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Black Tank Treatment


bobstromain

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I never had any issues with treatment in the last 17 years until the past 6 months or so.  Using the tissue recommended for RV or Marine tissue, tried 3 different treatments and none of them dissolving tissue as it should.   Causes the valve to not totally seal off.  I changed the valve, and it sealed for a while.  After serious flushing it finally sealed again.  Any recommendations of a good product is appreciated.

Bob St. Romain

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I use blue Dawn dish soap.  I buy the extra large platinum size at Costco.   Add the Dawn and lots of water.  Let it sit over night and flush.  Then add Dawn each time. 

Dawn also helps keep the sink traps smelling nice.  

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many discussions on the topic.

1) leave the tank closed while using and dump when near full

2) dump the black and then the grey

3) use correct paper and no sanitary products into the toilet

4) use one of many treatments for both smell and to break down waste in the tank

5) Driving sloshes and breaks up solids

6) dump all at once when needed

7) Many tanks have a flush that should be used regularly.  One poster recently created a thread on an automatic flush system he devised to do this for you.

😎 if above fails, Use a Jetter nozzle on a power washer hose, insert into a modified clear elbow that is plumbed to a drain tank and power wash the insides like new.  Not a pretty job, but effective.

 

If just the valve isn't sealing, replace the blade post draining tanks.  Easy job.  Inexpensive.   Don't overtighten. That's my guess of where the problem really is.

Put a clear lid on the end to contain any leak by.

 

 

Edited by DavidL
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I know that I'll be in minority but here goes.

When we bought our first Class C in 1997 one of my wife's friends, who was a very senior RV'er, advised us not to put toilet paper down the commode.  She had a small waste basket beside the toilet and put TP in there and then just threw that away.  She never had a problem.  So that's what we've done for the last 25 years.  Anyone that comes to visit and/or stays with us is asked to do the same thing (our house our rules).  We have never had a problem with out tanks or dumping. 

We do not use any type of treatment especially since I've built a house & RV garage with a dump that goes to the septic tank, don't want to take a chance on killing the bacteria in the tank.  Anyone that visits, parks, and hooks up to the dump is asked not to use an treatment and make sure they dump before they come to visit (our house our rules).  We don't have a problem with any odors etc and since we don't put TP down the commode no blockage. 

 

About 12 years ago we were at the Oshkosh Dog show with a friend, all having to boon dock.  After a week as we were getting ready to leave we were going to dump.  We went first, the site had a strange style dump, basically a large concrete trough you pulled up to and let it rip, and then it all drained into a large hole, not the most pleasant of experiences but you do what you got to do.  We finished and pulled forward and my wife's friend pulled up.  When she opened her black tank valve nothing happen, she was frantic on what to do.  There were a bunch of people in line and someone suggested we try rocking the coach (~40' Class A) so a bunch of got next to coach and in rhythm we all pushed back and forth.  All of a sudden all S%#T broke loose literally.  It was ~50% TP, a thick sludge, but it finally did drain.   Not sure if she used any type of treatment or not, but with the amount of TP it probably wouldn't have made any difference. 

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I have a Valterra shut off valve that attaches to drain pipe. I keep it and the tank valves closed. When the gray water tank is full, I open the gray water then the black water. Since there is more gray than black water, it flows into the black tank. When the water level is equal, I close the black valve and open the Valterra valve and drain the gray. Close the gray and Valterra and go through the same procedure again when the gray is full. When the black tank is full, open the Valterra valve then the black valve and drain the black. When empty close Valterra and open gray and let it flow till water level is equal with the black tank and then close gray and open Valterra. If you have a clear plastic fitting you will see solids (which seem to be lighter than water) flowing out at the end of this step meaning that the solids are still on the tank bottom. After about 3 transfers from the 60 gallons of the gray water tank, you probably will not have any solids flowing out. It is much faster than filling the whole black tank to drain again just to have the solids remain on the bottom. 

Gary 05 AMB DST

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I have been RVing for way too long. I have used every thing from the porty potty in our first popup to the electric commode in our class A.

We have never put anything in the black tank that did not come from our bodies.

Most tanks range in size from 20-80 gallons depending on the RV size. That being said, the black tanks on RV"s are not septic tanks.

No amount of "additive" of any kind will have time to work to break down waste and paper before the tank fills and has to be dumped.

We have used the same House Rules as Jim does and have never had an issue with the tanks or valves.

Thanks to Vito for the tip on Dawn dish liquid to make the drains smell sweet. My wife insists on a product that CW sells at about $8/ quart but that is about to change.

 

Cliff

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Just to add our two cents.  We have been doing this for more than 25 years, and full timing for over 17.  At first we followed the toilet paper wars, which one broke down better etc.  Then later we used and still use regular TP, we are constantly on the move except for 4 months in Florida for the winter so the tanks get sloshed a lot.  Your house your rules is your business, but in this house there is no way the TP isn't going in the toilet!  We also add Happy Camper to the black tank.  We dump about once a week, we leave the gray open until a day before dumping, then close the gray valve, my wife does a couple loads of wash, a few showers etc and the gray tank is full.  Then using our Sani-Con we dump the black then leaving the black valve open, open the gray to allow gray into the black tank, about 25%, then close the gray, and dump the black again, we do that until 25% is left in the gray tank and then close the black, and open the gray and pump the rest of the gray through the hose.  Every month we use the black tank washer several fills, no problems so far, no plugs, no masses of TP, we have a clear section at the Sani-Con so we can see, no smells, works good.  JMO

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I use regular toilet paper and have no issues. Have for 5 years (?) now. A lot of this black tank stuff is over thought. What I do (currently) is put a Green Gobbler in the tank when empty and then I don't drain it until it's full. When flushing, for me that's about two weeks, the toilet paper is well dissolved and hard to see as it goes out the drain. In fact, pretty much everything is nothing but liquid. You see the odd clump of toilet paper but that is because it's recent. The vast majority is just liquified. 

Green Gobbler's work as well as any of the other 'treatments' and probably better. They are much cheaper and can be gotten anywhere. They are made for septic tanks so they are appropriately 'overkill' for the black tank in a motorhome. But they will eat pretty much everything in that two week window.

Besides that, how often in life do you get to say you threw a green goblin down your toilet?? 🤣

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We have always added a few drops of virgin coconut oil to the tank to always keep valves operating smoothly. We use regular toilet paper and flush with indicated flush valve. Just got to give it about 10 minutes to flush and clean sensors. Of course that’s just us. Camp about 4 days a month. 

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On 2/3/2022 at 10:52 AM, DavidL said:

many discussions on the topic.

1) leave the tank closed while using and dump when near full

2) dump the black and then the grey

3) use correct paper and no sanitary products into the toilet

4) use one of many treatments for both smell and to break down waste in the tank

5) Driving sloshes and breaks up solids

6) dump all at once when needed

7) Many tanks have a flush that should be used regularly.  One poster recently created a thread on an automatic flush system he devised to do this for you.

😎 if above fails, Use a Jetter nozzle on a power washer hose, insert into a modified clear elbow that is plumbed to a drain tank and power wash the insides like new.  Not a pretty job, but effective.

 

If just the valve isn't sealing, replace the blade post draining tanks.  Easy job.  Inexpensive.   Don't overtighten. That's my guess of where the problem really is.

Put a clear lid on the end to contain any leak by.

 

 

In my opinion, there's not much more to say about black tanks that that... And I think folks tend to make it way more complicated than it needs to be.

I've got kind of a unique perspective because I dump by gravity through a 1" hose adapter on the dump valves. For a variety of reasons, I didn't want to install a 3" or 4" waste line for my rv parking spot so I buried 100' of 1" PVC in the yard to connect the motorhome with the septic. I use the motorhome as an office during the week and use the restroom like any other restroom. I use no additives, have no odors and discharge the black tank about once a week .  This setup has shown me that toilet paper and solids break down on their own pretty quickly and even a 3/4" dump hose will pass the slurry just fine. As long as David's guidelines above are followed, there really shouldn't be any issues.

Anyway... back to the original issue of the gate valve getting fouled... I suspect the OP's problem is having paper slurry in the gateway while closing the valve, smashing it into the gate's channel. Maybe try flushing the toilet several times after the dump to try and clear most of the paper slurry from that area before closing the valve? My personal approach is to back-flush the black valve with water from the gray tank, but that's hard to do with a conventional 3" dump hose.

Or maybe get a flushing elbow to rinse that area after you dump? Like this: https://www.amazon.com/Valterra-F02-4100-Hydroflush-Removable-Anti-siphon/dp/B0002UHVAA

Cheers,

Walter

Edited by wamcneil
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We started with an Airstream in 2006. My wife doesn’t trust household toilet paper but I do so to keep the Missus happy, we use RV toilet paper.

I used to use the Orange stuff in little packets and add one every day. Not long ago I switched to Digest-it by Unique. It is an enzyme that, well, digest the solids. They make a sensor cleaner formula as well. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=unique+rv+digest-it+holding+tank+treatment&crid=1HXLVCIFPHBB8&sprefix=unique%2Caps%2C101&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_4_6

So far no odor & seems to dissolve everything. It was recommended by the National RV Training Academy. 

Happy Camper is also good. I’d probably use Happy Camper if I couldn’t get Digest-it. 

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I also use Digest-it but mostly only for long boondocking stays and not picky with paper. But I never had a problem with the gravity drain when not using anything, so while I assume that it works, it's really just for a peace of mind between flushes to me. I carry a secondary dump valve for just in case and never needed it yet. I don't spend much time on this subject. 

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