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Dumping Grey Water

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Any suggestions for removing grey water when camping sites do not have sewer hook-ups. We were wondering if there is an external tank to drain off water as this accumulates rather quickly and moving the RV for dumping daily is not the best option.

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With water conservation you should be able to go for several days before needing to dump the grey water.

Correct. I can go 6-8 days on grey and 7-8 on black. I have 75 grey and 45 black.

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One thing we do to extend our time is to collect water from our sinks from washing dishes, teeth, hair etc by placing a container that will fit the sink bowl. There are always trees and bushes nearby that just love the additional water. This does not sound like much but it adds over time and every little bit counts. You also do not need to shower every day and when you do you only need enough water to wet yourself down to soap up and just a little more to rinse off. We go a week easily on the black tank and can usually stretch to six days on the gray.

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One of the things we like about having a motorhome is having all the conveniences of home. This means taking daily showers, washing clothes and dishes daily. Our motorhome was made with the bathroom sink draining into the black water tank. This means I have to empty the black tank at least every 2 days. I would not have bought this motorhome had I known that. If we are blessed enough to get another motorhome one day that will be the first thing I check.

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One of the things we like about having a motorhome is having all the conveniences of home. This means taking daily showers, washing clothes and dishes daily. Our motorhome was made with the bathroom sink draining into the black water tank. This means I have to empty the black tank at least every 2 days. I would not have bought this motorhome had I known that. If we are blessed enough to get another motorhome one day that will be the first thing I check.

I haven't seen it done that way since the 60s-70s. I had a 60s Lifetime that didn't have any place for the gray water to go so I added a grey tank.

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One thing we do to extend our time is to collect water from our sinks from washing dishes, teeth, hair etc by placing a container that will fit the sink bowl. There are always trees and bushes nearby that just love the additional water. This does not sound like much but it adds over time and every little bit counts. You also do not need to shower every day and when you do you only need enough water to wet yourself down to soap up and just a little more to rinse off. We go a week easily on the black tank and can usually stretch to six days on the gray.

When we need to we just dump the gray into a bucket and water the trees.

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DD69,

There is an adaptor for your drain that will allow you to connect a hose. With that attached you could run to hose, with a shut off if you want, to water several trees, plants and so on.

(when hooked to the hose be sure which valve you open,enough said about that) :o

Herman

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There are a number of public parks, County, State and Federal, that specifically prohibit dumping grey water on the ground. I'm sure that you guys don't filter the food particles out of the water before dumping. It can attract all manner of bugs and critters, not to mention causing a foul smell.

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Besides, dumping your water this way used to be a violation of the FMCA Code of Conduct, and possible grounds for termination of membership.

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When we were in a campground in Key West they encouraged us to dump the grey water on the ground. That was some time ago.

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DD69,

There is an adaptor for your drain that will allow you to connect a hose. With that attached you could run to hose, with a shut off if you want, to water several trees, plants and so on.

(when hooked to the hose be sure which valve you open,enough said about that) :o

Herman

I don't have room to carry an extra hose and I don't want to use my fresh water hose for that purpose.

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I have a different problem I was hoping someone could help us with.

For out past two camping trips both our black but especially gray water tanks will only fully dump when our Coachman RV is on a hill ( or with the front leveling jacks lowered). If the RV is level only a few gallons of water comes out of the gray tank when we know there is ~ 30 gallons in there. This only started occurring during our past two camping trips, until then we completely emptied the tanks when they were level.

Any suggestions?

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This sounds like a real plumbing mystery. My first thought is that the vent for the gray water tank is blocked and not allowing air to enter thus creating a vacuum in the tank. Such a vacuum in the gray water tank would suck air through the sink and shower drains causing a gurgling sound. The gray tank might drain slower but the tank would eventually empty completely and you would notice the gurgling in the drains. If there were some physical object blocking the gray tank drain, that might explain why tilting would cause the object to settle to one side away from the drain. I've read of people finding that tank cut-outs from the installation were left in the tank. These could block the drain.

There is usually only one roof vent for the black and gray water tanks on most RV's and if it were the vent it would affect both tanks I would think. Flushing the toilet while dumping black water would provide another vent. If that works to free the flow, that would indicate a blocked vent is at least part of your problem.

It is hard for me to imagine that there is a physical object blocking both tanks unless some debris was left in the tanks on manufacturing. You have indicated that it dumped normally before this occurred so that doesn't seem to be the case.

It could be that there is some crusted hard deposits in the tanks that have broken loose and could be blocking or partially blocking the drains. You might try adding some cleaning agents to the tanks to help dissolve accumulated debris in the tanks. There are a number of additives which can help clean waste tanks, stop by your nearest RV supply. One trick that works with black water tanks is to put several bags of ice cubes down the toilet immediately before driving. As the ice cubes shake around in the tank they will help break up accumulated debris in the tank. When you arrive at your destination, partially fill the black water tank with clean water and then dump to flush out the debris which has been broken loose.

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David,

By chance do you travel with young children? Did something get put down the toilet?

When you raise the front and it drains well, that sounds like that puts the drain point higher then the back of the tank, is my thought correct ?

Thing is if that is the case what would be in the gray tank.

With the jacks down will the black tank drain better?

Could you post the Make, Model and Year of your coach for the group and how long you have owned it.

Rich.

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One of the things we like about having a motorhome is having all the conveniences of home. This means taking daily showers, washing clothes and dishes daily.

We're closer to you guys: grey goes every two days, and black every four.

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Most parks I have been in prohibit dumping grey water anywhere but the dump station. Besides that it is unsanitary and repulsive.

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David,

By chance do you travel with young children? Did something get put down the toilet?

When you raise the front and it drains well, that sounds like that puts the drain point higher then the back of the tank, is my thought correct ?

Thing is if that is the case what would be in the gray tank.

With the jacks down will the black tank drain better?

Could you post the Make, Model and Year of your coach for the group and how long you have owned it.

Rich.

Rich,

We have owned our 31 foot 2001 Coachman Mirada for 4 years. This problem just started happening two trips ago in Maine. The black tank almost drains completely when the coach is flat but when we get home and park it in our driveway the back end is probably 1 1/2 foot lower than the front end. This past trip there was probably 2 gallons of black water in the tank which was quite unpleasant to collect in a large plastic container and dispose of inside our house. The gray tank probably had close to 25 gallons of water which I collected and also disposed of it the house.

We do not have any children traveling with us just the best black Lab in the world. Following up on the suggestion of the other member who commented I climbed up on top of the RV last night. We do have two vents one for gray and one for black. I took a look at both of the vents, unfortunately the caps over them have been in the sun so long they both cracked when I touched them.

However, the gray tank had a very large wasp nest inside of it. Almost large enough to cover the entire vent pipe. The black tank had two smaller wasp nests. I removed all of the nest and did the best I could to put the caps back in place with silicone caulk. I will have the caps replaced in a few weeks. This weekend I plan on putting 10 gallons of water in each of the tanks, take the RV out, park it on a nice flat area and see how much water I can collect from each of the tanks on a flat surface.

I really appreciate the comments.

Regards,

Dave

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Dave, sounds like a plan ! Thanks you the update.

The one other trick to use on the black tank is to put some clean water in the tank, like you mentioned and add a bag or two of ice using the pot. when the Toilet sets directly over the black tank it's easy to get it in the tank.

Then drive the coach around for awhile, the ice cubes act like little glaciers and scrub the bottom of the tank. Nice thing is they melt, they take the material loosened; out of the tank with the water.

I use one of the clear couplings at the dump valve so I can see what is being discharged, Ya! its a little gross; but you can see when you get clear water.

Also, can use one of the wands that go into the tank, I like the ones with the spinning heads to do the job when It's time to see how well my factory tank wash system is doing.

I'm scratching my head a little regarding the gray tank. The fact that you had the nest in the vent might make the tank drain slower, but its not emptying ? Strange as it sounds, wounder if there is something like a big hair ball in there.

Tom mentioned the possibility of some material getting into the tank when it was install. Thinking if that was the case the emptying completely issue would come an go, but one would think the hairball thing would act the same!

Rich.

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Rich,

Thanks again for the advice. Removing the wasp nest did not help solve the problem. I like the idea of ice in the black tank. I will give that a go. I was able to improve the flow from the gray tank by taking a hose and spraying a jet of water ( with a collection vessel underneath it) though the gray tank valve. I put 20 or so gallons in the tank and tried to dump it on a flat surface again collecting in a large container. I then raised the front jacks and only about 1 gallon of water was left which is a great improvement. Is there any way to get ice cubes into the gray tank? I assume the j-tubes under all of the sinks would prevent me from gettting the little glaciers into the gray tank. I assume the shower has a j-tube as well. As a side note. I am a research chemist, we use ice as an abrasive on a regular basis to clean out extruders which are used to make catalyst. Running ice through the auger / barrel cleans out almost all residual material in the extruder.

Regards,

Dave

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Isn't it strange that the majority of places prohibit the dumping of gray tanks, yet tenters can wash in tubs and dump in shrubs. Hmmm! Something wrong with that picture, but I will abide by the laws.

As to the sink being plumbed to the black tank, that should be a relatively easy fix to have it re-plumbed to the gray tank. Our kitchen sink and bathroom sink are plumbed to the Galley tank (we have 3 tanks). The Galley Tank will get filled real fast if we do dishes in the sink, and at most get-to-gethers DW cooks a lot so we need FHU and just open the galley valve. I have gotten an extra day or two out of the galley tank by opening both the galley and grey tank valves and letting the fluid find its own limits. Not recommended for black and other tanks, not at all.

Also, after each dump of any tank I put 2 capfuls of Calgon Softener in the tank. I was amazed when I first started doing this how easy things flushed out.

Happy trails.

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Been using Calgon Softener since I first read about the Geo Method. It quickly solved problems with my indicators being funky, and gives good tank drains every time.

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What is Calgon Softener? Is it something used with the water softener machines? Or is it some kind of laundry fabric softener product? Is it liquid or powder?

Thanks, Jack

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