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Old 04-21-2013, 03:08 PM   #57
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So, let's think about the best way to clean a tank. Water sprayed at high pressure in a way to hit every part of the tank works best in theory.

The Airstream sewer flusher fails because it only sprays out of one hole in the side of the tank at city water pressure—anywhere from 20 to 60 psi usually. It misses almost all the tank and it mainly fills the tank to create more hydrostatic pressure when you open the valve. But you're told to keep the valve open to prevent overfilling, so all it does is send some more water over a small part of the tank. You can open the toilet valve and do the same thing.

The wand placed in the toilet is better because it has small nozzles increasing the psi of the spray in all directions (Note: maybe it doesn't increase the pressure, but it seems to create lots of small jets of water; that exhausts most of my knowledge of fluid dynamics). But you have to drag a long hose from a water source into the trailer, attach the wand and go at it. Few people want to do this.

Next is the uninvented imaginary pinwheel sprayer. I think of things like this in the middle of the night when I wake up. The inspiration is probably born of why I wake up in the middle of the night and that requires a trip to the toilet. This 21st century innovation would be a factory install with a pump to increase pressure to 100+ psi with the water shooting out of 4 or more nozzles that spin inside the tank like a pinwheel. To help sell it, it should also check e-mail. I leave it to others to perfect this item, but don't forget me when the money comes in. It is my idea!

For now, stuck in the last century, spraying water in the tank is either nearly useless, inconvenient or uninvented.

So, we turn to backflushing. The usual genius of backflushing is that is sends water in the reverse direction and that dislodges those nasty solids in a confined space such as a pipe. It also allows a lot of water to be sent at pressure to loosen the solids and eventually float them out. Backflushing from the drain into a short pipe and then a relatively large tank, isn't going to do that much good so far as reversing water flow, but it does loosen things, allow you to pretty much fill the tank, and float the stuff out. It is not efficient in that it takes a lot of water and repeated applications. Time is a factor—the lower the water pressure, the longer to fill the tank plus repeated applications take time. If you overfill the tank (there's no way to know unless you have someone inside looking at the notoriously inaccurate monitor, or looking down the toilet. That person has to have a loud voice to scream "STOP" or a walkie talkie), water will climb up the vent pipe and cascade down the side of the trailer. You may get a shower you really didn't want. Also, your neighbors at the campground will inevitably be watching you when this happens. They will roll on the ground laughing at you. Even though they didn't know you, they will find out who you are and send you e-mails reminding you of your folly for years to come. Your spouse or partner will remind you of this on your death bed. But fear not—there is a solution to this problem—get a stopwatch or kitchen timer and never fill the tank for more than 2 to 2.5 minutes. Also do this in the middle of the night when everyone is sleeping.

While you are sitting there waiting for tank to almost fill or drain several times, you will be thinking about how to clean tanks better than this method. So, far, other than my pinwheel idea, I have not come up with a better idea either then or in the middle of the night. That's why I use the Flush King. Another advantage is that my wife is really grateful I am doing this and not her. She even takes out the garbage when I'm doing it. This reinforces her belief she really did marry the right guy and that I am so manly and strong I can deal with nasty solids and present her with a clean black tank. When I'm finished she puts chemicals, dishwasher detergent and other things only she knows about in the toilet. What a woman! I am so glad I married someone who could pass organic chemistry.

So I suggest the best solution given present day science is backflushing. It also can improve your relationship.

All you engineers out there—let me know how the pinwheel flushing system is coming along and PM me to get an address to send the royalty checks.

It seems like it is time for me to stop thinking about these matters and get something done.

Gene
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Old 04-21-2013, 04:24 PM   #58
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Gene, your knowledge is impressive.

The next time insomnia strikes after your trip to the BR, would you mind, please, cogitating on the following and get back to us?

I can't help thinking that a simple solution would be a decent composting toilet; but not the kind that requires the ladies to pee into a bottle or that needs ongoing electricity to keep the little critters warm enough to decompose the sewage. Actually the latter would probably work fine for folks in locations where they either have an ongoing plug-in, a year-round warm climate, or rooftop solar panels in a dry climate-- none of which is our case.

Alternatives? During our tent-camping and unplumbed cabin days, we owned one of those portable biffy-box type toilets (required in heavily used back-country desert areas, under the "pack out what you pack in" mandate.) But boy, was that gross to clean out.

I am thinking of the type of composting toilet where after a suitable bacterial digestive process, there is just a small amount of compost for disposal.

Gray water isn't such an issue as black water (although it can be bio-contaminated, as well) provided nobody takes ultra-frequent long showers.

A side issue is that for desert boondockers, it seems a shame to use up water on flushing.

A little web sleuthing revealed:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f444...nt-101317.html

The Hot Poop on Alternative Toilets : TreeHugger

Air Head Dry Toilet: Marine Composting Toilet with Compact Convenience: How it Works

Mostly we just keep our waste water tank (only one) emptied frequently, but this is an issue for longer stays in many NPS, USFS, BLM, and state parks with no hook-ups; and sometimes no sani-dump for miles.

Thanks.
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Old 04-21-2013, 04:49 PM   #59
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Gene, on the Airstream No-Fuss Flush system the tank spray nozzle I've seen has many holes aimed in different directions. I think it gives a pretty good rinse but can't say I've put a mirror in there to check. Anyway some extra "stuff" comes draining out after initial emptying, then hooking a hose to the No-Fuss Flush.

doug k
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:27 PM   #60
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Len...this was my sarcasm

"People who need perfect lawns and spotless back tanks are the exception, and they are allowed do whatever they want. Again, sorry for the sarcasm"

And....no joke the whole in the ground was called by Wally, and in the Airstream hand book, a " gopher hole "

I understand that fecal matter is a biohazard, and although urine is sterile for a short period, it gets nasty as well.

University students did a study on outhouses, and determined that the effluent didn't make it more than a few inches before it was eaten by micro organisms.There are exceptions in marshy areas that are overused by too many humans( Such as one of our first settlements, Jamestown, which was moved to Williamsburg because of the biohazard).
Much like the study that the government did to find out where the worn off bits of rubber from millions of automobile tires was going. The rubber did.t make more than five feet away from the highway.
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:27 PM   #61
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It's really pretty simple gang....

You just can't get behind on your flushing.

Bob
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:14 PM   #62
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My understanding of the Airstream sewer flusher, Doug, is that it had one hole, but it may have changed, or I may have been misinformed. The info came from a member who was quite knowledgeable, but has absented himself from the Forum for a couple of years. I haven't looked inside the tank either and don't plan to. Even with multiple holes, how much of the tank can it hit? I can't answer that either. I suppose one of those miniature TV cameras on a stalk could tell you how well it works and I encourage you to get one and report back. They are also useful when you drop that bolt under into the engine compartment, it gets caught somewhere and you can't see it. If it works better than I thought, or has been changed, good.

Jeanne, I have no knowledge of composting toilets, except—they are a lot smaller than they used to be. They used to be hard to set up and keep going, but I guess that has changed, somewhat. I was looking through a sample wilderness log cabin outside a store a few weeks ago and it had a composting toilet. It was about the same size as a regular toilet. I looked at the links and the composting toilets have improved, but seem only better than an outhouse. There is a lot of maintenance, but perhaps no more than we have now with the black tank. I doubt they come cheap. It looks like the liquid is stored until you can get a bucket and dispose of it under someone else's trailer (not advised). Maybe the liquid could be directed to the black tank, if you have one. Certainly this would work pretty well for extended boondocking, but you'd still be limited by how much water you can bring and how much liquid you can store. Where you can dump on the ground is limited and can get you thrown out of campgrounds. While the forest creatures do not use toilets, they don't leave all of their waste products in one place where it builds up and/or kills vegetation (urine is mildly acidic), so dumping at a campsite is not a good idea. Yes, they used to dig a hole and go to ground, but campsites were not so busy 50 years ago. You'd have to reduce your consumption of Molsons, tea and coffee with a compost toilet.

I don't see this as a solution for many people. Given a small market, there doesn't seem to be the demand that would produce a markedly better composting toilet. Someday it may make sense for everyone. That would be fine, but I expect quite expensive for a while.

However, we also have another possibility—how do they do it on the space station? They must purify the urine and grey water and turn it into potable water. The technology is there, albeit perhaps a bit pricy. I don't know what they do with the solids—maybe compost or incineration (dumping it outside could be problematical the next time you go by). If the idea of drinking purified urine upsets you, consider that much ground water comes from septic (leach) fields and is purified by the earth (hopefully), and then makes its way into nearby wells. We used to live in a subdivision where lots ranged from a 1/4 acre to 1 acre. Leach fields were supposed to be 200' away from wells, but often were 100' or less and grandfathered. The neighbor below me had a well about 75' from our leach field, but I didn't like him anyway. The county required water tests when houses sold or were refinanced, and the tests were always ok, but somewhat limited in scope. We never got any illnesses from this. People do not like to think about this. There are many stories about how when public sewers are brought to such subdivisions, the wells dry up. That also upsets people.

They say that when people get old, they talk about their powers of elimination a lot. It is also said RV owners are usually old. We seem to be proving those two theories.

Gene
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:00 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene View Post


They say that when people get old, they talk about their powers of elimination a lot. It is also said RV owners are usually old. We seem to be proving those two theories.

Gene
As a "relatively" younger person, and younger RV'er, I think dealing with this issue makes me so much more conscious of the concept of dealing with our own waste. Growing up in the ' burbs, you just don't ever think about it. Anyone interested should read the 'humanure handbook'. It gives a good overview of ow the world in general deals with the issue.
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:44 PM   #64
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A pretty good video on Black Tank Dumping.

HOW TO: Dump & Clean an RV Black Tank - YouTube
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Old 04-22-2013, 11:11 PM   #65
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Gene,
Here's your pinwheel!
Swivel Stik RV Holding Tank Rinser - YouTube
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Old 04-23-2013, 12:29 AM   #66
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Gene, thank you! I started a separate composting toilet thread, hoping to hear from people who have installed one. I've checked a few websites-- they seem to be marketed to boaters who would have even more of a waste-storage issue than RVers, I would think. They seem to retail in the $800-range.

Jeanne
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Old 04-23-2013, 12:30 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by daveswenson View Post
If you had a hose connection to city water in the bathroom (quick release would be best) you could connect a wand or Camco's swivel stick to it and not have to drag a hose through the RV. You could T off from the cold water feed to the sink or the toilet to do this and use a short hose that collapses to save space. If from the sink, you could coil a hose in the cabinet under the sink. Somebody has probably done this.

My pinwheel system installed in the tank with pump for high pressure remains uninvented.

Gene
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