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wonderinggypsies

Bleach In The Black Tank

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Easiest procedure is to fill the potable water tank with the super chlorinated water. Let it sit and then turn on the pump and open each faucet (hot and cold) until you smell chlorine. Stop. Let it sit for a couple of hours.

Open the potable water tank drain. Let it run out on the ground/pavement. The chlorine will quickly evaporate-- no problem. Fill tank with fresh shore water and run each faucet until no chlorine is smelled. Dump the gray and black tanks. The amount of chlorine in the tanks and the time it is in there is not a problem compared with an unsanitary water supply.

Been doing this for DECADES on sail boats and RV's with no adverse affects to the equipment.

If even this bothers you, use a bucket to catch the super-chlorinated water at each faucet. That will keep all of it out of the gray and black tank.

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I have a 2000 Discovery and while in TX for the winter, we noticed a odor problem when the wind was blowing from the rear of the coach. I filled the trap behind the washer area,"(removed") and noticed a drain breather. I checked that and noted it was barely finger tight. I firmly tightened that by hand and it solved my odor problem. By the way we just completed our eighth winter in this coach in TX.

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First trip went off well. I sanitized Thu night into Fri morning. Most of the odor in the water turned out to be coming from the water in the hot water tank. After fully flushing through the hot water, it cleared up. We decided to capture all the water we were flushing and throw it over the side, for 2 reasons, 1. no worries about chlorine going into the tanks, 2. no easy dumping here at home, so this way we weren't putting any more water into either holding tank. One other thing, at the end of our weekend we dumped for the first time, before leaving the campground. It went off well, without a hitch, no leaking stinky slinky, no mess, no problems. Thanks all for the various tips.

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When draining the grey water tank, this could possibly cause a vacuum that sucks the water from the p-traps, leaving the drains open to allow fumes into the coach. Solution: pour a little water into each drain after emptying the grey water tank to refill the p-traps. (This only happens if the grey water tank isn't vented to the outside.)

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Start by trying to identify where and when you get the smell.

The where would include sinks, shower drain, wash machine drain, under sink check/vacuum breaks, etc.

The when would include when parked, when moving, when vent fan is on, etc.

Super suggestions; we might add tank quantity high or low to the list of "whens." Our graywater system will belch into the coach four or five gallons from being full. At all other times, you can't smell a thing. It's a very handy tool, but was a bit confusing at first.

(BTW, if you can't smell the blackwater tank when flushing with the bathroom fan turned on, you might have a plugged vent.)

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Hey Brett,

There was a strange odor permeating throughout the rally grounds in Kerrville a couple weeks ago, I wonder what it was?

Oh yea, it was CAT ______ ! ha ha ha I couldn't let this one get by without replying.

Rich--- Charter Member CAT RV Engine Owners Club

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Guest BillAdams

How did you get a litter box large enough to have a CAT rally of that size? :P:D

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned the GEO Method (Google it) of holding tank maintenance. That's how we've done it for five years now and no problems.

Jim Barber

'87 CC LTD

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One other problem area that has not been discussed is one that I encountered with my 1995 Monaco Dynasty. We had a terrible odor when driving and none when sitting. I searched all the usual culprits, even removing the toilet and replacing the seal. I could not for the life of me figure out what was causing the odor until I got on the roof, removed the black water tank vent cover and looked into the hole with a flashlight, thinking perhaps that it was blocked. Much to my suprise I found that the vent pipe had broken at a joint about a foot below the roof line. Fortunatly I was able to re-attach the vent pipe and seal it with silicone. This solved my problem.

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I just read all the tips and suggestions for keeping the holding tank odors out of the motor home.

I have had my Allegro Bay for 12 years and very seldom have any problem with odors. The reason isthat early on, I discovered that complete and proper flushing will prevent most odor problems. At first, I listened to "old timers" tips and found that each "old timer" did something different. One of the worst

tips I heard was to keep the grey water tank "closed" and the black water tank "open!" I soon found that using this method, the grey water smelled almost as bad as the black water.

I adopted the theory to open the grey tank when parked and close the black tank. I also found that if you dump the black tank regularly, like every two weeks, no matter how full it is, that the odors will be greatly reduced. A lot of motor homers don't dump their black tank until the indicators read 2/3rds or Full. This lets the contents of the black tank to "stew" and give off more odorous gasses. I had a couple of friends who did this and when you walked into their motor home, there was smell in the air in spite of the chemicals they used.

When I am parked, I dump every other week and when I am on the road, I dump every time I have an opportunity to do so. Sometimes my black tank indicator may read 1/3 full but I dump anyhow. This brings up another interesting item...the black tank volume indicator on most RV's that are 3 or 4 years old, or especially the olderRV's, never read empty...even when the tank is empty. This is due to build up inside the tank in the area of the sensors.

Even though my Allegro is going on 13 years, when I dump, the black tank indicator reads empty. This is due to proper, and complete, flushing. I

still have a couple of boxes of "deodorant chemicals" that I purchased the first year I bought the MH.

The second year I had the MH, I designed and installed a "hands off" flush system, with a timer so I don't overfill the tanks, and I have not used chemicals since. The only time I get an odor inside is when I am scrubbing the toilet bowl drain, with a toilet brush, and hold the flush-valve open for a few

minutes. With the toilet ventilator fan on, the odor never gets into the living area.

So, my answer to black tank odors is: FLUSH, FLUSH and FLUSH again!

wintex 55

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I read the Geo Method, interesting. I noted that he recommends using some bleach for odors, but many others here say the bleach can/will hurt plumbing seals. Any thoughts?

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Every few months, I use about a 1/2 gallon of "Pine-Sol", some water, and after a couple of days, really flush good before using the holding tank deodorant.....seems to work great! But remember to flush it a couple of times with clean water first! The "old" Terford Agua Kem..is great, but I think they don't sell it anymore, like a lot of good stuff.

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Guest BillAdams

If you use enough water there's really no need for anyone's "method". Keep your holding tank valves closed until it's time to dump. Dump the black, dump the gray. Close all of the valves again. Repeat when things begin to get full again.

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Bill Adams wrote: "If you use enough water..."

He certainly is correct but... I do a lot of boondocking. When I'm solo, I can stay out for up to a month on my 150 gal. of fresh water, 60 gal. black and 80 gal. grey. No way that I or my coach could stay smell free w/o the incredible nearby hotspring shower and the GEO Method. I use bleach once a year and my toilet seals are 26 years old. In case you're thinking "Ah, he's just used to the stink," believe me, my wife or friends would be happy to put a clothespin on their nose to make a point.

Jim Barber

'87 CC LTD

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After we dump we put about 1/3 tank full of water and then we put 2 cups of Twenty Mule Team Borax laundry detergent and 2 cups of Pinesol in our black holding tank. Then as we drive to the next location the solution slushes around the tank and cleans the insides. When we store the coach we again put this same mixture in the tank. This has eliminated the odor for us.

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Guest BillAdams

Save your money. Use water and water alone. At various times I have tried every "system". The system that works best is water.

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Save your money. Use water and water alone. At various times I have tried every "system". The system that works best is water.

I agree.

The waste tanks are a sealed system except for the roof vent and if you have odors that are not being drawn into the RV from the roof then you have a problem that needs to be fixed.

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Oh Lordy! Someone please help us figure this out!

We are two older gals with very little RVing experience. We purchased

a 99 5th wheel and have it in a permanent site, with NO sewer.

It is pumped out manually for a small fee by the campground owner.

We have absolutely THE MOST HORRIBLE SMELL coming out of the bathroom.

This is our second year of camping and never had this problem before.

We regularly use the little chemical packets and they have worked find until now.

This is BEYOND the stench of an outhouse at this point, actually outhouse stench

would be preferable.

This is definitely coming from the black tank in the bathroom.

We had it pumped, then filled with a small bit of fresh water and added two

chemical packs, then added more water and two more.

It's worse than ever!

We read something about a black tank vent, we aren't sure where this is,

but are willing to give a shot at looking for it.

There is NO smell outside, anywhere around the camper, not even at the

big valve doo hickey where they pump it.

Nothing coming out of the sink or shower drains, strictly from the toilet

in the bathroom.

We are extremely fanatically neat freaks so this isn't an issue of not cleaning

or taking care of the camper.

We are at a loss and don't really have anyone else to rely on, so this is

something we have to "figger" out for ourselves.

Where do we begin????

Thank you,

K & L.

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K & L,

The vent for the black and gray tanks are on the roof. And, given your symptoms, you do need to make sure the vents are open and properly located (i.e. haven't fallen down into the tank).

There are several brands of venturi-type vent caps that will lower the pressure of air in the tank so tank odor is sucked out the roof vents, not into the interior.

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Guest BillAdams

If you are saying that after the tank is dumped, the toilet dump valve is closed and there is water in the bowl you still have a terrible odor you might want to start looking for a bigger or different problem. One of the things to be aware of is that when using a dump service, if the operator does not do it properly they can create too much suction and collapse the tank. I am hoping that's not it but it might be worth checking. If you can find access from outside I would do a visual inspection of the tanks and the surrounding areas to ensure they are clean and dry.

You will also want to ensure that you have water in all J traps. If you have a W/D, be sure to run a cycle to get water in that trap. Do the same with any other drains. You should not be able to get any odor from a toilet with standing water in the bowl (the bowl does hold water, right?). Assuming it will hold water, you need to start sniffing around for possible alternate sources.

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The first time I took the RV out for a weekend in April, at the end of the weekend, when I dumped, the indicators still showed level for quite some time. I took the RV out again over this past weekend, but while getting it ready Thu night, I followed the GEO Method, put in water softener in both tanks and a bit of laundry detergent in the black tank and filled both to about 2/3 full. The campground we went to had full hookups, We got there Fri evening and Sat morning I dumped both tanks. Both of my indicators immediately went to empty. No odors from either tank. I'm pretty impressed with the GEO method.

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One day and it is not in the too distant future, there will be a product called the ZLD that will eliminate all this fuss and mess about black and or gray tank odors, bleach, etc. If you did not see it, go to www.rv-pro.com and look at the feature article on the ZLD. We are finally going on the road with one installed in a 10 X 8 trailer for the time being to demonstrate to several businesses. A bus leasing company that leases to race car drivers, bands, and entertainers, a tug boat company wanting an alternative to having to find ways to dispose of their waste without coming back to port and the army for their forward bases. We are also going to install one on a motor home and go to the various shows and rallys as soon as we can.

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Your toilet bowl should be able to hold fresh water without leakage. If all of your sink traps are full of water, be sure to leave some water in the bowl as well. If the seals have gone bad, the water will drain out. If the water can drain down then odor can get out. Seal under the toilet could also be bad.

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