Holding tank white chips

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Pat

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The topic title is the best I can think of to describe these things.  I was cleaning out my sewer hose and notice it was full of white chips of some hard white chalky substance.  I thought it might be layers of dissolved and rehardened Odorlos beads.  I wonder if the beds of my holding tanks have layers of the stuff accumulating.  I had been in a spot the previous 5 months where the water is exceptionally clean; although, it's pretty bad here in Arizona.  I hate to think of this stuff accumulating in my water pipes.  The water in Puyallup WA was pretty awful before the Oregon stop.  Maybe I picked it up there.  However, the one constant is the Odorlos. 

--pat
 

Karl

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Pat,
I'm a little confused. You mention 'beads', but the Odorlos website shows only a bottle of liquid with a pre-measureing cup built in. According to them, it contains nitrates, magnesium and potassium - nutrients for the bacteria to feed from, but doesn't say what the exact chemicalsl are, so it's difficult to say what could be causing the residue. The specified dose is 4oz. mixed with one gallon of water for 40 gallons of grey/black water. A couple things come to mind: Are you using more than the recommended concentration? Do you dump when nearly empty? This could cause an overly high concentration over time. Do you dump chemicals other than biodegradable soaps, etc? If so, this could cause the ingredients in the Odorlos to percipitate out and that's what you may be seeing. Do you fill with very hard water that contains high amounts of calcium? This too will percipitate out and form a choking coating on the piping. There are simple test kits available to check for this. Or more simply, fill a small pan with water and put it on the stove to boil away. If you see a white residue in the pan, you have a high concentration of suspended calcium or other contaminants. If that's your problem, you may need to install a small water softener for washing and cooking and a bypassed supply of un-softened water for drinking - if that is your choice. I don't have a problem with drinking softened water, but some people (especially those on sodium restricted diets) may choose otherwise. Your other choice would be bottled water for drinking.  Hope this gives you some helpful clues.
 

Pat

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kkolbus:

I think the Arizona water is very hard.  Odorlos does come in dry form in nifty little buckets with handles.  The buckets are a wide, flat design that is less likely to tip over.  I use the prescribed amount; although, I've read somewhere that it's advisable to double the amount in hot weather.  I dump when the indicator on the grey tank is yellow and the black is red.  I also know when it's been long enough, which pretty much agrees with the indicators. 

I haven't unhooked the sewer hose yet for Monday's transfer to my housesitting location, but I'll check the drain tube again and see if it's loaded with white chips.

--pat
 

BruceinFL

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I think that's one of the reasons the person who wrote the article about holding tanks recommended using Calgon to soften the water in the tanks.
 

Steve CDN

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Pat,

One of the benefits of using a transparent elbow on the sewer hose is to be able to monitor the effluent materials.  I have been using one for years and feel it's the only way to know the condition of the holding tanks.

I have noticed white chip like particles coming out of the grey tank as well and have never been able to clearly identify their origin, though I have a theory.

We occasinally leave the grey valve open while parked for extended periods though I always allow grey water to accumulate when dumping the black tank to produce the always sought after whooosh effect to flush the sewer hose.

I think soap residue forms in the base of the tank which dries out and forms a semi solid mass.  The whooosh effect dislodges some of these particles and thus we see the white chips.

Last summer on our way north from Florida, for reasons beyond my control I was unable to flaush my grey tank with running water before parking the coach for several weeks.  When I tried dumping the grey tank, there was an obstruction preventing flow...on backflushing with a garden hose, I got an accumulation of which chip like material.

I don't know if there might be bacterial action involved or if what we are seeing is simply soap accumulation.

It will be interesting to hear other views on the subject.
 

Pat

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Steve:  I never thought the white chips might be soap.  They were hard like minerals.  Anyway, tomorrow my tanks will get as thorough a cleaning as I can give them.  I wonder if a little PineSold would provide the needed lubrication for the valves, in light of the fact that I don't have time to get out to find other stuff anymore today. Makes the place smell like a subway bathroom, but it's what I have.

--at
 

Steve CDN

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If you are referring to Pinesol the all purpose cleaner, which is essentially a degreaser, I would not use it in the holding tanks.  Your best bet would be to purchase a commercial RV holding tank product that either contains slide valve lubricant or is itself a valve lubricant.

The other alternative woukd be to dismantle the slide valves, usually easily accesible and requires removing 4 screws and spraying silicone lubricant into the rubber seal.

If you decide to use the product I use, Envirochem, it contains valve lube.  If none of the above are possible, plain water would be better than a strong degreaser like the Pinesol product.
 

Pat

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Pinesol is out.  I'll use plain water after a good rinsing.  For my black water tank I have one of those spray cleaner systems built in.  Since I don't have time to get anything better between now and in the morning, I'll go with the water.  I have plenty of Odorlos, but I don't need to break anything down in the clean tanks for the next two months.

I have wanted to take the slide valves apart and clean them.  The black water tank slider is stiffer than the other.  I don't like to force it.  It'll be nice to be able to do that when necessary. 

--pat
 

Ron

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Pinesol is out.  I'll use plain water after a good rinsing.

Now that is a good plan and won't give you any problems later on.
 

Karl

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Pat,
Just a quick note. Earlier you said you read that it's advisable to use double the amount of Ordorlos in hot weather. I didn't see anything like that on the Ordorlos website and tend to believe that they, if anyone, would want you to use more of their product. Think of a campfire: The fire will only last as long as there is fuel (organic matter). After that, it doesn't matter how much oxygen you supply; the fire will go out. Sounds like a waste of money to use more than the recommended amount.
 

Pat

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Payson AZ
kk:  I forget where I read that it was advisable to use double the holding tank treatment in hot weather. 

I'll be interested to see if more white chips accumulated here in Arizona.

I like the stiff drain hoses from CampingWorld.  I connected two when I got here that combine quite a bit too long for my storage pipe.  After cleaning I'll need to contract and bag it for the trip to my next spot.  Some day I'd like to figure out where to put a longer storage pipe.  There are plenty of campgrounds where a 20' drain hose is necessary.  My holder will accommodate maybe 15' at the most.

--pat
 

Pat

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Payson AZ
Taste?  You mean stuff sloshing out the end of the sewer hose?  Hey, I'm not even going there unless I start using aerosol whipping cream like somebody else suggested on another topic.

After 6 months parked in Mesa, I did not detect any white chips from the holding tanks.  The last time it happened I had just driven down to Las Vegas from the middle of Oregon.  Maybe lots of driving breaks them up.  I'll watch when I get back up there.

--pat
 

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