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Old 12-05-2013, 07:46 AM   #1
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Newbie question about tanks--in general

I am completely new to campers and camping (or is it glamping?). I'm little confused about tank language as I undertake a '63 GT refit.

So I gather black is poo, gray is dishwater (and everything not-poo), and then there's fresh water. But I also notice while shopping for tanks, that black tanks are generally....black. And freshwater is white. Is there a logic to this---different material required for the service, for ex?---or is this just convention? I'm wondering whether tanks listed as freshwater can be used as grey, or vice-versa (assuming they are virgin of course!). I'm also wondering why black is kept separate from gray----why wouldn't I want a large combined black/gray tank?

And how do I know about levels in each?

Please have pity on my ignorance . Any consultation would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:03 AM   #2
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So I gather black is poo, gray is dishwater (and everything not-poo), and then there's fresh water. But I also notice while shopping for tanks, that black tanks are generally....black. And freshwater is white. Is there a logic to this---different material required for the service, for ex?---or is this just convention?
Black-colored tanks are made of ABS plastic. White-colored tanks are made of food-grade polyethylene. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has specific requirements for plastic that is meant to come into contact with food and liquids for human consumption; items meeting those requirements are called "food-grade." ABS is not food-grade, but is perfectly fine for contact with waste products.
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I'm wondering whether tanks listed as freshwater can be used as grey, or vice-versa (assuming they are virgin of course!).
You can use food-grade plastics for waste tanks, but you cannot use non-food-grade plastics for your freshwater tank.
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I'm also wondering why black is kept separate from gray----why wouldn't I want a large combined black/gray tank?
Some campgrounds allow graywater to be dumped directly on the ground, especially if they're experiencing drought conditions. Blackwater is NEVER allowed to be dumped directly onto the ground, but only into an appropriate waste receptacle (dump station, pit latrine in a boondocking area, whatever).

A combined black/gray tank is by definition a blackwater tank. Blackwater is any water containing bodily wastes from humans or animals, no matter how much or how little. If you only have one tank, and it receives both blackwater from the toilet and graywater from everything else, it's still just a blackwater tank, and you're limited to disposing of the waste only into an appropriate receptacle. It's a sanitation issue, to prevent the spread of disease.

Side noteó If you have a child or pet that pees in the shower, technically your graywater tank containing the pee has just become another blackwater tank due to the presence of bodily waste, but most people ignore that technicality and still treat it as graywater. Same is true if you cut yourself while cooking, and hold your bloody hand under the faucet to clean the wound; blood in the wastewater makes it blackwater, but most people ignore that and still treat it as graywater.
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:55 AM   #3
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ProT, excellent post. Jim
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:46 PM   #4
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Yes, excellent response. Thank you, Protagonist. That clears it up. Where can I learn more about making my own fittings/connections to these tanks?
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:58 PM   #5
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Yes, excellent response. Thank you, Protagonist. That clears it up. Where can I learn more about making my own fittings/connections to these tanks?
Right here. Well, actually in a new thread in the Plumbing sub-forum. I can't answer those questions, but there ought to be AirForums members here who have done it and can steer you straight.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:08 PM   #6
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A lot of confusion comes from vintage trailers like yours coming with no grey tank - the water would just drain out on the ground unless the outlet was capped, then it would back up into the pipes. Grey tanks were not standard until 1973 (I think). Since allowing greywater to drain on the ground is no longer allowed in most places, we have an external tank ('blue boy' tote) which we hook up to catch the grey water, and then dump it at the dump station when we empty the black tank. If you're doing a retro-fit, adding a grey tank would be a much better solution. I know right where I want to put mine, if I ever get around to it
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:18 PM   #7
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I know right where I want to put mine, if I ever get around to it
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Old 12-14-2013, 09:55 AM   #8
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Some older models only had one waste water tank but it filled up too fast. The solution was separate gray and black tanks.
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