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Old 09-11-2006, 11:27 AM   #1
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Controlling Black Tank odor

Hi all,
Went looking at previous posts for an answer and did not find one....
I am currnetly full timing in my 06 Classic 31.
My trailer closed up due to the heat and the A/C on. I am using one packet of odorlos in the black tank after each dumping and closing the gate.

I am still getting stinky odor out of the tank when I flush. It is unlikely my vent is clogged. Any suggestions?

Thanks,
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Old 09-11-2006, 11:42 AM   #2
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Cut down on the Mexican food?


Ok, seriously...has it always been this way, or is it something new?

I'd check the vent, anyway. I think thats about the only thing you can do. Air is going to escape via the path of least resistance.
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Old 09-11-2006, 11:56 AM   #3
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Another possible cause of odor that will not be solved by chemicals because they do not reach is the black plastic base/flange of your toilet that is below the floor. From time to time, a good scrubbng with a small toilet brush/johnny mop and soapy water will remove any 'build-up' that occurs between the bowl and the tank - especially the underside of that flange.

Also, don't forget to rinse the tank with the built in sprayer (attach garden hose to outside of trailer) to remove any 'stubborn deposits'. It is sometimes necessary to rinse and dump the tank a couple of times to get all of the 'stuff' out of the tank. When rinsing, keep the valve CLOSED to partially fill the tank as it dumps much more efficiently when it is full.

Good luck - and don't forget to wear rubber gloves - sewer hoses can leak!

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Old 09-11-2006, 12:12 PM   #4
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Turn off your vent fan.

If you are running a vent fan when flushing, turn it off. The fan will suck air from where ever it can get it. I know on my 1966 Safari and Overlander if I am running one of the vents, you will feel air coming from under the frig.. If I flush the toilet, that vent(black tank air vent) becomes a source of air. It will back feed from the outside, down the pipe, through the tank, up the toilet and into your trailer.


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Old 09-11-2006, 12:20 PM   #5
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If it's not Mexican food, are you eating a lot of cabbage?

You might try a different tank chemical. I forget the name of the one we use but it is the orange powder in the little plastic pouches. I know that if I hold the flush valve open for a long time, i.e. to rinse out the skid marks or when cleaning the bowl I can get a whiff of "the rose garden". I planned to try another brand but my wife beat me to Wal-Mart and got two bags of the orange stuff, so I may not get to try another brand for a while.

I second the flush system and do check your vent. You might try dumping the tank one evening and fill it 1/2 to 3/4 full with water and pour in a half gallon or so of bleach and let it soak over night. It will disenfect the tank and by morning the bleach should have evaporated out through the vent and you will be just dumping water with maybe a slightly higher chlorine content than the wash water at the laundry mat.

Camping World also sells a vent top attachment that rotates with the wind to help draw out the gases for $17.99 for the Cyclone (below left) or $26.99 for the RV 360 (below right). You might try that if you think it will help. Both are supposed to work while parked or moving down the road.
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Old 09-11-2006, 03:29 PM   #6
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Here's another possibility from 10-Minute Tech volume 3 - a reader wrote in that he had wasps that built a nest in his vent causing the same aromatic problem that you are describing. The nest completely blocked the vent. He added a little screening around the vent, after removing the nest, to prevent future building.
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Old 09-11-2006, 04:15 PM   #7
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Now I got a question. I tried to start a new thread but the system is down and I don't want to forget to post later.

I have avoided products that have formaldehyde in them. Why have I done this? I was told to, but no one told me why I should other than "Its bad for the environment". Why is it bad for the environment? The product marketed by Thetford, the maker of our Airstream potties, has formaldehyde in their branded product. So anyone know what's the deal? I know it's not a natural element and it is a chemical, but what does it do that is so bad. When I looked on Camping World's website, half the products they sell has formaldehyde in them.
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Old 09-11-2006, 06:16 PM   #8
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If you go up on the roof with a hose and put it down the vent pipe. Run some water for a while it should rule out a blocked vent pipe.
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Old 09-11-2006, 06:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
I have avoided products that have formaldehyde in them. Why have I done this? I was told to, but no one told me why I should other than "Its bad for the environment". Why is it bad for the environment? ...
It's because formaldehyde murders the bacteria that make it possible for parks, campgrounds, and homeowners to have septic systems.

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Old 09-11-2006, 06:31 PM   #10
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Almost all of those waste treatment products have formaldehyde in them.
Is that good or bad?
What is the concentration?
How long does it take to neutralize and under what conditions?
What are the alternatives?
What are the unintended negative consequences of each product?
I don’t pretend to know the answers but I know the following:

A poison in a small does is medicine, and a medicine in a large dose is a poison. Modern medicines are generally designed to poison a microbe that is harming or poisoning us with some waste product. The value of formaldehyde in the right concentration is that it is more poisonous to the microbe than it is to us.
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Old 09-11-2006, 06:44 PM   #11
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To help clean the tank fill it up about 1/4 of the way with water and dump in a bag or two of ice. Then drive around and let the ice bang around in the tank. It will knock loose stuff and scrub the tank. I usually do it once a year before I store it. Something I learned from my Grandparents.
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Old 09-11-2006, 07:25 PM   #12
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Let me give you 13years of experience. Start with the chemical first, there's a lot of crap (excuse the pun) out there. Powder in a packet doesn't last in 90 degree plus weather and neither do Wall Mart specials. Go to a quality supplier and purchase what I have found to be the best in all around conditions. Enviro-chem in the 5 quart container, the best buy by far for performance. 2 people, 5day cycle no matter what the outside temp. Don't forget to start with at least a gallon of water as a base, 4 plus ounces of liquid chemical and all should be fine. In five days unless you dump some sink water in the black tank (to extend the capacity of the grey) you'll never even get the black tank to half full. Flush with the tank flusher (next to the fresh water intake on the classic) every 2nd to 3rd dump and start over again. The ice cubes are a great way to scrub the sides and sensor.

The bathroom fan shouldn't make a difference but it's personal choice. You might be getting some odor from your sinks. Even tho ther'e trapped it's not a bad idea to drop 4 plus ounces in the gray tank with a couple of gallons of water before departing to another location. You would be surprised how much grease and gook you accumulate in the gray tank. Done right and using the bathroom should be a relaxing enjoyable venture!
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Old 09-12-2006, 09:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JStanley
Almost all of those waste treatment products have formaldehyde in them.
Is that good or bad?
bad
Quote:
Originally Posted by JStanley
What is the concentration?
any concentration high enough to do the intended job (eliminate odor) by this particular method (killing all bacteria) is by definition, bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JStanley
How long does it take to neutralize and under what conditions?
it doesn't, and that's the whole point with this particular substance
Quote:
Originally Posted by JStanley
What are the alternatives?
bacteria or enzymatic treatments...or nothing at all, because everything you "need" to break down this waste is already in there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JStanley
What are the unintended negative consequences of each product?
they render the most biodegradeable substance known to man non-biodegradeable, as well as anything else they come into contact with, such as other waste treatment systems (municipal sewer, or private septic).

Quote:
Originally Posted by JStanley
I donít pretend to know the answers but I know the following:

A poison in a small does is medicine, and a medicine in a large dose is a poison. Modern medicines are generally designed to poison a microbe that is harming or poisoning us with some waste product.
While the main point is true, there's alot more to "medicine" than anitbiotics. And in this particular case, the "cure" is far worse than the disease. we're talking about environmental harm for the sake of convenience.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JStanley
The value of formaldehyde in the right concentration is that it is more poisonous to the microbe than it is to us.
there is no "right" concentration, as it will bio-accumulate because it doesn't break down in the environment. it just collects.
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Old 09-12-2006, 10:16 AM   #14
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At the risk of being accused of ‘Highjacking’ this thread from the initial questions on tank odor to Formaldehyde, allow me to recommend inquiring minds that an overview of Formaldehyde can be found by Googling the Wikipedia site.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formaldehyde

The topic contains many interesting factoids. Such as:

It comes from the incomplete combustion of carbon containing materials.
It’s produced as a metabolic byproduct in most organisms, including humans.
Formaldehyde is readily oxidized by atmospheric oxygen to form formic acid.

But don’t let those facts scare you. After reading the section on ‘Health effects’ you should be afraid, maybe very afraid. It’s ubiquitous and we have to live with it, and in the end they use it for embalming to disinfect and preserve what is left of us.
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