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Author Topic: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment  (Read 742 times)

metalman55

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RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« on: June 30, 2017, 07:05:48 AM »
Being new to the RV world, we hear that it is best to add treatment to control odor & to promote proper breakdown of waste, especially in the black water tank.  My wife picked up two containers, one for black water treatment & one for grey water & I have a few questions.  First, is this product adequate for what we want......mfg name is Camco?  The black water treatment states to add approx 2oz to the tank, followed by a couple quarts of fresh water.

I am assuming that this is carried out when the tank is empty? It says for extreme heat that the quantity can be doubled to 4oz.

For the grey water, why is it even necessary to add odor control, as the sinks & shower all have traps, putting them on a level playing field with domestic sinks & showers in our homes & it is never a problem there?

We have not used the black water portion yet as the rv is parked on our property, but we just bought one ply toilet paper for when we do travel (heard varying reports on that RV paper vs just regular one ply) & I wanted to ask if the one ply is ok to use, as it is so much more economical?


Larry N.

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2017, 07:26:30 AM »
Most of us find that there is no need for chemical additives at all. For the black tank, just being sure you use plenty of water with each flush containing solids and being sure the tank isn't near empty before draining it (many folks recommend over half full), preferably flushing out the tank after a dump, either with the built in flusher, if your rig has one, or perhaps with a wand. Also, putting a couple of gallons of water in after dumping will help.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL
  de N8GGG

Wizard46

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2017, 07:29:36 AM »
The only time we use anything is if boondocking for more than a day, then just in black tank for odor control.
Jerry & Patsy Potter, Taz & Jake Jr.
2000 Winnebago Journey
2006 Ford Explorer 4X4
Home: Milledgeville Ga.

Ernie n Tara

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2017, 07:31:07 AM »
 :)) :)) What he said! We have never used anything but water and have had no problems.

Ernie
Ernie 'n Tara

2011 Winn Journey 34y
2012 Jeep Rubicon - Dozer (orange - kinda)
2006 Jeep Wrangler

Rene T

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2017, 07:43:40 AM »
IMHO, you wasted your money on the chemicals and the paper. I live in my RV for 6 months in the winter in FL where it can get pretty hot at times and I've never used any chemicals. Just make sure the tank is close to 3/4 full before you dump. Also start out with 4 to 5 gallons of water after emptying.  As far as toilet paper, there have been tests done on the forum on various brands and it seems like they all break down. Some sooner than others. Just buy whatever is comfortable for you. RV paper is a waste of money. We use Charmin Ultra strong.
You are correct about the traps. They will keep any odors in the tank. If you're going to park your RV for a few months, just add a little bit of vegetable oil to your traps. This will STOP the water in the trap from evaporating.
If I was you, I would bring everything back to the dealer and get your money back.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 07:47:22 AM by Rene T »
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

dan2

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  • 1988 Pace Arrow, P-30 GMC Upgrade, Banks, 03 F-150
Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2017, 09:03:45 AM »
Always, always, always, use chemicals....it's the cost of doin business.  ::)

Good luck,
Dan

scottydl

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2017, 09:11:11 AM »
I'm echoing what most others have said... but if you still have your receipt, take the chemicals back to the store.  The only "chemical" you need for RV tanks is good ol' H2O.  Use plenty of it, and the solids will liquefy just fine and you shouldn't have any problems.  If you really want to add something, a basic enzyme like Rid-X (added to a few gallons of water in the tank) could help add good bacteria to the tank to start breaking down the contents quicker.  But, that's probably not necessary since black tanks are typically emptied at the end of each camping trip... the "stuff" doesn't stay there indefinitely like a home septic tank.

Any toilet paper that is septic-safe (which is almost all of it) is designed to break down quickly in water and is RV-safe.  We used Scott's single ply for several years, but now we just grab whatever is in the house.  Used to be the Wal-mart "Ultra" style, now we recently switched to quilted Cottenelle.  No problems.  Water is your friend at the RV toilet... 1 second flush for #1.. 5 second fill/flush for #2.  ;)
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

blw2

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2017, 10:14:31 AM »
I can agree that only water is needed
but
I do keep a bottle of the blue stuff on hand
Once in a while when something goes wrong....maybe we don't use enough water, or sometimes because of logistics I may dump too early leaving some solids in, or some other problem or mistake...we'll get a whiff of bad smell....
oh, there was also the time when my air admittance device under the lavatory sink failed.....
In times like this I'm happy to have the stuff on hand, pour in a bit, and almost instant fix till things resolve themselves....

Have had a slight smell come from grey tank too, but only once I think.....  It would be form little food bits form the kitchen sink, or whatever....i just poured a bit of the blank tank treatment in there as well....

Generally though, I don't use it.
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers

Howard R

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2017, 10:19:44 AM »
 :))

 When we started we used chemicals with mixed results.  After much reading on forums went with no chemicals, just water.  Did add the following to black and gray roof vents, which I think help.

https://www.rvupgradestore.com/Cyclone-RV-Plumbing-Vent-p/22-0049.htm

 :))  Otherwise pretty much as stated above.   

Odor control ??   ???    :o  Don't flush toilet with ceiling vent fans on, especially those outside bathroom ... if you don't notice, your better half will  ::) ::)  ... those tank vents move air both ways.   ???   Don't ask how I know that!!   ;D ;D

Howard
2001 Fleetwood Southwind 35R
V10   F53
2003 Jeep Liberty Toad
Minnesota

AStravelers

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2017, 10:24:42 AM »
Most fulltime and/or long timer RV'ers DON'T add any chemicals to their black or gray water tanks. 

We full timed for 4 1/2 years and stopped adding chemicals after our 1st 6-9 months.  We still travel 6-9 months of the year, and have not added chemicals for since 2006.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Rene T

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2017, 10:26:29 AM »
  Don't flush toilet with ceiling vent fans on, especially those outside bathroom

My thinking is especially the one in the bathroom.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

Rene T

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2017, 10:29:13 AM »
Always, always, always, use chemicals....it's the cost of doin business.  ::)

Good luck,
Dan

Dan, I'm not running a business but the seller is and he's going to tell you whatever it takes to make a sale.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

Howard R

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2017, 02:57:22 PM »
My thinking is especially the one in the bathroom.

Very true .... but stink up the whole place ????   ???   ::)    :o   ;D

Howard
2001 Fleetwood Southwind 35R
V10   F53
2003 Jeep Liberty Toad
Minnesota

metalman55

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2017, 04:48:42 PM »
Ok, thanks so much for all the replies on the subject! It looks like the overall consensus is no treatment required, just water.

ArdraF

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2017, 05:06:42 PM »
Regarding the gray tank.  A gray tank can smell worse than a black tank.  Something like bits of chicken really smell awful so you want to discard as much as you can.  I keep a small strainer in the kitchen sink to catch as much as possible.  Grocery produce bags are great for garbage - and if you're like us you have a lot on hand so you may as well use them!

After participating in the last toilet paper test at Quartzsite we switched to Walmart's White Cloud two-ply for both the house and motorhome.  It's soft and far superior to either the RV toilet paper or the Scott one-ply we had been using in the motorhome.  It's also marked Septic Safe and even though this isn't a septic system both need toilet paper that dissolves fairly quickly.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

MarshHawk

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2017, 06:03:34 PM »
So...as a newbie, I need to clarify. If I'm at a campground, but the black tank is only a little full....don't dump it? Just drive off with whatever is in there?!  Won't everything slosh around and come up the toilet? If you only dump it when it's 3/4 full, why do you hook up at all. How long does it take to fill up the black tank on average with two people? 2 days, 3 days? A week?  Lol.  I am soooooo new to this! My first trip will be in august ...driving out to the dealer to pick it up and driving 14 road hours to get it home.

Karen
Karen
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HappyWanderer

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2017, 06:22:14 PM »
Hold the toilet valve open to add water to the black tank, until it's at least half full. Do the same at a sink to put water into the gray tank.

Dump the black tank, then close the valve. Next dump the gray tank, which will also flush out the sewer hose.
I don't have gray hair. I have wisdom highlights.

ArdraF

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2017, 06:27:35 PM »
Yes, Karen, you don't need to empty the black tank at every stop and yes it's good to have the "stuff" sloshing around while driving so it doesn't harden.  It doesn't come up into the toilet because there's a (probably) curved cover.  When you flush, this cover opens to allow the stuff to go down into the tank and closes at the end of the flush.  It will make a lot more sense to you when you actually have the RV!  Make sure someone shows you how to do all the things you'll need to do when camping.  By the way, you might be able to make it a week with two people depending on size of black tank and how stingy you are with water when using it.

ArdraF
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 06:30:05 PM by ArdraF »
ArdraF
:D :D

UTTransplant

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  • Salt Lake City area
Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2017, 06:28:52 PM »
Karen, when we were weekenders, we had the issue you bring up of black tanks not even close to 3/4 full. What I did is full up the toilet bowl by depressing the foot pedal only a little. When the bowl was nearly full, I pushed the pedal all the way down to flush. Then I repeated the operation for a long time! Most toilets only flow at 2.5 gallons a minute so it can seem like a long time to add 25 gallons! I don't like just adding water with the flapper open since it starts to stink. Of course if you have an external black tank flush you can just add water that way.

As to how long you can go with only 2 people, it depends on tank size and how much water you have in the tank to start. We can manage 7 days with 2 people and a 40 gallon tank. We never use the campground facilities, but we are generally out a significant part of the day. YMMV. 
Pam and Kevin plus Minou and Lily (the cats) plus Lexi (the grand-dog)
2014 Outdoors RV Timber Ridge 240RKS
2015 Ram 2500 Diesel
http://toobusyforwork.com

MarshHawk

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2017, 06:36:54 PM »
Thank you!  I have soooo much to learn. I will get the walk thru with the dealer and make sure I'm clear on the systems. I'm going to spend 2 nights very close to the dealer, then slowly start inching my way home in case I have to go back.  First 2 nights, 15 minute away...if all goes well, an hour  away for 2 nights...still going well, next 2 nights 3 more hours away.. lol.   Till I'm finally home.  Sound like a plan? 🙂

Karen
Karen
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Camplite 2018 CL16TBS
Ford F-150 3.5L Eco Boost (GTDI)
Max tow pkg. 4wd off road pkg.

MarshHawk

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2017, 07:36:15 AM »
One more question...
So if I know the black tank is very low, on a multiple stop trip.....and I pull into a campground for 2 nights, is it ok to NOT even hook up the sewer hose to the site dump? I was just thinking you hook it up every time you stop.
Karen
____________________________
Camplite 2018 CL16TBS
Ford F-150 3.5L Eco Boost (GTDI)
Max tow pkg. 4wd off road pkg.

Rene T

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2017, 07:40:38 AM »
One more question...
So if I know the black tank is very low, on a multiple stop trip.....and I pull into a campground for 2 nights, is it ok to NOT even hook up the sewer hose to the site dump? I was just thinking you hook it up every time you stop.

No need to hook up the sewer hose if you know the tank will not overflow during that particular time frame. Move on to the next CG and maybe dump there. I wouldn't want to do that if I have more than 1/2 of a tank. I would fill it up to about 3/4 full then dump it. No need to carry around the extra weight.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

UTTransplant

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  • Salt Lake City area
Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2017, 09:31:31 AM »
You generally save money by getting a non-sewer site, so we don't go for full hookup sites unless we need to dump. Sometimes the no-sewer sites are too small and we get a full hookup site just for the view. If we aren't dumping (we only dump every 5-7 days), we don't connect hoses. I also prefer to run off the fresh water in my tanks rather than using the campground hose bib. That make sure sure I don't have a water pressure issue. If I like the taste of the campground water, we fill up. If it is not as good, we don't worry about it. Oh, and I use a water filter even with the good tasting water. There can be an awful lot of sediment in well water systems.
Pam and Kevin plus Minou and Lily (the cats) plus Lexi (the grand-dog)
2014 Outdoors RV Timber Ridge 240RKS
2015 Ram 2500 Diesel
http://toobusyforwork.com

mel s

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Re: RV Black & Grey Water Treatment
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2017, 09:39:53 AM »
Hold the toilet valve open to add water to the black tank, until it's at least half full. Do the same at a sink to put water into the gray tank.
Dump the black tank, then close the valve. Next dump the gray tank, which will also flush out the sewer hose.

HappyWanderer
Be aware that in many RVs the bathroom sink drains into the black tank, (while the kitchen sink and the shower usually drain into the gray tank).

 

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