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Author Topic: Another black tank question  (Read 2593 times)

clockdrfla

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Another black tank question
« on: September 08, 2017, 09:35:10 AM »
Some black tanks have a clean and flush procedure by connecting a hose.  Does this procedure give decent cleaning results?  Would there be any reason to also use a flush wand?

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2017, 09:38:11 AM »
Not really.  Either one is just a rinse and not very effective at "cleaning" anyway.  If you dumper from a tank was 3/4 or more full, the follow-up rinse probably adds little to the process.
Gary
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Gizmo

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2017, 09:47:47 AM »
What Gary said was my experience as well.   I used the black tank hose connection to fill the tank with little to no expectation of cleaning the tank by itself  What I found to be the most effective method, was to do the initial dump with no less than 2/3 full, followed by at least 3-cycles of fill the tank and dump.  To do this you will want a clear elbow attachment to determine when the solids have left the tank.  Usually on the third cycle the tank drained clear from start to finish, on occasion, I had to go to a 4th.
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
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clockdrfla

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2017, 09:58:56 AM »
Not really.  Either one is just a rinse and not very effective at "cleaning" anyway.  If you dumper from a tank was 3/4 or more full, the follow-up rinse probably adds little to the process.
I want to make sure that poop pyramids don't develop.  I'm currently dumping about every two weeks, rinsing with black tank hose connection, rinse about 5 minutes, put about 5 gallons water in black tank. Should I be doing any thing else?  Any additives needed in tank to break down waste or to deodorize?

Rene T

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2017, 11:17:51 AM »
I want to make sure that poop pyramids don't develop.  I'm currently dumping about every two weeks, rinsing with black tank hose connection, rinse about 5 minutes, put about 5 gallons water in black tank. Should I be doing any thing else?  Any additives needed in tank to break down waste or to deodorize?

Perfect. You're doing the right thing. Just don't dump with a tank less than 2/3 full. Add water if need be.
 No need of any chemicals. Like you say, just add about 5 gallons of water in the tank after dumping to continue breaking down anything that may have not dumped out.
Rene, Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
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BinaryBob

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2017, 11:44:06 AM »
What Gary said was my experience as well.   I used the black tank hose connection to fill the tank with little to no expectation of cleaning the tank by itself  What I found to be the most effective method, was to do the initial dump with no less than 2/3 full, followed by at least 3-cycles of fill the tank and dump.  To do this you will want a clear elbow attachment to determine when the solids have left the tank.  Usually on the third cycle the tank drained clear from start to finish, on occasion, I had to go to a 4th.

Agreed. My black tank hose connection is labeled "rinse." - A misnomer.
A "rinse" is ineffective. Several fills then dumps is the only way I can see additional stuff / toilet paper going through the clear elbow.
Just need to remember to not engage in some other activity / project during this process and forget the tank is filling!
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Gizmo

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2017, 11:53:11 AM »
I have found only adding a few gallons does not always loosen and flush any solids stuck to the upper portion of the tank.  Typically in my experience, the first dump at plus 2/3 full and then only dumping a few gallons only clears the bottom portion of the tank leaving debris stuck to the upper portions of the tank.  Also I have found that adding Happy Camper,  the solids tend to break down to smaller and more easily flushed than when I have not used it.
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
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BIG JOE

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2017, 12:33:35 PM »
Redundant to what seems to be Our favorite recurring subject:

For a 2-3-4 day outing, or when going to travel to a new destination... leaving the Black tank (say) 1/2  full.. Not dumping.. 'til you get home, or to the next CG is an alternative also ?

Doing this gives the Black tank a Good Sloshing while on the road, breaking up the materials to a Slurry and most likely knocks things loose, from the sides of the tank.

Then.. doing a Dump, and Triple Rinse.. will get you to About As Good As It Gets.

This had been our (My) edict.. We (I) have Never had a Black Tank issue. (DW doesn't get involved in "Tank" stuff  :D ;))

Joe





   
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 11:22:17 PM by BIG JOE »
Joe

Tow an 016 29RS "Reflection" 5r w/Trailair pin box...with a 2012 Ford DRW, F-350, 4x4, Loaded de-Blinged Lariat CC, 6.7 Diesel.. Wife & I, Beck & Sheeka the Dogs.. And as of 5-17.. Lizzie, the Kitten in Training.

Ernie n Tara

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2017, 02:47:30 PM »
I dump (3/4 tank min) and then flush.  Eight years full time in three different motor homes and no problem ever.

Ernie
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RedandSilver

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2017, 09:06:40 PM »
Only thing about waiting til it's either 2/3 or 3/4 fill and then dumping is it's a guessing game as to when those amounts happen.

We all know that many RV's have poor level monitoring abilities and are inaccurate at best - as they come from the factory.

Maybe new RV's are more accurate for awhile or they have improved the level monitors - but most older units will play the guessing game.
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kdbgoat

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2017, 06:07:50 AM »
Only thing about waiting til it's either 2/3 or 3/4 fill and then dumping is it's a guessing game as to when those amounts happen.

We all know that many RV's have poor level monitoring abilities and are inaccurate at best - as they come from the factory.

Maybe new RV's are more accurate for awhile or they have improved the level monitors - but most older units will play the guessing game.


Mine is a 2016 and no more accurate than a 1996. Both my black and gray tanks show 1/3 when actually at about a 1/4. The gray shows 2/3 at 1/2, and the black shows 2/3 at about 60%. Both show full at about 90%.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2017, 08:10:29 AM »
Quote
Only thing about waiting til it's either 2/3 or 3/4 fill and then dumping is it's a guessing game as to when those amounts happen.

True, but not all that difficult to estimate (guess). Nor is it necessary to be precise.

If you feel you must have an accurate tank gauge, consider installing the See-Level system from Garnet. It's an excellent and reliable system that uses external sensors that don't short or clog. Many high-end RVs have this system or an equivalent one.
https://www.garnetinstruments.com/rv-shop/
Gary
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BigLarry

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2017, 08:08:07 PM »
I dump our tank when it gets within an inch or so of the top when I open the flush and look into the commode.  Usually about every 5 days.  I've never trusted the black tank level indicator.  I do use the tank flush, but mostly just to add a few gallons of water to the empty tank. By starting with several gallons of water in the tank, we've never had a poop pyramid problem and have never used any additive in the tank.  I also have used the flush to fill the tank if there isn't enough liquid in it to dump and we're heading home on our last night out.  If I'm filling the tank with the flush, I certainly don't check the level visually with the black tank flush turned on!
Larry and Betty
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AStravelers

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2017, 11:17:20 AM »
As others have said, always add 5 or so gallons of water back into the tank after you dump. 

About chemicals, there is lots of "hype" about adding chemicals.  Just keep in mind, there are many thousands, hundreds of thousands of RV'ers who live and travel full time in RV's that do NOT use chemicals in their black tank.  Also for chemicals to break down the waste, such as in a septic tank, it takes many days for the chemicals to work, not the 3-8 days most RV'ers go between dumping. 

I have see surveys showing around 60% of RV'ers replying to the survey DO use chemicals.  People use this to justify the use of chemicals.  However that totally ignores the remaining 40% who don't ever use chemicals and don't have any problems. 

It is easy to test what works for you.  Just don't add the chemicals, but DO ADD 5-8 gallons of water after you dump and see if it works for you. 

When we first started traveling, 13 years ago, in RV's with holding tanks we used chemicals.  The chemicals did add a bit of better smell when we dumped, but the stuff still smelled unpleasant.  It just had an additional odor of the chemical, not that it smelled nice.  It took us 6-9 months to realize the only thing the chemicals did is to lighten our wallets. 
Al & Sharon
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Gizmo

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2017, 08:32:44 PM »
Unless you only have a 10-gallon black tank, only addig 5 or so gallons will not dis-loge or rinse out any solids adhering to the upper levels of the tank. 
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
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Rene T

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2017, 08:49:54 PM »
Unless you only have a 10-gallon black tank, only addig 5 or so gallons will not dis-loge or rinse out any solids adhering to the upper levels of the tank.

I can't imagine anything sticking to the top of the tank but I suppose it could.  If there's anything left in the tank, it should be sitting on the bottom. Gravity should prevail.. The 5 gallons of water is not used to dislodge anything. It's used to continue the breaking down action.  I know that driving around on the roads here in NH, 5 gallons of water will slosh around wetting all the inside surfaces of the tank.

IMHO, $45.00 for 64 treatments is a waste of money.

https://www.amazon.com/Happy-Campers-Organic-Holding-Treatment/dp/B007S0LDME/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505094693&sr=8-1&keywords=happy+camper+rv+tank+treatment
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 08:54:42 PM by Rene T »
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ALLOY

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2017, 11:55:26 PM »
When the tank flush/rinse nozzle is mounted in the side of the tank the nozzle and the connecting pipe fill up with black stuff. 

Running hot water through the nozzle may help or it may cause allot of the black stuff to break loose and completely plug things up. That is what happened to ours. 

Our new tanks will have removable tank flush nozzles mounted in the top of the tanks. The fitting can be accessed through the floor in the front pass through. 

Tank Edge Manufacturing makes a tank level system.  This system allows the user to label the tanks.

https://www.tankedge.com/

35' 5th

Gizmo

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2017, 09:41:12 AM »
I can't imagine anything sticking to the top of the tank but I suppose it could.  If there's anything left in the tank, it should be sitting on the bottom. Gravity should prevail.. The 5 gallons of water is not used to dislodge anything. It's used to continue the breaking down action.  I know that driving around on the roads here in NH, 5 gallons of water will slosh around wetting all the inside surfaces of the tank.

IMHO, $45.00 for 64 treatments is a waste of money.

https://www.amazon.com/Happy-Campers-Organic-Holding-Treatment/dp/B007S0LDME/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505094693&sr=8-1&keywords=happy+camper+rv+tank+treatment

My experience indicates otherwise.  When we first started RV'ing with a black tank. I did what is being suggested here dump when 2/3rd's+ full, then fill just a few gallons and dump again and no treatment chemicals. After the 2nd or 3rd dump of just a few gallons the tank water ran clear, no solids observed.  Great job done, or so I thought.  Then after a couple trips we began to get an odor in the TT emanating from the toilet, so I added one of the popular chemicals promising to eliminate odor, better but still present.  That is when I stated filling the tank till full for the 2nd & third dumps and was seeing solids in the waste water.  It was not until I reached my 5th dump that the waste water ran clear from start to finish and the odor was eliminated.  Continuing to fill the tank for successive dumps and watching for the point at which the waste water ran clear from start to finish, We never experienced black tank odor after that.  After some time and after hearing several positive reports on Happy Camper, we tried some and as we were no longer having an odor problem, I cannot speak to it's solving odor, but what I noticed, is when I did use it, the solids were considerably smaller and instead of 3-5 successive dumps, I was getting the job done in 2-3 dumps.  I suspect Happy Camper was indeed breaking down the solid waste, making the process more efficient.  Happy Camper was, if not the least expensive tank additive at the time, roughly .50-.70 per treatment, considering the real results we were seeing in the breakdown of the solids, it was worth it to us to use. 
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
Gone But not forgotten:
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2013 Aliner Expedition

BIG JOE

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2017, 11:13:09 AM »
My experience indicates otherwise.  When we first started RV'ing with a black tank. I did what is being suggested here dump when 2/3rd's+ full, then fill just a few gallons and dump again and no treatment chemicals. After the 2nd or 3rd dump of just a few gallons the tank water ran clear, no solids observed.  Great job done, or so I thought.  Then after a couple trips we began to get an odor in the TT emanating from the toilet, so I added one of the popular chemicals promising to eliminate odor, better but still present.  That is when I stated filling the tank till full for the 2nd & third dumps and was seeing solids in the waste water.  It was not until I reached my 5th dump that the waste water ran clear from start to finish and the odor was eliminated.  Continuing to fill the tank for successive dumps and watching for the point at which the waste water ran clear from start to finish, We never experienced black tank odor after that.  After some time and after hearing several positive reports on Happy Camper, we tried some and as we were no longer having an odor problem, I cannot speak to it's solving odor, but what I noticed, is when I did use it, the solids were considerably smaller and instead of 3-5 successive dumps, I was getting the job done in 2-3 dumps.  I suspect Happy Camper was indeed breaking down the solid waste, making the process more efficient.  Happy Camper was, if not the least expensive tank additive at the time, roughly .50-.70 per treatment, considering the real results we were seeing in the breakdown of the solids, it was worth it to us to use.

Same experiences, Same results.

Dump, 2-3 rinses... add +/- 5 gallons of water.. and a chemical dose. The on the road Sloshing/Agitation I've mentioned.. also is a Good Thing ? 
Joe

Tow an 016 29RS "Reflection" 5r w/Trailair pin box...with a 2012 Ford DRW, F-350, 4x4, Loaded de-Blinged Lariat CC, 6.7 Diesel.. Wife & I, Beck & Sheeka the Dogs.. And as of 5-17.. Lizzie, the Kitten in Training.

Rene T

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2017, 12:58:27 PM »
My experience indicates otherwise.  When we first started RV'ing with a black tank. I did what is being suggested here dump when 2/3rd's+ full, then fill just a few gallons and dump again and no treatment chemicals.

Adding 5 gallons of water after dumping, you should have left it in the tank to let it slosh around. Sounds to me like you would dump it immediately. I usually add 10 to 15 gallons of water then dump. It may take a couple of times. Then I add 5 gallons and leave it there to break up anything left behind and to start the break down action when we start using it again.
Rene, Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
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From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

AStravelers

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2017, 01:41:41 PM »
If folks have an odor coming from the toilet caused by the stuff in the black tank, then it is time to find out why the seals and roof vent are not doing their job.  The stuff in the black tank stinks, but should not enter the living area.  One exception is if your vent fans are running and you don't have a goodly amount of windows open, the vent fans will pull the smell in from the black tank when the toilet is flushed. 

As far a chemicals, when the majority of fulltime RV'ers report: that they don't use chemicals and don't have an odor problem, I am well convinced that they just what confirm what I experience, "You don't NEED to add chemicals". 

But hey, if someone believes they must use the chemicals, then that is their decision.  Go for it. 

However if someone has always used chemicals, then stop using the chemicals for a few weeks and see if it works.  It may save you a few dollars, as well as the need to go buy, or order online, the stuff.  Just one less thing you need to do. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Lakebum

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2017, 10:11:40 PM »
Our 03 rv did not come with a tank flush, so I installed an after market. Before I installed it I hooked it up to a garden hose to see how it sprayed, not impressed. The spray holes were only about an 1/8'. I took a drill and enlarged them to get a harder spray. It has worked great on my unit. The bigger holes means I can actually hear it spraying around inside the tank. As the others do I use a clear adapter and close the drain for a minute and then reopen about 3 times until it runs clear. I was amazed about what I cleaned out the first few times I used it.

BigLarry

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2017, 01:05:21 PM »
I've never really paid any attention to how well the tank is flushing.  I dump when its mostly full, use the black tank flush to put a few gallons of water back in the tank, then start using the tank.   I think that as long as there is liquid in the tank, all is well and we'll never worry about any residual solids.  Some of our older trailers did not have a built in flush, so we added three or four toilet bowls of clear water to the tank before we started using it. 
Larry and Betty
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John From Detroit

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2017, 07:54:37 AM »
Where as I almost never bother with the flush. Just dump when at least half full more if I can.
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chindog

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2017, 06:54:04 PM »
At a recent rally I attended, there was a seminar on tank maintenance put on by a guy whose business was pressure washing the inside of holding tanks and hot water tanks.  He said the cleanest tanks are in RV's where either no chemicals are used, other than perhaps a deodorant (he said you really don't need the deodorant but it doesn't cause any problems), and also where the GEO method is used.  (Calgon water softener and Dawn dish soap).  He also said the tanks with the most gunk stuck on the inside are the RV's where the commercial tank chemicals are used.  Also, he said it is best to empty the tanks when they are at least 2/3 full, and it is best to travel with about 1/3 volume to slosh around and break up the crud.  So, since then, I use just water when parked, and may occasionally put in a little Calgon and Dawn with the water when traveling. 
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BIG JOE

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2017, 09:45:25 PM »
At a recent rally I attended, there was a seminar on tank maintenance put on by a guy whose business was pressure washing the inside of holding tanks and hot water tanks.  He said the cleanest tanks are in RV's where either no chemicals are used, other than perhaps a deodorant (he said you really don't need the deodorant but it doesn't cause any problems), and also where the GEO method is used.  (Calgon water softener and Dawn dish soap).  He also said the tanks with the most gunk stuck on the inside are the RV's where the commercial tank chemicals are used.  Also, he said it is best to empty the tanks when they are at least 2/3 full, and it is best to travel with about 1/3 volume to slosh around and break up the crud.  So, since then, I use just water when parked, and may occasionally put in a little Calgon and Dawn with the water when traveling.

 :)) :))
Joe

Tow an 016 29RS "Reflection" 5r w/Trailair pin box...with a 2012 Ford DRW, F-350, 4x4, Loaded de-Blinged Lariat CC, 6.7 Diesel.. Wife & I, Beck & Sheeka the Dogs.. And as of 5-17.. Lizzie, the Kitten in Training.

Boonieman

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2017, 07:27:55 PM »
On our last camping trip, we had the disaster of our black water tank wouldn’t drain. On the way home, my better half bought a huge bag of ice and a huge bottle of Dawn dish detergent and she dumped it down the toilet on the way home. I personally question if the ice did any good, but we got home and left the toy hauler parked in the barn for a few weeks til we were ready to winterize it. We found a local place to dump finally, and it emptied just great, plus for the first time ever since we bought it used, all the sensors showed empty. I think initially what we did wrong was to empty the black water tank and leave it empty til we camped again. We won’t make that mistake again. Also, the suggestions of filling and flushing the black water tank several times surely weren’t made by people who have had a bunch of campers sitting behind them at a dump station. Maybe with full hookups you can do that, but that’s not always an option when camping. I try to be respectful of the people behind me and not turn my problems into a bad experience for them exiting a campground.
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HappyWanderer

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2017, 06:40:39 AM »
There's a difference between adding a few gallons to the tank and dumping it again, and spending 20 minutes flushing the tank while there's a line waiting behind you.

I try to work efficiently at the dump station, but don't let a line rush me into doing something that will cause me problems down the road. Dump, flush, get out of the way!
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blw2

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2017, 09:43:36 AM »
I would argue that if folks are lined up you shouldn't even do the flush.  Dump and move on.

I'm not even so sure that flushing is all that great of an idea unless you're going to do it thoroughly.  I've done a bit of experimentation in the driveway with one of those clear fittings. 
I dump the tank, then refill it all the way with clear water.
dump again
repeat.
What I have observed is that the first dump is never "clear"....some stuff will come out during the second dump, but not a lot and mostly not till the end.  Most of teh second dump is clear-ish
almost nothing during 3rd and later dumps, except till the end.
....it's the last little dribble of the last gallon or two that brings with it the sediment from the bottom of the tank.

I can repeat almost exactly the same affect after the first dump, but just leaving the valve open and running a bit of water into the tank, a few flushes or running the lav sink)....the slow trickle brings out more sediment.  Even after several repeated dumps more will come.
The problem though is that it's SLOW...and I theorize that I'm more likely to have paper and solids get carried into the discharge pipe, possible hang in the valve, etc...

Based on my unscientific observations...I figure
 it's better just to do the initial dump, which brings most of the stuff out.  Leave the rest of it be....
pull away from the dump station to let the next person have a turn
then flush a few bowls of water to "prime" the tank.  The residual will mix in with the next batch just fine....
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
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BIG JOE

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Re: Another black tank question
« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2017, 06:04:50 PM »
 
I would argue that if folks are lined up you shouldn't even do the flush.  Dump and move on.

I'm not even so sure that flushing is all that great of an idea unless you're going to do it thoroughly.  I've done a bit of experimentation in the driveway with one of those clear fittings. 
I dump the tank, then refill it all the way with clear water.
dump again
repeat.
What I have observed is that the first dump is never "clear"....some stuff will come out during the second dump, but not a lot and mostly not till the end.  Most of teh second dump is clear-ish
almost nothing during 3rd and later dumps, except till the end.
....it's the last little dribble of the last gallon or two that brings with it the sediment from the bottom of the tank.

I can repeat almost exactly the same affect after the first dump, but just leaving the valve open and running a bit of water into the tank, a few flushes or running the lav sink)....the slow trickle brings out more sediment.  Even after several repeated dumps more will come.
The problem though is that it's SLOW...and I theorize that I'm more likely to have paper and solids get carried into the discharge pipe, possible hang in the valve, etc...

Based on my unscientific observations...I figure
 it's better just to do the initial dump, which brings most of the stuff out.  Leave the rest of it be....
pull away from the dump station to let the next person have a turn
then flush a few bowls of water to "prime" the tank.  The residual will mix in with the next batch just fine....

 :)) :))
Joe

Tow an 016 29RS "Reflection" 5r w/Trailair pin box...with a 2012 Ford DRW, F-350, 4x4, Loaded de-Blinged Lariat CC, 6.7 Diesel.. Wife & I, Beck & Sheeka the Dogs.. And as of 5-17.. Lizzie, the Kitten in Training.