Can RV Antifreeze be Dumped on the Ground?
“Winterizing” your RV involves taking steps to protect the RV plumbing system from freezing; if you don’t add antifreeze, any water that remains in the tanks or water lines can freeze. Frozen water will expand and burst the lines and fittings.
Automotive antifreeze should never be used in your RV water system; it’s toxic and it will contaminate your water system. Only non-toxic RV antifreeze should be used. There are a few different types, and you can find it at Walmart, auto stores and RV shops.
Alcohol or ethanol-based is commonly available at hardware and stores like Walmart. It’s cheap, but it can cause a bad taste and smell in your water. Also, the alcohol will dry out the rubber seals in your faucets and toilet, which may cause leaks. It’s also very flammable, so you probably should not dump this type of RV antifreeze on the ground.
The propylene/ethanol blend is non-toxic, but it can still cause a bad taste and smell. This type can still dry out rubber plumbing seals causing leaks. It’s also flammable, so you probably should not dump it on the ground.
Propylene glycol antifreeze is only available in RV shops. It’s non-toxic and non-flammable and it’s the safest for use in RV plumbing. Propylene glycol will actually prolong the life of the rubber seals in your faucets and toilets. While this type of RV antifreeze is the safest, it still should not be dumped on the ground.
Don’t put RV antifreeze into your freshwater tank, simply drain it. Likewise, drain your gray and black tanks. While RV antifreeze is advertised to be non-toxic, it’s only designed to keep your plumbing lines from freezing. It should not be added to drinking water.
Will RV Antifreeze Kill Grass?
The short answer to this is, yes, it probably will. While RV antifreeze is non-toxic in small, residual amounts, such as the trace amount left in the water lines, it’s still a chemical. While propylene glycol RV antifreeze is less toxic to the environment and plants than automotive antifreeze, it still contains dangerous heavy metals that can be harmful to plants, animals, and humans. Scientific experiments showed that propylene glycol vapor is toxic to soybeans and corn. The vapor caused the plants to lose their healthy green color, and eventually, the leaves died. In animals and humans, propylene glycol can cause damage to the central nervous system. Likewise, RV antifreeze that is ethanol based will also kill plants; just as it can dry out the rubber seals in your RV plumbing, it will dry out and kill the grass.
The best way to drain the antifreeze from your RV plumbing is to drain it out down an RV dump station, or into a bucket, then appropriately disposed of. Fill the fresh tank with water, and run the faucets and shower to flush the lines out, and dump the gray tank.
While RV antifreeze is advertised as non-toxic, in large amounts it is still toxic to plants, animals, and people.