Building a new RV site for a single camper, have some questions

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Watson524

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Oct 16, 2021
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Northeast PA
Hi there,

I'm not an RV owner, I'm a land owner so I hope it's ok to ask a few questions?

We have a piece of land in Northeast PA that until recently had a mobile home on it (so electric pole, septic and water already there). We burned down the mobile home last year and always thought it'd be a great spot to make an RV pad out of since we're close to a large recreational lake and the campsites there are often full. We don't need to worry about zoning or anything where we live. We'd want to do this as a full season rental and we're ok with a dog or two, whereas the campsites around the lake, all owned by the power company that owns the lake don't allow dogs.

The spot where the mobile home was is already relatively flat so it'd be some final grading and then getting some crushed stone or modified in and rolled down which is easy enough for us to do. My questions are around the hookups.

We have a 4" stub up we cut off and screwed a cap into for the septic and in line with that but a few feet away is where the water line came into the mobile home from the well. It also includes the wires for the well which sites back about 40' into the woods. Then there's the electric pole that's about 12' back from the septic/water line which would get a new meter installed. Had a guy come today that is thinking about buying an RV and renting from us next season so we're starting to move on some things.

1.) The septic part seems straight forward, he unscrews the 4" cap and screws in a fitting to his waste line I assume?
2.) On the electric, I assume after the meter base, we'd install a box that feeds either the 20/30/50a "plug" that he could plug a cord into from his RV and then just flip the appropriate break to turn the "plug" on?
3.) And my big question is on the well..... since we just have the pump in the well and no pressure tank like in my house, I think we'd have to have a spigot he could hook to to fill his holding tank by flipping a breaker to power the well pump right? And then inside he'd have to run some kind of pump to pump from his fresh water tank to his shower/sinks? How big are fresh water tanks normally? I feel like having to fill a tank might be a bit of a pain but without a pressure tank, which we can't do since there's no building, I don't see another option.

Also if anyone has any thoughts on what you'd like to see in a single summer campsite setup like this, feel free to throw them at me.

thanks in advance for any help or advice.
 

JudyJB

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All RVs already have an internal water pump that pumps water from the inside water tanks to the faucets and showers, so you don't have to worry about that. Fresh water tanks vary from maybe 30-100 gallons, depending on how big the rig is.
By full season, do you mean just summer? One problem in making this a cold-weather rental is that RVs, both motorhomes and trailers, are not as insulated as mobile homes are, so not only will the person living there have to keep his furnace running constantly, but even then, it will not keep the place warm in NE PA. Also, it is likely the water pipes underneath the rig and the water tanks are NOT covered or insulated, so they will freeze solid also. It will take a lot more than skirting to fix this issue, so I think you are much better off sticking to renting this for only maybe 4-6 months per year, which is maybe what you were thinking about.

Others would have to answer the rest of the questions, but if I were renting your space, I would want a patio and storage shed to keep things like chairs and a barbecue grill, etc.

And, you need to double-check about not having to worry about zoning and such. Things do change.
 

Watson524

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Oct 16, 2021
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Northeast PA
Full season around here would be April 1 - November 1. RV in and out each "season" tho if he wanted to wrap it and keep it there or whatever after winterizing, I'd be opened to that for a fee (the power would be shut off during the winter).

Good to know that it's ok to not have a pressure tank and he could just fill his tank and be good until the next fill. Easy enough to fill by flipping a breaker to trigger the pump down the well.

Definitely no zoning. That's actually a problem around us and I wish there were but......

Thanks for the suggestion of a shed or some place for them to store some things. I've never seen a campground around here with those and most people bring in big deck box type things but it's something to think about since this isn't a "campground" really. The only thing I could think of was that I offered to build him a fire pit but he said he'd probably just use his metal one he already has and not to worry about it. I live on the neighboring 100 acres with PLENTY of rocks lol!
 

Isaac-1

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1, That should work, many RV parks use a 4 inch "clean out" plug to cap their sewer connections that the sewer hose goes into, many RV'er us an elbow fitting like this one on the end of their hose that will even thread into said clean out socket, they even step down for most of the common fitting sizes https://www.amazon.com/Camco-RhinoFLEX-Bayonet-Fitting-39736/dp/B01N5H2FCE/

2, That sounds right, there are even prebuilt boxes available like with or without meter base GE RV Outlet Box 100 Amp 120/240-Volt Ring Type Metered with 50 Amp, 30 Amp and 20 Amp GCFI Circuit Protected Receptacle - - Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/TL137US-Temporary-Receptacle-Installed-Unmetered/dp/B00A8FQUYW/

3, Possibly, it depends on the RV, some have a gravity fill port, so that water can be added however it can be poured from a jug or from a hose, other RV's have only a single connection point for a pressurized water hose, and use a selector valve to choose between shore water and filling the tank. This is the type my RV has, and it requires the water to be at 30+ psi to effective fill the tanks, I keep my coach in a shed on the family ranch and sometimes fill the tanks from the well pump there, which does have a pressurizer pump, but it is lower pressure around 25 psi on the low side, and about 40 psi on the high side kick off for the pressure pump, when the pressure gets low the flow into the tanks slows to a trickle (takes about 45 minutes to mostly fill an 80 gallon fresh water tank there).
 

Watson524

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Oct 16, 2021
Posts
8
Location
Northeast PA
1, That should work, many RV parks use a 4 inch "clean out" plug to cap their sewer connections that the sewer hose goes into, many RV'er us an elbow fitting like this one on the end of their hose that will even thread into said clean out socket, they even step down for most of the common fitting sizes https://www.amazon.com/Camco-RhinoFLEX-Bayonet-Fitting-39736/dp/B01N5H2FCE/

2, That sounds right, there are even prebuilt boxes available like with or without meter base GE RV Outlet Box 100 Amp 120/240-Volt Ring Type Metered with 50 Amp, 30 Amp and 20 Amp GCFI Circuit Protected Receptacle - - Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/TL137US-Temporary-Receptacle-Installed-Unmetered/dp/B00A8FQUYW/

3, Possibly, it depends on the RV, some have a gravity fill port, so that water can be added however it can be poured from a jug or from a hose, other RV's have only a single connection point for a pressurized water hose, and use a selector valve to choose between shore water and filling the tank. This is the type my RV has, and it requires the water to be at 30+ psi to effective fill the tanks, I keep my coach in a shed on the family ranch and sometimes fill the tanks from the well pump there, which does have a pressurizer pump, but it is lower pressure around 25 psi on the low side, and about 40 psi on the high side kick off for the pressure pump, when the pressure gets low the flow into the tanks slows to a trickle (takes about 45 minutes to mostly fill an 80 gallon fresh water tank there).
Interesting coupling from the septic, I don't generally see anything with septics having a 90 angle like that, it's usually 45 so that "things" flow like they should. Or on an RV, do you hold in a black water tank with additive to break "things" down and then only open the dump valve when you need to even if hooked up to a septic line?

Thanks for the link on the outlet box. I looked at the metered one (I'd have to call the power company to see if they provide the meter base or just the meter) and it's interesting since it doesn't look like there's a master disconnect breaker between the meter and the 50/30/20a breakers and I'd figure one of those would be required. But those look good since there's spots to add breakers that I'd need for the well pump, but I'd be leaving that up to our electrician.

I have no specs on the well itself other than the know it went in in 1973 when my parents first got married and is down 600' lol!! No idea what kind of pressure the pump in the well itself actually generates but my plan was to take our portable generator down there and wire up a plug to go into the 220 outlet on the generator and see if water comes out and how fast since it's been a few years since the well was used after my mom stopped renting out the mobile home. I can't even imagine what kind of head you need to pump water up 600 feet!
 

Isaac-1

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SW Louisiana
Some people add odor reduction chemicals to black tanks, but nothing to break things down as these are holding tanks, not septic tanks. The dump valves are generally kept closed on the black tank except when dumping, so the 90 degree elbow is not a problem as it all rushes out at once, think like flushing a toilet. there are lots of youtube videos on dumping rv tanks if you want to know more. I am not sure about master breaker needs for the metering (there is something in the NEC code about 5 or 6 motions of the hand allowed to disconnect power), though I suspect most people use that style box for submetering in an RV park where the individual sites are billed for weekly / monthly electrical use by the RV park, not the utility company.

See if this clears it up, or makes it about as clear as mud Six operations of the hand...
 

Watson524

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Oct 16, 2021
Posts
8
Location
Northeast PA
Some people add odor reduction chemicals to black tanks, but nothing to break things down as these are holding tanks, not septic tanks. The dump valves are generally kept closed on the black tank except when dumping, so the 90 degree elbow is not a problem as it all rushes out at once, think like flushing a toilet. there are lots of youtube videos on dumping rv tanks if you want to know more. I am not sure about master breaker needs for the metering (there is something in the NEC code about 5 or 6 motions of the hand allowed to disconnect power), though I suspect most people use that style box for submetering in an RV park where the individual sites are billed for weekly / monthly electrical use by the RV park, not the utility company.

See if this clears it up, or makes it about as clear as mud Six operations of the hand...
Ah ok, thanks for the clarification. It's probably more like on my boat then where we have a regular toilet fixture in the head and flush as needed and then get pumped out when it's getting full. I toss a bottle of this blue Aqua Kem down in after the pump out to help keep odors down.
 

Rob&Deryl

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The sewer pipe should only come a few inches out of the finished grade so there is sufficient gadient for the rv sewer hose.

Put up a small shed with a pressure tank for the well. Most rv people want to hook up to a water spigot that has a nominal 40-50lb pressure all the time and don’t normally fill their fresh tank if camping for weeks or months.
 

Watson524

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Oct 16, 2021
Posts
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Location
Northeast PA
The sewer pipe should only come a few inches out of the finished grade so there is sufficient gadient for the rv sewer hose.

Put up a small shed with a pressure tank for the well. Most rv people want to hook up to a water spigot that has a nominal 40-50lb pressure all the time and don’t normally fill their fresh tank if camping for weeks or months.

We're good on the septic pipe and where it is vs grade (it'll actually be almost level with final grade, maybe only an inch or two high.

Interesting idea about a small shed for the tank. Could really just make something that isn't much bigger than the pressure tank itself, with some foam board insulation on the inside and then a door on the front I suppose. Not sure if it'd be ok in the winter (it'd be drained and all but there's still at least some part of the pipe from the well to it that would be at or above grade that you couldn't drain tho it'd likely be pitched downward towards the well so I guess water would tend to run back and down further below grade). This guy would only be using it every other weekend because of his work schedule so I'll have to see what he says. We've been wanting to upgrade ours to a 60 gallon pressure tank in the house vs the 40 gallon we have so might be we just put a new one in our house and use the old down there.
 

_Rusty_

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I'm quite surprised you are not required to have a sewage permit. Only sites with 10 acres or more may be exempt in PA (unless required by local ordinance). The State put pressure on townships to comply by denying funding for other projects unless adopting Act 537.

Our local Rural Electric Co-op provides a great rate for camp structures provided they do not exceed a fixed kW draw.

And finally, why not two (or more) campsites? If you are close to a good recreational draw, you could easily double your income (or more) with a few additional feet of pipe.
 

Watson524

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Oct 16, 2021
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Location
Northeast PA
I'm quite surprised you are not required to have a sewage permit. Only sites with 10 acres or more may be exempt in PA (unless required by local ordinance). The State put pressure on townships to comply by denying funding for other projects unless adopting Act 537.

Our local Rural Electric Co-op provides a great rate for camp structures provided they do not exceed a fixed kW draw.

And finally, why not two (or more) campsites? If you are close to a good recreational draw, you could easily double your income (or more) with a few additional feet of pipe.

We already have a permitted septic system from when the mobile home was put there in 73. Removing that didn't negate that permit. Over 10 acres in PA (this is actually an 11 acre parcel) only gets you out of having a mound, not a tank sized based on number of bedrooms/bathrooms and now even if it's 1 bedroom/bathroom, the minimum tank size is 1,000 gallons. Either way we're all good there since it's existing.

Of the 11 acres, it's largely woods. There's an old pasture about 1000 yards from where the old mobile home was that could be cleared out but we just don't want more than 1. Not trying to create an rv park on the land, just generate a bit of income to cover the taxes on that 11 acre parcel and have some extra play money from it. It's really only about half an acre that's clear of trees with a driveway etc
 

Kirk

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Good to know that it's ok to not have a pressure tank and he could just fill his tank and be good until the next fill. Easy enough to fill by flipping a breaker to trigger the pump down the well.
The catch is that if you do not put in a pressure tank and the pump should be left on (say forgotten or something) that will burn out the pump and require the pump to be pulled and probably replaced. In addition, if the renter spends much time there and either has a small fresh water tank or uses a lot of water, they will want to connect to the water just as in an RV park so that they don't need to keep filling the RV water tank. I think that you need to look into a smaller pressure tank for the well.

I suggest that you put in a pad for the RV for the convenience of your renter and to make sure that he doesn't drive over the septic tank and possible have the vehicle weight damage it.
 

_Rusty_

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We already have a permitted septic system from when the mobile home was put there in 73. Removing that didn't negate that permit.
Oh, but you have modified the system by changing the useage. Your original permit was probably based on a 3 bedroom house @ 150 Sq. Ft per bedrm. Most permits I issued were for 1000 sq. ft. septic fields and 1000 gal tank (back in the 70's).

Hey, if the locals aren't going to complain then go for it! This must be near Wallenpaupak, a beautiful area.
 

JayArr

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Put the well pump switch on a timer, 10 minutes? Maybe figure out how long it takes to fill half his tank. That way the user can turn it on whenever he gets below 1/2 a tank and it will turn itself off. In fact he can leave the hose connected full time and just hit the pump button when he needs it to keep his internal tank filled. This will be a lot cheaper than an extra tank and building and you won't have any winterizing to do. He's getting a good deal with pet privileges and privacy, no need to build him the Taj Mahal.

Don't spend your first years profits on infrastructure.
 

Watson524

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Northeast PA
The catch is that if you do not put in a pressure tank and the pump should be left on (say forgotten or something) that will burn out the pump and require the pump to be pulled and probably replaced. In addition, if the renter spends much time there and either has a small fresh water tank or uses a lot of water, they will want to connect to the water just as in an RV park so that they don't need to keep filling the RV water tank. I think that you need to look into a smaller pressure tank for the well.
Good point about burning out the pump!!!

Oh, but you have modified the system by changing the useage. Your original permit was probably based on a 3 bedroom house @ 150 Sq. Ft per bedrm. Most permits I issued were for 1000 sq. ft. septic fields and 1000 gal tank (back in the 70's).

Hey, if the locals aren't going to complain then go for it! This must be near Wallenpaupak, a beautiful area.

The "locals" are me, and the people we sold our old house to across the road before we moved up to my parents single story after they both had passed away so... lol!! I don't even worry about the supervisors or SEO since if anything, we've got more capacity then would be needed. The tank that was there until about 10 years ago was basically a metal MAYBE 500 gallon. What's there now is a 1,000 gallon "plastic" tank with a drain field way oversized for anything needed here so I'm not too worried. We'd certainly not risk over filling the tank or killing the drain field. It is near the Paupack. We're about 3 miles from the southern end.

Put the well pump switch on a timer, 10 minutes? Maybe figure out how long it takes to fill half his tank. That way the user can turn it on whenever he gets below 1/2 a tank and it will turn itself off. In fact he can leave the hose connected full time and just hit the pump button when he needs it to keep his internal tank filled. This will be a lot cheaper than an extra tank and building and you won't have any winterizing to do. He's getting a good deal with pet privileges and privacy, no need to build him the Taj Mahal.

Don't spend your first years profits on infrastructure.

I assumed the "switch" would be the breaker that gets added to under the meter box but I'll have to see what the electrician says. Interesting idea tho. As for the first year's profits, we're already assuming there won't be any. Between moving the water and septic drop back so it's all near the existing electric pole and putting in some kind of pad, the first year is being written off.

Also - pad of concrete or stone, no way for the septic tank to get run over, it's about 35' away at the edge of the woods and then the drain field back in a tucked away area but I get your point about not driving over even the pipe from the upright to the tank so it made me rethink where that line runs and we'll dig up about 10 feet and put a 45 angle in it to get it over near the electric pole
 

Ex-Calif

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I am currently doing this exact thing - mobile home collapsed 10+ years ago.

Septic - Same as you. Had it pumped out and signed off. Ran a new 4 inch service with a cap.

Water - Installing a new well and tank. If it were me I would install a tank. As a renter I would prefer to be able to hook up well water and run straight off the well rather than tank fills. Also the more complex you make it the more chance someone screws it up.

Power - You might want to get a box like the one I link here. Easiest hook up and gives all the options for any power required by and RV person.


In terms of permits I am sure you know what you are doing. Here in my county in FL I have to apply for an RV permit (done) and then I have to get an inspection. Because it's an RV permit they won't turn power on until septic, water and power are inspected.

There is also the question of whether you are running a commercial operation or if you fall under some other rules as a "landlord"
 

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