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Old 11-14-2005, 11:16 PM   #1
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Have you read this?

Anyone read this article? What did you think of it?

http://www.newrver.com/publish/holdingtank.shtml

I have some reservations, hell, a LOT of reservations, about putting a gallon of bleach into a dirty black water tank!

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Occasionally, I pour a gallon of liquid bleach into each tank to sanitize and disinfect them. I no longer use the blue toilet chemical because it isn’t necessary. I have no odors coming from my black water tank. Generic brand liquid bleach is cheap and very effective.
===============

Makes me wonder how large the green cloud of chlorine gas he makes is when he does this! And I certainly don't want to be downwind of him when he does this!
The mixture of ammonia from waste in the black water tank, with chlorine from the bleach, is a sure fire way to create chorine gas!

The use of water softner product makes sense to me, sorta. Anyone done this? Is it effective?

Elizabeth in Iowa
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Old 11-14-2005, 11:34 PM   #2
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I would think that the tank vent would deal with most of the nasties.....but I'm not sure I agree about the tank treatments. The Coleman stuff I use also helps break down solids and paper as well as mask the odors. I'm not sure I'd use a gallon of bleach to do it.

I do use bleach, Lysol and laytex gloves at the dump stations when purging the tanks. I also do use an inline water filter and dump black, then grey.
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Old 11-15-2005, 12:10 AM   #3
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We've been experimenting with using water softener in the gray tank to try and get rid of an odor problem. Didn't really work that well until we towed with the tank about half full of softened water, then filled it up completely at the next site and dumped. A scary bunch of alien stuff came out, but the tank is now odor free. However, I can't say whether it was the softener or the agitation from towing. Never had a problem with the black tank, but we almost always use formaldehyde-free chemical and the installed black tank flush.

There is lots of contentious discussion on other RV forums about using bleach in the black/gray tanks, because it can degrade the valve seals. Don't know whether that's true or not, but in any case, a gallon of bleach in anything seems like an awful lot.
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Old 11-15-2005, 12:28 AM   #4
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I don't understand how adding something to the water makes it soft. We have a water softener on the house (Phoenix has very hard water) and it softens by removing the Calcium from the water. Should I pour some of that water into the black tank and drive around to clean out the tank?
I don't think the owner of the dump station would be too happy to have a gallon of bleach dumped into his system.
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Old 11-15-2005, 12:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
I don't think the owner of the dump station would be too happy to have a gallon of bleach dumped into his system.
I doubt very seriously that would be the worst thing that went down the sewer drain at a dump station.
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Old 11-15-2005, 05:07 AM   #6
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I can see how the softener would work...I assume you are talking about the laundry style softener. It also helps to toss a 7# bag of ice in there with the tank about 1/2 full, then drive around. It acts as an abrasive, then melts and runs out Old restaurant trick to clean coffee pots...ice and lemon juice

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Old 11-15-2005, 07:36 AM   #7
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I would have to agree that a gallon of bleach is a bit much. And a period dump of bleach is what I do. However it is about a cup or two.

I also have a boat with a 13 gal waste tank. I never have the opportunity of letting the waste run through when in use like an RV. So it is always fill and pump. Most of the time I fill and pump several times when emptying. This seems to have worked cause there is little oder and about the third fill the fluid coming out gets pretty clear.

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Old 11-15-2005, 08:05 AM   #8
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I use bleach with water. I don't skimp on the bleach either. I let it soak over night and then dump. It helps with the odor. I also use Calgon water sofener in both of my tanks. It is suppose to prevent anything from sticking to the tank and also as you drive with agitation, it removes some of the old stuff.
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Old 11-15-2005, 08:44 AM   #9
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Clean up your act

I guess using large amounts of bleach is a matter of perspective. It does a great job of sanatizing but will destroy the septic system it is dumped into.

The softener he refers to is sodium carbonate (washing soda) which chemically reacts with calcium containing water to drop the calcium out of solution. It is like a cheap disposable water softener. It is an old trick and many common powdered laundry detergents and soaps already contain it. If you use a low foam detergent it might help clean the tank while you are on the road without causing problems. Foamy stuff is a no no. If you use detergent that contains color safe bleach additive, it will also help sanitize. If you use the automatic dishwasher powder instead of laundry detergent, they contain chlorine bleach (in powdered form). That is how they sanitize your dishes. You do not need to use much so it would not be too bad for the septic system.

As for leaving the plugs in all drains: If you are parked it is not necessary because your vents and traps should prevent anything from coming back into the coach. If you are on bumpy roads, I can see how the water may be shaken out of the P traps and allow a back flow of odor. Plugs on the road make sense. Also running a little water down the drains immediately after you park insures you have replaced the water seal to prevent odor.

I like the ice thing but you have to use quite a bit to insure it is not all melted immediately by the waste that is already in the tank. Of course, it does not work for the gray water tank since there is now way to get any in.
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Old 11-15-2005, 09:31 AM   #10
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I don't know about the wisdom of adding various chemicals to your tanks.
Sounds like they should work.
The one thing that I would worry about is their reaction to the plastics in the
black and grey systems.
Do you know they will not react with the seals in the slide valves and shorten the life of these seals? I don't.
I use products which are made for these specific uses. Thetford makes a good line of products which have been around for years and have shown not to be detrimental to your waste systems. There is a proven soulution to all of the problems.
I use ice also, I will use it on the way out 7lbs of ice, and 2 gals of clear water. Then dump when you get there.
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Old 11-15-2005, 12:18 PM   #11
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Isn't most liquid bleach stored in plastic? So what is the diff in a waste system?

And I wouldn't think softener would do any harm to anything.

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Old 11-15-2005, 12:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Action
Isn't most liquid bleach stored in plastic? So what is the diff in a waste system?

And I wouldn't think softener would do any harm to anything.

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Action,
The tanks and piping are plastic, but you have rubber seals and in some cases metal valve bodies which could be corroded by the bleach. Also dumping large amounts of chlorox bleach down the tube into a septic system would be very detrimental to the little microbes that live and work down there

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Old 11-15-2005, 02:38 PM   #13
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If you are having problems with odor check the vent stack. Is it blocked, is the ed in the tank "above" the water line. If not then the odor will not go out the stack but into the coach. We us no chemicals and have no problems in the small Caravel. We fill the tank with water and give it time before dumping. The short ride to the station helps. We fill it again and dump and off we go. Maybe diet counts.
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