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Old 08-01-2015, 07:09 PM   #1
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Black water tank full or empty?

If I am basically full-timing it in my trailer, but decide later on to house-sit for a couple weeks (or months), is it better to keep the blackwater tank full of water, or to completely empty it? Mostly want to avoid creating smells and other problems in between uses.

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Old 08-01-2015, 07:38 PM   #2
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Empty, rinse till there's no solids or paper, drain it as dry = no smell

I use a clear coupling so I can see what's coming out.

I leave mine for months at a time like this. I have not used any chemicals or deodorants, for the last several years. No problem with odors.

Leaving the exhaust fans running when flushing will draw odor out of the tank, NOT pleasant!

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Old 08-01-2015, 07:50 PM   #3
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I add 1 cup each of bleach, dish soap and liguid Calgon to two quarts water after emptying and flushing. Been doing this as an experiment this summer. So far so good. No nasty smells to report. It is called "The Geo Method". https://sites.google.com/site/cbruni/
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:19 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by AWCHIEF View Post
I add 1 cup each of bleach, dish soap and liguid Calgon to two quarts water after emptying and flushing. Been doing this as an experiment this summer. So far so good. No nasty smells to report. It is called "The Geo Method". https://sites.google.com/site/cbruni/
I think I'll try the Calgon and soap. I can see straight down into the black tank through the toilet in both of my trailers. The Safari's tank has no buildup. The Excella has a layer of buildup that the flushing system will not move, and I've been having some problems with the dump valve too. Hopefully the soap and Calgon will take care of this.
Since I usually dump into septic systems that I do not want to harm, not into public sewer systems, I'll skip the bleach.
Thanks for the info!
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:29 AM   #5
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Black water tank full or empty?

I've a few places that were on septic systems. A couple of those weren't so happy so I used Rid-X and things improved. Rid-X also has a product for RVs. Anyone use it?

http://www.rid-x.com/faq.shtml
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:33 AM   #6
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I would omit the bleach also. It is hard on plastic and rubber seals.
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Old 08-02-2015, 12:14 PM   #7
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I would thoroughly flush the black tank, then add some Dawn and Calgon and fill it about 1/4 full to keep the seals moist and let the Dawn & Calgon do their thing. If you have buildup that the flushing can't get, use Rid-X or something similar. You don't need to look for an RV-specific septic treatment as all such products will be safe on the plastic parts in your black tank setup. Make sure you maintain water in the toilet bowl (add as needed.) If you do the above and have a smell issue, you probably have a problem with your vent stack or a check valve which would be worth pursuing. If either of these items is not working properly, you are going to have odor issues when you move back in and start living in the trailer.

Enjoy the long hot showers in your S&B gig!
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Old 08-02-2015, 12:24 PM   #8
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I've a few places that were on septic systems. A couple of those weren't so happy so I used Rid-X and things improved. Rid-X also has a product for RVs. Anyone use it?

RID-X® Septic System Treatment Frequently Asked Questions | RID-X®
In my Excella with tank buildup, for two the last two winter seasons, I used Rid-x granular type hoping to break it up. Did not work. I think the problem is that it sits in the tank only a few days to a week. Maybe that is not long enough time for the enzymes to do their thing.
I think the granular type is more useful in an in-ground septic system. I've seen the RV liquid type at wallyworld, but no experience with it.
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Old 08-02-2015, 12:45 PM   #9
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One thing to keep in mind that we do not have septic tanks in our trailers. We have holding tanks designed for short term use. Rid-X and other enzyme based products are designed for long term use, months and years. People add bleach to their fresh water tanks all time, that water ends up in the gray and black water tanks. I have never heard of it ever doing any harm.
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Old 08-02-2015, 01:10 PM   #10
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Rid-X makes an RV specific product. From their website;

RID-X RV Toilet Treatment (Liquid)
Rid-X RV Toilet Treatment is an easy-to-use liquid formula with a powerful citrus fragrance that offsets the odor an untreated toilet can give off in a confined space. It contains fast-acting enzymes and patented bacteria that are scientifically proven to break down waste and tissue.

Rid-X RV Toilet Treatment is safe for RVs, portable toilets, and portable marine toilets. So, stock up before your next trip! And always remember to use Rid-X RV Toilet Treatment once a week to help guarantee a pleasant trip!

Available in 24oz and 48oz.


There was a similar product available in the 90s, I used it in the RV I lived in full time for three years. It worked great, never any build up - but then I also never completely emptied the black tank except for inspection.

http://www.rid-x.com/septic-tank-system-products.shtml
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Old 08-02-2015, 01:26 PM   #11
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I have often filled my black and grey tanks for 1-2 weeks at a time while in storage with a large amount of black tank digester/ deodorizer to throughly sanatize the system. Never had any issues, seems to work well. I use Blue Power products.
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Old 08-02-2015, 01:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AWCHIEF View Post
One thing to keep in mind that we do not have septic tanks in our trailers. We have holding tanks designed for short term use. Rid-X and other enzyme based products are designed for long term use, months and years. People add bleach to their fresh water tanks all time, that water ends up in the gray and black water tanks. I have never heard of it ever doing any harm.
Good Points. I used regular RID-X with no problems, and it worked OK - because I'm ONE person using the system AND I still work so I certainly use the facilities at work. I can literally go 2 weeks or longer without dumping. If you're leaving the trailer unused for a month, why not try it? I'd just check the active ingredients in both the septic tank formula and in the RV formula - and then probably flip a coin. Lots of RV specific stuff is just regular stuff marked up. Tour a TP factory in and see how many different brands pop off of the same assembly line, ditto for appliances, etc. (You'll lose a lot of brand loyalty.)
------------------
White water hijack

I just shocked my white tank again after cleaning out the filter in front of the water pump - Algae again. Used a FULL cup of bleach AND a brand new water hose that I ran the bleach solution through into the tank. To get the solution through the hose I used a big detergent bottle with a squirter lid and just took enough of the hose out of it's packing coil to hook to the Airstream.

In the hot humid Tidewater are algae grows everywhere so the spores are everywhere. Ran the pump to put bleach water through every pipe and spigot in the Airstream. Going to check the filter again tonight before I consider this job done. Might have to clean it 2-3 times The pump might have sucked IN some more crud from the water inlet. Further I'm not going to empty and refill the white water until I go on my next trip, AND when I refill it I'll use CITY water not campground well water.

Had a BFO (blinding flash of the obvious) about where this crud started. I put the in-line filter next to the spigot, then ran the 25 foot hose up to the Airstream. the hose is coiled and sits in the full sun half the day. Guess what the inside of that hose looks like - as green as the grass in Ireland! The inline filter removes the chlorine? from the campground's water supply and there will always be some tiny amount of contamination just from hooking and unhooking the hose. Seriously - maybe the inline filter should go at the trailer end, and keeping the hose out of the sun - would it help?
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