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Old 05-01-2015, 11:20 AM   #15
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Black Flush

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Originally Posted by idroba View Post
I am going to be contrary here, but why all the obsession about flushing the black water tank? You are never going to make it clean anyway. The only time I bother to flush the black water tank is when I am winterizing, just to get any possible solids out for a long storage period.
I'm with idroba, I only flush the backwater when it's convenient (full hook up, lots of time before departure). It's not needed all the time. On long boondock stays (no hookups) I use a dish sink wash tub and pour the dirty dishwater in the toilet mostly and leave the gray for the shower and bath sink drains. Filling the black tank with dishwater helps push everything out at the dump station. Not sure but I figure the soap may have some action that keeps stuff from sticking to the walls and itself. Just a theory.

Re pathogens and microbes, since the pipes from both tanks are connected at the slinky connector, I figure that the gray tank is always vulnerable from stuff in the black. I doubt the valves stop tiny organisms from going where they want. - Brad
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:27 AM   #16
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I doubt the valves stop tiny organisms from going where they want.
If the valves block the movement of water they block the movement of water-borne pathogens.
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:32 AM   #17
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If it's a decent dump area with a concrete pad that is sloped I will just disconnect the slinky and shoot the fresh water from the dump station back up the discharge pipe into the tanks and let that sludge just come back out and then wash it all down the drain.
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:47 AM   #18
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Consider this: Black water contains human bodily fluids. Gray water does not.

On a ship with an infirmary, such a cruise liner, ALL water from the infirmary is considered black water, even the water from sinks, because the water may contain human blood. In your trailer, if you cut yourself and wash the cut in the sink, your gray tank contents should be considered black water because of the blood in the water. If your four-year-old grandkid pees in the shower, your gray tank now contains black water because of the urine that went down the shower drain.

By the same token, as soon as you cross-connect the black and gray tanks to give your black tank a gray-water rinse, you no longer have any gray water, you have two black water tanks, because it becomes possible for human pathogens to migrate from the black tank to the gray tank.

I'm not telling anyone that you can't use gray water to flush your black tank. But if you do, then you should use fresh water to fill and flush your gray tank afterwards to get rid of any possible cross-contamination.

Sorry....this is bogus in my book. In my house all the gray water and the black water exits the house in the same pipe and ends up in the same treatment plant. It is doubtful that pathogens can survive the RV sewage and chemicals anyway....and they are my pathogens! Nobody else is going to be licking my black nor gray tanks or fittings.

Since both tanks exit a common port and hose, any migration is going to happen anyway, albeit a bit slower. IMO, and I am not trying to be challenging or nasty, but this is much ado about nothing.
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Old 05-01-2015, 12:41 PM   #19
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Between campsites, I'll leave the black tank about a quarter full and drop in a couple of those dishwasher packets, the ones that like eatin' food particles and keep you glasses and silverware "spotless". By the time I arrive at the next campsite and hookup the trailer, I have a nicely agitated black tank ready to dump. I'll fill the tank partially with water to give it a quick rinse.

Worked splendidly in the MoHo as well as in the Airstream.
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Old 05-01-2015, 12:54 PM   #20
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Sorry....this is bogus in my book. In my house all the gray water and the black water exits the house in the same pipe and ends up in the same treatment plant.
Not bogus. Once it enters a septic system or a municipal sewer, it's all black water. Whether it's from your home or from your trailer at a dump station. The comparison is spurious.

In a septic system the discharge is underground— where Mother Nature can filter out the pathogens before the water reenters the ecosystem. And it's one reason why water from a septic system containing human waste is not supposed to be used to irrigate garden plants grown for human consumption; Mother Nature's filters aren't perfect. In a municipal sewer system, it's all treated to kill pathogens before being released above-ground where it can reenter the ecosystem.

The only time the gray-water vs. black-water issue makes any difference at all is if you camp someplace where you're allowed to discharge gray-water onto the ground. If you always camp with full hookups, or always dump your gray-water into a dump station along with your black-water, then you're right; it doesn't matter if you cross-contaminate your gray tank.

Above-ground discharge of water containing any human waste is a health hazard. Insects that breed in water— such as mosquitoes— can be infected with stuff that's in the water, that they can transmit to you from someone else's waste. Or to others from your waste. We all carry pathogens that we've developed immunity toward, but not everyone has exactly the same immunities to the same pathogens. So if you EVER discharge gray-water onto the ground, PLEASE don't use any of the techniques listed in this thread to use gray-water to flush your black tank. If you NEVER discharge gray-water onto the ground, then go right ahead and use gray water to flush your black tank because you'l do no harm; the campground's sewer or septic system will take care of the problem for you.
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Old 05-01-2015, 01:02 PM   #21
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Angry Dump Station - Black Water Tank Flushing

The Potable Water Fill Station should never used to directly connect to a sewer line as established in all plumbing codes. Flushing Black Water Tanks with a water hose directly connected from the faucet to the tank is a cross connection that is not permitted. The loss of water pressure at the time flushing will result in sewerage back-flowing into the potable water supply.

We know some R/V's are set up like this, however, one must realize the sewer line is being directly connected to the sewer line! Yes some hose bibs have hose bib vacuum breakers -- this is not recognized in this instance as backflow protection.
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Old 05-01-2015, 01:11 PM   #22
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Yes some hose bibs have hose bib vacuum breakers -- this is not recognized in this instance as backflow protection.
You are correct; a vacuum breaker is not backflow prevention; it allows water to flow in either direction and only prevents a siphon. A check valve is backflow prevention; water can only flow through in one direction. My Interstate's black tank flush has a check valve; as reported by a fellow owner here on the Forums who discovered that HIS Interstate's check valve was installed backwards!
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Old 05-01-2015, 01:19 PM   #23
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My prev. I stated my AS was 1976 yrs. old what I meant is I pur. in 1976 so 39 yrs. old. But nit pickers will find fault w/every thing.
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Old 05-01-2015, 01:25 PM   #24
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Also, I never put dishwasher packs or dish/hand soap from the sink transferred to the black tank because some soaps can kill bacteria and enzymes that are supposed to be in your black tank and are good for the system to break down the waste. You could do this if you are sure that the soap you are using is free of all chemicals that can be harmful to your black tank.
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Old 05-01-2015, 01:31 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
Not bogus. Once it enters a septic system or a municipal sewer, it's all black water. Whether it's from your home or from your trailer at a dump station. The comparison is spurious.

In a septic system the discharge is underground— where Mother Nature can filter out the pathogens before the water reenters the ecosystem. And it's one reason why water from a septic system containing human waste is not supposed to be used to irrigate garden plants grown for human consumption; Mother Nature's filters aren't perfect. In a municipal sewer system, it's all treated to kill pathogens before being released above-ground where it can reenter the ecosystem.

The only time the gray-water vs. black-water issue makes any difference at all is if you camp someplace where you're allowed to discharge gray-water onto the ground. If you always camp with full hookups, or always dump your gray-water into a dump station along with your black-water, then you're right; it doesn't matter if you cross-contaminate your gray tank.

Above-ground discharge of water containing any human waste is a health hazard. Insects that breed in water— such as mosquitoes— can be infected with stuff that's in the water, that they can transmit to you from someone else's waste. Or to others from your waste. We all carry pathogens that we've developed immunity toward, but not everyone has exactly the same immunities to the same pathogens. So if you EVER discharge gray-water onto the ground, PLEASE don't use any of the techniques listed in this thread to use gray-water to flush your black tank. If you NEVER discharge gray-water onto the ground, then go right ahead and use gray water to flush your black tank because you'l do no harm; the campground's sewer or septic system will take care of the problem for you.
Give me a break! I know all the issues at hand and how systems and biology works. Human waste is no better nor any worse than animal waste.

When I am in the BWCA, I do my thing on the ground (or very shallow pits, where appropriate)....and so do the animals. Your thoughts are true where there is a high concentration of people. The inside of my AS tanks have little bearing on your argument....even if I were to RARELY dump cross pollinated gray water on the ground in a boondocking or remote location. Yup, a few of my bacteria are right there with the deer poop and their bacteria.

And....again....we ALL cross contaminate whenever the blade valve is opened or closed in either tank.
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Old 05-01-2015, 01:36 PM   #26
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...
Here is what I have done for 30 years of Airstream RV use:

Hook up the sewer hose, pull the black water dump handle, let it empty.
Go inside and fill the toilet to the brim and then flush it.
Go back outside and close the black water dump valve.
Pull the gray water dump valve and let it drain.
Rinse out the sewer hose and replace.
Wash hands. No, I don't use gloves, booties, haz mat suits etc.

Drive away. Total time is about 5 to 6 minutes.
I LOVE this. After I went through my first two haz mat suits I decided to throw caution to the wind. Still here, alive and well. Nice to know I am not alone.

I do rinse my tank out whenever I have a chance but not everytime I go out camping. I have been behind folks at the dump stations that spend lots of time dragging hoses around, going in and out of their campers making sure every last drop has been evacuated. Not all that necessary in my opinion.
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Old 05-01-2015, 01:39 PM   #27
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I LOVE this. After I went through my first two haz mat suits I decided to throw caution to the wind. Still here, alive and well. Nice to know I am not alone.

I do rinse my tank out whenever I have a chance but not everytime I go out camping. I have been behind folks at the dump stations that spend lots of time dragging hoses around, going in and out of their campers making sure every last drop has been evacuated. Not all that necessary in my opinion.
I don't flush every time either. Only on the last dump before going home. The rest of the time.....dump and go.
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Old 05-01-2015, 01:40 PM   #28
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Also, I never put dishwasher packs or dish/hand soap from the sink transferred to the black tank because some soaps can kill bacteria and enzymes that are supposed to be in your black tank and are good for the system to break down the waste. You could do this if you are sure that the soap you are using is free of all chemicals that can be harmful to your black tank.
Uh....this is a black tank not a septic tank. If you are on a septic system at home it is very important to maintain a balance in your SEPTIC system so that proper digestion can occur. In your trailer all that is needed is to take care of odors. Some use chemicals others use other methods. Breaking down waste is not a function of your black tank. Some soap getting into your black tank is not a problem.
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