from backing into your RV. In addition, proper maintenance of these tanks can help avoid potential plumbing issues such as clogs or leaks.

Importance of Different Tanks in an RV: Freshwater, Grey, Black, and Galley

Freshwater Tank:

The freshwater tank is one of the most critical components of an RV’s plumbing system. It provides potable water for all daily activities, such as drinking, cooking, cleaning, and showering.

Before filling your freshwater tank with clean water from a reliable source such as a campsite or municipal supply line, ensure that you have sanitized it thoroughly using bleach or other sanitizing solutions recommended by manufacturers.

Grey Tank:

The grey tank collects wastewater from sinks and showers in your RV. Therefore, it is essential to monitor its level regularly since overfilling can cause backups in your living space or even damage your vehicle’s flooring or walls.

To prevent this issue from happening, consider installing sensors that alert you when levels are getting too high.

Black Tank:

The black tank stores human waste flushed down toilets in your RV until it can be emptied at a designated dumping station. It is crucial to empty the black tank regularly to prevent unpleasant odors from building up inside your RV.

Using specially-formulated chemicals that break down waste and toilet paper while deodorizing the tank is essential.

Galley Tank:

The galley tank collects wastewater from the kitchen sink in your RV. Since this water contains food particles, grease, and other debris, it is vital to ensure that you do not dispose of any non-food items, such as plastics or paper towels, down the drain. Doing so can lead to clogs or damage to your plumbing system.

What is a Galley Tank?

Detailed Description of a Galley Tank

The galley tank is an essential component of the RV plumbing system. It collects wastewater from the kitchen sink and other appliances in the RV.

The galley water tank contains fresh water used in the kitchen. In contrast, the galley wastewater tank collects dirty water from the sink and other appliances.

Galley tanks are typically smaller than other holding tanks in an RV, as they only collect wastewater from a few sources.

These tanks can range in size from 10 to 30 gallons depending on the size of your RV and how much time you spend cooking or using your kitchen sink.

One important thing to note about galley tanks is that they must be emptied regularly. If not emptied frequently, bacteria and odors can build up inside the tank, making it difficult to clean later.

To avoid this problem, it’s best to empty your galley tank every few days or whenever it reaches 2/3 full.

Role of a Galley Tank in the RV Plumbing System

The role of a galley tank in an RV plumbing system is crucial. Without this holding tank, all wastewater from your kitchen sink would go directly into your gray or black water tank, causing them to fill up much faster than it should.

Having a separate galley wastewater tank can extend the time between dumping trips and prevent clogs or backups in your plumbing system.

In addition, having an independent freshwater source for your kitchen allows you to conserve water by only using what you need when cooking or washing dishes.

Some RVs may have a combined gray water tank with galley and shower/sink wastewater, while others may have separate tanks for each source.

Knowing which type of system you have to maintain and care for your tanks properly is essential.

Differences Between Galley Tank, Grey Tank, and Black Tank

Separate Galley Wastewater Tank

RVs come with different tanks to hold wastewater from various sources. One is the galley tank, specifically designed to store water from the kitchen sink and dishwasher.

This separate galley wastewater tank is usually smaller than other tanks in an RV because it only collects water from one source.

Different Tanks for Different Purposes

While the galley tank stores water from the kitchen sink and dishwasher, grey tanks collect all other types of wastewater in an RV.

This includes water from bathroom sinks and showers. The main difference between a galley tank and a grey tank is that a galley tank holds only kitchen wastewater. In contrast, grey tanks have all other types of wastewater.

Gray Water Tanks

A single greywater tank can be installed in an RV to collect non-sewage waste. Alternatively, some RVs may have separate grey and galley tanks for more efficient waste management. These different configurations allow RVers to manage their waste on the road better.

Grey Water vs. Gray Water

It’s important to note that “gray” and “grey” are correct spellings for this type of water, depending on your location.

For example, American English is spelled “gray,” while British English uses “grey.”

Black Water Tanks

Black tanks are explicitly designed to hold sewage waste from toilets in an RV. They must be emptied regularly by connecting a hose to the black water outlet at designated dumping stations or campsites.

Separate Outside Tank

Some RVs may also have a separate outside tank for black water storage, which helps prevent unpleasant odors inside the vehicle.

In addition, this additional black tank allows users to empty their primary black tank less frequently.

How to Properly Maintain Your RV Galley Tank

Tips for Regular Maintenance

Properly maintaining your RV’s galley tank ensures its longevity and prevents costly repairs. One of the most important things you can do is to clean the tank regularly.

Over time, grease and food particles can build up inside the tank, leading to clogs and unpleasant odors.

To prevent this from happening, use biodegradable and RV-safe cleaning products to avoid damaging the tank and harming the environment.

It’s also important to remember what you put down the sink drain. Pouring oil, grease, and large food scraps down the drain can cause clogs and damage to the tank.

Instead, scrape excess food into a garbage bag or compost bin before washing dishes. You can also install a strainer or filter on the sink drain to catch any remaining food particles before they enter the tank.

Regularly checking for leaks or cracks in the galley tank is another crucial step in maintaining it properly. If you notice any damage, have it repaired immediately to prevent further issues from occurring?

Finally, empty your galley tank regularly – especially before storing your RV for an extended period. This will help prevent any buildup of waste inside the tank that could lead to unpleasant odors or damage.

Common Issues with Galley Tanks and How to Prevent Them

Despite your best efforts at regular maintenance, some common issues can arise with galley tanks. Here are a few examples:

Essential Tips for Galley Tank Use

Best Practices for Using and Maintaining a Galley Tank

Regularly cleaning and sanitizing your galley tank is essential to prevent bacteria buildup and unpleasant odors.

Neglecting this task can lead to serious health hazards and damage to your RV’s plumbing system. To keep your galley tank in top condition, following some best practices is essential.

Firstly, avoid putting grease, oil, or other non-biodegradable substances down the galley sink. These items can clog the tank and cause significant damage to your RV’s plumbing system.

Instead, dispose of these items in a separate container for solid waste disposal.

Secondly, consider using a separate galley wastewater container for food scraps and other solid waste. This will help prevent clogs in your galley tank and make it easier to maintain overall cleanliness.

Thirdly, be mindful of how much freshwater you use when cooking and cleaning dishes in the galley. Overfilling the tank can lead to problems with drainage and create unwanted odors.

Mistakes to Avoid

While there are several best practices for using and maintaining a galley tank on an RV, some common mistakes should be avoided.

One mistake is failing to empty the galley tank at designated dump stations. Dumping wastewater in unauthorized areas can result in fines and environmental damage.

Therefore, always know where authorized dump stations are located before embarking on any trip.

Another mistake is not joining online forums or social media groups, such as SC posts focusing on RV maintenance tips.

These platforms offer valuable insights from experienced RVers who have already encountered many issues you may face with your vehicle.


In conclusion, understanding and maintaining your RV’s galley tank is essential for responsible RV use.

The galley tank plays a crucial role in the overall plumbing system of your camper, 5th wheel, or trailer.

It helps to store used water from the sink and rear kitchen area, preventing it from mixing with other waste in the black and grey tanks.

Regular maintenance of your galley tank can prevent common issues such as clogs and leaks. In addition, by following simple tips such as using biodegradable soap and avoiding dumping grease down the drain, you can keep your galley tank functioning correctly for years to come.

It’s important to note that space restraints in some RVs may limit the size of the galley tank. Therefore, it’s crucial to monitor its contents regularly and dump it at an appropriate dump station when necessary.

As a responsible RV owner, always practice proper waste disposal techniques when dumping tanks.

Semper fi – leave no trace! You can enjoy many memorable trips without worrying about plumbing issues with appropriate maintenance and responsible use of your galley tank.


What is RV galley tank?

An RV galley tank specifically collects wastewater from the kitchen sink and, in some models, the dishwasher. It’s a dedicated reservoir designed to keep your culinary adventures sanitary and enjoyable!

What are the different tanks in an RV?

An RV usually has three types of tanks: the freshwater tank, the grey water tank, and the black water tank. The freshwater tank stores clean water for use, while the grey and black tanks hold wastewater from sinks, showers, and toilets, respectively.

What is the difference between galley tank and GREY tank?

While both hold wastewater, the key difference lies in their sources. The galley tank collects water from kitchen facilities only, whereas the grey tank collects waste water from showers and bathroom sinks.

What is a RV portable waste tank?

An RV portable waste tank is a mobile, separate unit that you can use to empty the fixed wastewater tanks in your RV. It offers a convenient way to dispose of waste, especially at sites where direct sewer hookups are unavailable.


Our team at HighwayDI is a group of passionate RV owners, mechanics, and industry experts who have come together to create the ultimate resource for RV troubleshooting and maintenance. We believe that the best way to learn is through hands-on experience, and we're committed to sharing our expertise with you.