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Old 08-10-2015, 10:04 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
Also, other than concerns about dumping gray water on the ground (which I have never done and probably wouldn't do) how would mixing the contents be any different from the older trailers that do not have gray tanks?
It wouldn't. But many of the older trailers that have a black tank and no gray tank also have a direct discharge for gray water that bypasses the black tank, because in those days dumping gray water onto the ground was accepted practice everywhere and no one needed a gray tank. But those were also the days of phosphate soaps, and soapy water made excellent fertilizer.

The point is that once you cross-connect the black and gray tanks, you must consider them both as black tanks, and that pretty much puts an end to any chance of dumping gray water onto the ground even where it's allowed, at least until after you thoroughly flush the gray tank to get rid of any potential contamination. If you would never dump gray water on the ground even where allowed, then I guess it doesn't make a difference. But that's a matter of your personal choice, and I can only address the technical explanations. What you do with the information is entirely up to you. I'm not the sewer police.

There is no "inrush" of gray water into the black tank, unless the level of the water in the gray tank is much higher than the level of water in the black tank. If both tanks are only a few inches thick from top to bottom and both mounted below the floor of your trailer, you don't have enough hydraulic gradient (difference in water elevations over distance) to cause any kind of surge; the water surfaces are only a few inches different in elevation at most and a few feet apart in distance by the path the water has to take.

You won't notice any odor from the drains even if the contents of the two tanks are thoroughly mixed. That's why you have P-traps. The water in the P-trap blocks any malodorous vapors from escaping.
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:23 AM   #16
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Although I don't use this practice to get more "trickle" transfer for gray capacity, I do, at the dump station:

1) drain the black tank
2) raise the hose end up high above both tank top levels
3) open the gray valve while black valve is still open
4) listen for inrush of gray into black tank
5) listen for inrush to subside
6) close gray valve
7) lower hose quickly to septic opening
8) repeat.

There is a lot more inrush into the black tank than one would think when the gray tank is at least 1/2 full and the black is empty. I have found this method of black tank flushing FAR more effective than either the AS black flusher or the clear elbow attachment flusher. If one is careful, it is no more risky for a spill than dangling the hose and using the septic water supply hose to clean it up....in fact less so, in my own experience.
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:24 AM   #17
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We bought a dishpan that we use when doing the dishes to dump the dishwater into the black tank - it helps in a few ways, not the least of which is saving some capacity in the gray tank. Credit to someone on here for the idea.

Also, some newer trailers have the bathroom sink drain into the black tank, rather than the gray tank. If I ever have to work on that section of plumbing in ours, if it's not too difficult I might switch it. However, I know some people say that the black tank then becomes the tank that fills more quickly...

Which leads to the ultimate solution: Use less water. You probably need a lot less water than you think. Use less shampoo. Don't rinse dishes more than absolutely necessary. Turn off the faucet while you're brushing your teeth. Take a navy shower. If you use liquid hand soap, the bottles they come in usually give you WAY more soap than you actually need - learn to press it only partway (less soap - less rinsing).
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:27 AM   #18
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We bought a dishpan that we use when doing the dishes to dump the dishwater into the black tank - it helps in a few ways, not the least of which is saving some capacity in the gray tank. Credit to someone on here for the idea.

Also, some newer trailers have the bathroom sink drain into the black tank, rather than the gray tank. If I ever have to work on that section of plumbing in ours, if it's not too difficult I might switch it. However, I know some people say that the black tank then becomes the tank that fills more quickly...

Which leads to the ultimate solution: Use less water. You probably need a lot less water than you think. Use less shampoo. Don't rinse dishes more than absolutely necessary. Turn off the faucet while you're brushing your teeth. Take a navy shower. If you use liquid hand soap, the bottles they come in usually give you WAY more soap than you actually need - learn to press it only partway (less soap - less rinsing).
This, and Paula's solution are the best advice to even things out while dry camping or boondocking, IMO and practice.
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:33 AM   #19
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I never liked the various "systems" people claim to use to "equalize" the water in the black and grey tanks in an effort to lengthen the time between dumps. These approaches always seem overly complicated and/or prone to failure.

We put a tub in the sink when we wash dishes and dump the dish water in the toilet, further we practice the "navy shower" approach. With this and with two people, our grey tank lasts over a week. At which time, if we are still in a place with no hook-ups and are not permitted to dump the grey water on the ground, I will bring the trailer to the dump station. Since we aren't going "down the road," the amount of preparation needed to do this is minimal and I can have the trailer back in it's site inside of half an hour. That "half hour" to dump the trailer once per week is a whole lot easier than dragging a "blue boy" with us everywhere we go for occasional usage or the "tank equalization" approach.

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Old 08-10-2015, 10:35 AM   #20
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We bought a dishpan that we use when doing the dishes to dump the dishwater into the black tank - it helps in a few ways, not the least of which is saving some capacity in the gray tank. Credit to someone on here for the idea.
I use one of these in my galley sink:
Amazon.com: Advanced Elements 10-Liter Portable Foldup Pocket Sink with Carry Bag

It fits neatly in my Dometic oval sink and by looping the handle over the faucet I make sure it doesn't collapse at an inconvenient moment. Got the idea from the "Small Space Living" thread.
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Old 08-10-2015, 11:52 AM   #21
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Second the method of several posters to catch sink water for ultimate black tank disposal.
I wondered why this was not designed in by using an inline catch tank under the sink(s) to flush the toilet instead of fresh water. When this tank fills, the excess goes to gray as usual. That way the gray water can serve the flush purpose, doing double duty, so to speak, also the double purpose, saving fresh water, and modulating the fill of the black tank. Just a newbie wondering...
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Old 08-10-2015, 11:54 AM   #22
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We seldom camp without full hookups, but I have prepared for the eventuality in a couple of ways - never yet have had to use them ........

(1) We do have two plastic "tubs" that happen be a perfect "drop-in" fit into our galley sinks, so we could trap dish washing water and dump into the toilet.

(2) I have a cap on the sewer drain outlet that has a screw on garden hose connection on it.

I carry a short length of hose, and also a 5 gal collapsible water container reserved for the purpose, so that if we needed to, we could ferry 5 gallons of gray water to a dump station as often as we needed.

(3) Of course I wouldn't do this .......... or would I? The short length of hose mentioned above is long enough to reach around to some hidden point under the trailer ...... Hmmmm.


So far we haven't had to use any of these methods, but surprisingly find that if we must have showers in the trailer at a site without full hookups, even though we try our damndest to use minimal water (navy shower style), we cannot go more than about three days before the shower drain starts to back up!

That has always surprised me as I think the gray tank is supposed to be about 37 gallons. It almost makes me wonder if something screwy is going on with our plumbing (in the trailer I mean!)

Anyone else experience this?


Brian
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Old 08-10-2015, 12:29 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
We seldom camp without full hookups, but I have prepared for the eventuality in a couple of ways - never yet have had to use them ........

(1) We do have two plastic "tubs" that happen be a perfect "drop-in" fit into our galley sinks, so we could trap dish washing water and dump into the toilet.

(2) I have a cap on the sewer drain outlet that has a screw on garden hose connection on it.

I carry a short length of hose, and also a 5 gal collapsible water container reserved for the purpose, so that if we needed to, we could ferry 5 gallons of gray water to a dump station as often as we needed.

(3) Of course I wouldn't do this .......... or would I? The short length of hose mentioned above is long enough to reach around to some hidden point under the trailer ...... Hmmmm.


So far we haven't had to use any of these methods, but surprisingly find that if we must have showers in the trailer at a site without full hookups, even though we try our damndest to use minimal water (navy shower style), we cannot go more than about three days before the shower drain starts to back up!

That has always surprised me as I think the gray tank is supposed to be about 37 gallons. It almost makes me wonder if something screwy is going on with our plumbing (in the trailer I mean!)

Anyone else experience this?


Brian
Brian... Don't forget the first gallon in the pipes is COLD. Get a bucket, turn the shower on as hot as it will go, hold your hand in the water until it does get hot. That's probably a gallon. THAT is how much goes down the drain before you climb IN the shower.

But if you stick with the bucket, and add a second gallon or a bit more, the bucket water should be about the right temperature to shower in. NOW G.I. shower with the water in the bucket. THAT will save water. Use an empty disposable water the bottle as your shower head. Wet your hair, washcloth, and body, then add soap to the washcloth, scrub wherever needed, and start pouring water from the bottle out to rinse yourself off - that way you don't get soapy water back in the bucket. (using the bottle let's me keep my hair dry when I'm not shampooing it too. Pouring direct from the bucket, too much water too poorly aimed.)

Do this one time with the plug in the drain. Then mark where water line is in the shower. Compare that mark to one from your regular G.I. shower - bet you saved at least a gallon. (I suppose if you're really anal you could line the shower in plastic and weigh the water from each method.)

Oh, and if you really want to save water - keep the plug in, bail the water into a jug, and when you use the John, flush with the jug of gray water.
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Old 08-10-2015, 12:47 PM   #24
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Really like the shower suggestions to equalize black/gray fill and when conservation is required! We have an insert for the galley sink and use that for dish washing.

Al
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Old 08-10-2015, 12:53 PM   #25
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Done properly and with a good shower head (such as the famous Oxygenics) and a water cut off valve (similar to the one in the link below,) a proper navy shower can be accomplished with about 2 gallons of water (unless your hair is waist length .) So my wife and I only put about 4 to 5 gallons of water or less per day into our 39 gallon grey tank as a result of showering.


http://www.amazon.com/K1140B-Shower-...+cut+off+vavle
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:13 PM   #26
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A slow grey water drip in certain campground situations or even while moving is not usually noticed. Use a outlet cap that has a hose connector.
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Old 08-10-2015, 02:13 PM   #27
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Some good suggestions here, it would make sense if you could select which tank the sinks and shower drain into. Then you could optimize tank capacities. Obviously the toilet would always go into the black tank. That would be a hard mod however, it would need a pretty robust valve, then I am not sure how it would affect the trap.

FYI, we are a family of six and are very active, I try to gt everyone out biking, hiking, climbing, etc. whenever we are out. So we need showers, we can get them down to 3-4 gallons of water per shower, I don't think 2.
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Old 08-10-2015, 02:46 PM   #28
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Another interesting thread since we never intend to use the black tank on a "new" trailer and therefore would like an effective method of combining tanks. Ideally, we only require a grey tank and would like that to be as large as possible. I'm ok with a plumbing mod that can be reversed so we never have to transfer/bail water between tanks. Not liking options I've read so far. There must be a better DIY plumbing solution unless perhaps AS can do something for us within the initial order (ideal). Composting toilet already waiting.
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