Trouble in the Tank......Black that is!

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by campaddict, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. campaddict

    campaddict New Member

    Dumped the tanks last night prior to leaving the campground after this weekends trip.
    Note: The tank was pretty full in that I could see the stuff just at the bottom of the tube.
    After dumping I went back inside to throw a deoderizer in the toilet and put in some water, as usual. Decided to check the reading on the gauges on the way back to the bathroom. Said 2/3 full......figured the gauges were dirty and continued on my way. Tossed in the deoderizer packet and opened the hatch.....I wasn't expecting to see anything..... :eek: but to my shock there was a brown sea a brewing!!
    Hubby did the dumping and said it seemed like a lot of "stuff" came out, but obviously there is a lot of "stuff" in there that is not coming out!

    What do we do now :question:
     
  2. quantoson

    quantoson New Member

    Re: Trouble in the Tank......Black that is!

    I put clorox , laundry detergent and about 15 gallons of water in mine after dumping and getting ready to drive. This does the trick. I use a whole gallon, 1/2 gallon in the black water tank and the other half in the gray water tank. Let it slash around for a 100 miles or so and longer if you want.

    We just drove from Reno, Nevada to Kalispell, Montana the first week of September. After sitting for a few months in Reno, we knew it needed to be done. Works great! And keeps the foul odor at bay.
    Quantoson
     
  3. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Re: Trouble in the Tank......Black that is!

    Campaddict, I can pretty much tell you that you did not use enough water when you flushed the solids and they have now formed a pyramid. You need to clear that out of the way. I have been known to take a water hose (running) and plunge it down the toilet. Then put PLENTY of water in the tank and drive around. This should clear it up. Clorox, as suggested, will clean the tank but you have to clear it first.
     
  4. quantoson

    quantoson New Member

    Re: Trouble in the Tank......Black that is!

    When using a water hose in any situation other than sanitary, please make sure it has a back flow prevention device. It is very dangerous to use the hose in any contaminated situation unless it has back flow prevention. Bad JUJU! Been a plumber for 32 years and have seen people contaminate their own water in homes and parks.

    Just food for thought......hehehe
     
  5. campaddict

    campaddict New Member

    RE: Trouble in the Tank......Black that is!

    How can I tell if there is a backflow preventer on the hose? Does a standard garden hose have one or do I need to buy a different hose?

    Now to make things a little more interesting - we are close to our max weight and for safety sake wouldn't be able to drive too far with the tank full of water & the Pyramid.
    What is the minimal amount of distance we could get away with? Could we say fill up the tank and then drive around the dirt roads in the campground for a bit, then dump?
     
  6. quantoson

    quantoson New Member

    Re: Trouble in the Tank......Black that is!

    it would be at the faucet, called a vacuum breaker. It can be bought at the hardware store for about 15 bucks. It screws on just like a hose would and is short, about 2 inches long. It is and should be required even when filling a pool, bucket of water etc. The vacuum breaker prevents back siphon into the domestic water system. And also stops bacteria from working its way back up the faucet and contaminating the drinking water.

    These are the 2 I recommend.

    Good Luck

    http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=21507-33599-MVB&lpage=none
    http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=44435-33599-MVB2&lpage=none
     
  7. campaddict

    campaddict New Member

    RE: Trouble in the Tank......Black that is!

    Thx! I know there is nothing additional attached to the outdoor faucet at home so unless it is built in it is not there. At any rate, not worth the risk, so I will swing by Lowes on my way home tonight and pick one up.

    Now for timing and logistics.......Should I put some water in there and let it set until we leave out on Oct 24th?
     
  8. quantoson

    quantoson New Member

    Re: Trouble in the Tank......Black that is!

    I see you live in Michigan, and having said that......freeze up. If you can be sure that you will not freeze up put the water in but if you might freeze,,,, well you'll a popo popsicle in a tank. Then more unneeded burden. Not to mention maybe distorting if not rupturing the tank. BUUUUUMMMMMMMER!

    So its your call on that one. My motor home has vents from the heater to the water storage area, pump compartment and tank compartments. And we have about 4" of hard insulation that the manufacture installed. We spend our winters in the cold country and never have any problems. But check the weather first.

    Best of trips to you
    Quantoson
     
  9. campaddict

    campaddict New Member

    RE: Trouble in the Tank......Black that is!

    It is 80 degrees today but the 10 day forecast for our area has lows going down to 34 degrees by the weekend.....I think better not to chance it. We have camped into November and not had a problem (yet!) but with the current situation no need to go from bad to worse!
     
  10. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Re: Trouble in the Tank......Black that is!

    While you are in town, stop at an RV supply store and see if they do not have a probe that is made to go on the end of the hose for use in flushing out your black tank. That is a good place to start as it will allow you to use pressurized water on the inside of the tank. It is designed to be used by holding your flush valve open and then extend it into the tank to spray and break out solids that are in there.

    I would also not use chlorine bleach in your tank as it kills the helpful bacteria that will assist in breaking up the solids. Detergents are a good idea as is the product tri-sodium phosphate which can be found in any wallpaper department. Chlorine can also be hard on the seals in your sanitary system.

    Let me also suggest that you use a flashlight to look down into the tank and compare the distance to the surface of the "stuff" to the depth of your tank. I am wondering if it might be that there really isn't 2/3 of the tank there, but there is some liquid on the bottom and the indicators are reading wrong.
     
  11. kokoloco

    kokoloco New Member

    Re: Trouble in the Tank......Black that is!

    Before dumping the black water throw some ice in the pot and then drive to the dump station. It will float around in there and break loose any solids that might be causing a blockage. Then when you dump use one of the clear elbows between the drain fitting and the drain hose. Lets you know how clean the draining water is getting..... or not. Also my wife and I use a swizel stick connected to a garden hose that you stick down the toilet and it has jet sprayers that spin on the end again to knock any solids loose and allow it to drain. We always fill the tank up with extra water to get the contents "head" to force itself out. Good luck.

    Sam
     
  12. campaddict

    campaddict New Member

    RE: Trouble in the Tank......Black that is!

    Good call on the clear elbow, we talked about getting one last year but never did get around to it. I've got the backflow protector, flashlight and the stick with the sprayers that go into the toilet. I will pick up the clear elbow prior to our trip.

    I think we will try the following game plan: Prior to departure dump a bag of ice into the tank. Drive 60 miles to campground and select a full hookup site. Check tank level via eyeball & flashlight and then fill with water. Dump.....then fill back up with water using the spray stick and dump again....continuing until the water runs clear and the old eyeball no longer sees a sea of brown when flushing!

    Thanks to everyone for the advice. I will let you all know how it turns out on when we return on 10/27.
     
  13. campaddict

    campaddict New Member

    Re: Trouble in the Tank......Black that is!

    A little late on the reply, but I am back to say THANK YOU for all of the advice....it worked! The pyramid is gone and the tank is finally clean! Thanks everyone! :)
     

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