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Old 04-07-2012, 12:50 PM   #1
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Sewer question - 1968 Airstream

Hi,

I have a 1968 Overlander 26' and have always traveled to places with full hookups. Next month we are going to a state park that does not have sewer hookups. Today I was checking things out with my AS...I hooked up a water source, closed the sewer outlet valve and went inside and turned on the water in the kitchen sink. To my surprise there was water coming from the sewer outlet valve even though I closed outlet door. I then did the same test with the toilet and the water did not come out the sewer outlet. Is this proper that sink water bypasses the closed sewer door? Is it OK to allow "gray water" to go to the ground. What am I missing here?

Thanks.

Pete
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:21 PM   #2
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The black tank has a valve that you open to release the black sewage. There is no valve to keep the grey in. A cap is available to cap off the sewer exit. Get one that has a garden hose fitting in it so that you can direct the grey water to ground away from your rig or to a 'blue boy'. Some parks prohibit dumping grey on to the ground so buy a 'blue boy'.

Neil
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:34 PM   #3
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Sewer question - 1968 Airstream

Greetings Pete!

Quote:
Originally Posted by goswick View Post
Hi,

I have a 1968 Overlander 26' and have always traveled to places with full hookups. Next month we are going to a state park that does not have sewer hookups. Today I was checking things out with my AS...I hooked up a water source, closed the sewer outlet valve and went inside and turned on the water in the kitchen sink. To my surprise there was water coming from the sewer outlet valve even though I closed outlet door. I then did the same test with the toilet and the water did not come out the sewer outlet. Is this proper that sink water bypasses the closed sewer door? Is it OK to allow "gray water" to go to the ground. What am I missing here?

Thanks.

Pete

I am not certain where Airstream was locating the blackwater tank in 1968, but in 1964, the tank was located before floor level so it is possible to collect both graywater (washwater) and blackwater in the blackwater tank with a few caveats:
  • First, you must consider that your total wastewater capacity when utilizing this plan is likely to be no more than 12 or 13 gallons (my '64 has 12 gallons capacity and I doubt that the capacity changed much between '64 and '68).
  • A solid dump valve cap must be utilized or a dump valve cap may be utilized with a hose adapter that has been blocked off.
    • The dump valve cap is fitted to the outlet.
    • The dump valve is opened.
    • The opened dump valve with closed cap force the graywater to drain into the blackwater tank.
  • The waste level in the the blackwater tank that is now collecting both graywater (washwater) and blackwater must be watched very carefully as if it isn't, you will know when the tank is over-filled as the waste will back up into your bathtub/shower.
Utilizing a blue-boy tote tank is simpler in the long-run as you must be prepared to deal with approximately a gallon of the mixed wastewater when it comes time to dump the holding tank when this technique to collect grawater is employed (the dump valve must be closed prior to dumping, but when the dump valve cap is removed, there will be just short of a gallon of wastewater trapped between the dump valve and the cap itself.

Utilizing a tote tank for collecting graywater (washwater) isn't a huge inconvenience, particularly if you have a larger model with wheels and a towing lever. The small 5-gallon variety works well for me when I am traveling solo as it can be emptied once a day and easy to carry.

Good luck with your adventure!

Kevin

P.S.: If your blackwater tank is mounted on top of the floor below your toilet, the above tecnique will not work . . . it works only with those Vintage Airstream models having a below-the-floor blackwater tank.
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:55 PM   #4
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You do need to be prepared for disposing of your grey water by some means other than dumping on the ground...there are very few campgrounds these days that allow dumping of grey water onto the ground. A common way is the use of a Blue Boy tank which comes in various capacities... Large capacity Blue Boys are tempting but remember that water is heavy — about 8lbs/gal — so you need to be able to manage not only the volume, but the weight. On a recent trip with friends, they needed to dump their grey water, but neither they nor we have a Blue Boy. But they did have a couple of 7-gal fresh water jugs (which happen to be blue)... They decided to "sacrifice" one of them as their "Blue Boy" for this and future such events...they marked it clearly on the cap and side of the jug, as to not get it confused with the jug used for fresh water. They also had a cap for the drain valve with a garden hose connection so it worked great. We just used a grey water hose and let gravity fill the 7-gal container...then shleped it to the pit toilet in the campground to dispose of. 7 gals is a manageable weight, too. When we first started Airstreaming we wondered if we should buy a Blue Boy, but we have never done it, mainly because they take up so much precious room in our truck bed. So far we haven't needed one...but the designation of a water jug to be used for this purpose seems like an easy and prudent solution....they are not expensive, and are a manageable size.
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Old 04-07-2012, 04:08 PM   #5
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When I dry camped in my SOB, I kept 2 5gallon buckets inside. Showers, washing dishes filled up gray water tank FAST! I had the hose adapter on waste outlet and old water hose cut to about 2 feet in length. When gray water started getting full, would fill both 5 gallon buckets (handles included) schlep them both to dump station. Much cheaper than blue boy, but I was a 'poor' camper then. Airstream motorhome has LOTS more capacity, something I haven't had to worry about since purchase, lol
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Old 04-07-2012, 04:36 PM   #6
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I prefer small blue tanks, 5 or 10 gallon which can be lifted into the tow vehicle and taken to a suitable disposal point.

The large ones must be towed because of their weight. Try towing one a mile up the beach, or 10 miles to the nearest dump station on a hiway.

All the time I see people secure everything, drive to a dump station and then go back to the same site and set up again. It is easier to deal with small quantities more often
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:03 PM   #7
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If you are using full hookups in a campground, you should not leave your black water tank open to the sewer all the time. You should leave it closed unless you need to dump your tank. Otherwise you will get sewer gasses back into your trailer. I would not leave grey water hooked up and open either - same issue. We occasionally use our Blue Boy if we're dry camped for more than a couple of days. I would never want to dump the black tank into it although I know people do....

Kay
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:05 PM   #8
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Thanks all....

...I continue to learn the "ins and outs" of my Airstream.

Pete
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minno View Post
If you are using full hookups in a campground, you should not leave your black water tank open to the sewer all the time. You should leave it closed unless you need to dump your tank. Otherwise you will get sewer gasses back into your trailer. I would not leave grey water hooked up and open either - same issue. We occasionally use our Blue Boy if we're dry camped for more than a couple of days. I would never want to dump the black tank into it although I know people do....

Kay
Not so much 'sewer gasses' issue when leaving the black tank valve open. More like 'pyramiding' issue. Think about it, the fluids will drain, the solids pyramid.....
Best to leave both valves closed with full-hookups, drain when needed. Flush REALLY good when you're leaving.
Thanks, Derek
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