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Old 02-02-2015, 02:08 PM   #1
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Black tanks. How often to... dump.

Does anyone have a good rule of thumb for a good amount of time that's necessary (both minimum and maximums) in between tank dumps? We're going to be using our new "ship" for a couple days, on and off for the next couple weeks and I doubt producing enough... black water... to merit a dump based on volume and capacity. Should we dump regardless? Do people usually dump and flush after each trip?

I ordered a Sewer Solution and plan to use it, plus I have the tank flush hookup as well. Obviously I'd like to mess with this as seldom as often though!

I guess I'm looking for a "dump your black tank when it reaches 50 out of 60 gallons or every X days, whichever comes first."

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-02-2015, 02:24 PM   #2
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Always try to dump it when it is near full if using a slinky - you get the maximum, gravity-assisted dump that way.

With the Sewer Solution, it really doesn't matter - but keep in mind that if you are using it at the only dump station in a campground on say, Sunday morning, with a line behind you, you will not be popular as the SS is a lot slower than a slinky.

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Old 02-02-2015, 07:45 PM   #3
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Dump when full and if not full, then fill with water then dump. The more dilute and fuller the tank, the better off you will be. Also if there is a mountain of paper below the toilet opening, best to fill the bowl first then flush to get the maximum push. We try not to do#2 in the toilet very often and have very few problems as a result.

We use the camp ground toilets unless very dirty.

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Old 02-02-2015, 08:09 PM   #4
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In cold weather I might go a week or more between black tank dumps, adding water just prior to dumping. In hot weather I dump when the contents of the tank starts to get "ripe", about 4 to 6 days, adding water just prior to dumping. Your nose will tell you when it's time to dump before the tank gets full.

I do not use additives in the waste tanks. I've never found anything that really masks the smell. I think additives are a waste of money and probably are harmful to septic systems (and maybe the environment).
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Old 02-02-2015, 08:17 PM   #5
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We have been doing this Airstreaming thing for the past nine years now. We have spent about 45% of our time in the Airstream during that period. Our black tank usually lasts us about five days on the road. We rarely use other than Lucy's facilities. We dump the black tank whenever it needs it. We try to run it to pretty much full when possible. Sometimes, dumping opportunities take precedence. Lucy never goes into long term storage. About the longest that she ever spends at home is a month or so. If she arrives home with a quarter or half black tank, she just stays that way. We even use the black tank occasionally when at home. The more that black tank is used, the better it works.

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Old 02-02-2015, 08:55 PM   #6
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One of the reasons I much prefer traveling with my Airstream than without is not ever having to use a public restroom. My 45 gallon black tank lasts a week with the two of us on board.

It always seems to be the gray tank that fills first anyway...

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Old 02-02-2015, 09:01 PM   #7
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Yup. Black tank works best with more water than solids. I usually run tank washer for a fair amount of time, then pump out with sewer solution about once a week or so. Lots of water in the tank helps clear it out and controls odor better. I do use additives to break up solids better.

I use a transparent extension with the sewer solution to observe cleanliness and flush more if needed. It also makes it easy to attach as my dump connection is tight between the valve bodies.

Once it runs clear I slide the respective dump valve shut and let the sewer solution jet spray the valve body clean and flush the hose before disconnecting. I use an extra hose with a Wye fitting with valves and short hoses to control water flow to sewer solution and tank flusher. Makes it easy to handle.


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Old 02-02-2015, 09:31 PM   #8
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Also.. depends on your, ahem.. "output". You will know pretty quick what your 'limit' is.

Water is your friend... I try to use the 'black wash tank' when dumping... it helps 'stir' thing up... at least in our experiences.

We can 'go' about 4 days on average....use plenty of water during flush actions.. Even when "set up".. I don't open the black tank dump valve.. I let it 'load up' When ready.. I hook up the 'black tank wash', turn on the water... then pull the valve..

When GrandKritters are with us, things 'move' a bit quicker...
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:45 AM   #9
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Looks like I'm the outlier...I dump my black tank after each trip, and keep it empty, especially during travel. I keep some (about 3 gallons) clean (at least it is when I add it) water in it for the many reasons we all know. It works for me, and keeps a load off the wheels. jon
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:50 PM   #10
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Thanks all! One of the reasons I ask is because my home sewer clean out is about 30 feet away from as close as I can get to it. I also have no clue where else I could dump locally so I guess we'll just make darn sure we dump before departure from the campground. My Sewer Solution just came in the mail today so that should help with the more frequent flushes.
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Old 02-03-2015, 01:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaseav View Post
Thanks all! One of the reasons I ask is because my home sewer clean out is about 30 feet away from as close as I can get to it. I also have no clue where else I could dump locally so I guess we'll just make darn sure we dump before departure from the campground. My Sewer Solution just came in the mail today so that should help with the more frequent flushes.
If you have a Sewer Solution and are only 30 from your sewer clean-out at home, you've got your own private RV dump. You can supplement your Sewer Solution hose with one inch PVC. I dump Lucy at home regularly and my clean-out is about 50 feet from Lucy.

Brian
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Old 02-03-2015, 02:07 PM   #12
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Care to share a picture? You're not using 40ft of PVC are you?
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Old 02-04-2015, 11:23 AM   #13
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Care to share a picture? You're not using 40ft of PVC are you?

I will get you o photo of my set up at the house as soon as the rain stops here. I don't have it set up to dump right now. I will have to get it set up for a photo shoot.

As to your question about using 40' of PVC in the Sewer Solution hook-up, I am probably using about that much here at the house. I start off with two 10' lengths of the green Sewer Solution hose to hook up to Lucy and run under the trailler. From that point, I hook to about 40' of PVC that terminates and dumps into my sewer clean-out with the rubber right angle Sewer Solution fixture.

We have a similar dump situation at SuEllyn's Dad's house in Jacksonville, except we are use over 100' of PVC in this set-up and are dumping up hill. There is about a two foot grade increase between the trailer and the sewer clean-out at the back of the house. This set up starts at the trailer with two lengths of Sewer Solution hose hooking to 100' of PVC which then hooks to another section of flexible Sewer Solution hose to make a 90 degree turn at the corner of the house. Then it goes back to PVC for another 20' to the sewer clean-out. We have been using this set-up regularly for the past eight years and it works very well.

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Old 02-04-2015, 11:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
Always try to dump it when it is near full if using a slinky - you get the maximum, gravity-assisted dump that way.

With the Sewer Solution, it really doesn't matter - but keep in mind that if you are using it at the only dump station in a campground on say, Sunday morning, with a line behind you, you will not be popular as the SS is a lot slower than a slinky.

Mike
Instead of waiting in line to use a campground dump station, I pull into a just vacated full hookup site and dump.

No park employee has ever stopped me.
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