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Old 08-11-2014, 02:27 PM   #1
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is anyone pumping blackwater uphill?

I just bought my first airstream. has anyone tried pumping from the toilet up to a septic above? can you use the existing small blackwater tank -- It's a 1976 airstream -- or should i buy a 40 gallon tank? any advice on types of pumps or anything else? thanks so much in advance.
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Old 08-11-2014, 03:13 PM   #2
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Marine toilets can pump to a holding tank above the toilet's leveló if you get the right oneó but an RV toilet can't. So the best way is to still use your on-board black tank.

You would need to attach a portable macerator pump onto the end of your slinky, and place the macerator pump at the lowest point of your system so that you get good gravity feed TO the pump, so all of the work done by the macerator pump is pushing the waste uphill. You should be able to pump about as high as the top of your trailer, maybe a little less if there's a high proportion of solids.

But cleanup will not be pretty. Any waste in between the pump and the end of the discharge hose will not come out without disconnecting the hose and letting the leftovers run back down. So be prepared to fill your tanks with clean water after pumping out the waste, and then pump the clean water out too. That way, any leftovers in the discharge line are just water.
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Old 08-11-2014, 03:57 PM   #3
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Check out "sewer solution"... Might be a more acceptable option if not pumping "too high"
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Old 08-11-2014, 04:06 PM   #4
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Yes, a macerator pump will pump uphill some. Mine are both positive displacement pumps so the sewerage, once leaving the pump, can only go forward, not back. But first pump the black tank, then the gray tank second. The gray water will mostly clean out the black water residue. Once the two tanks are empty, I have shut the macerator pump off and put it's input into a bucket of water, then pumped that through the output hose, cleaning the hose quite well (don't use it for drinking water though....lol).
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:17 PM   #5
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First Law of Civil Engineering

You just violated the prime directive of Civil Engineering:

Sh!t rolls downhill.


Here's the prime directive of Structural Engineering:

You can't push a rope.

I just gave you two degrees in ten seconds!

Yeah, I'm a P.E.
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:52 PM   #6
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is anyone pumping blackwater uphill?

I think the phrase is: "it FLOWS down hill"
And you can push a rope. Thru a tube.
Why would you want a 40 gallon black water tank?
And: Why would you want to PUMP it uphill?
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:27 PM   #7
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Check out "sewer solution"... Might be a more acceptable option if not pumping "too high"
This ^^^

I have a Sewer Solution, bought it primarily to use at home where my clean out is at a higher elevation than my parking pad and ~30' away. I believe it is on sale at Camping World for ~$90 at the moment. Well worth the price IMHO.

I am in the process of trying to see if I can make it work at the campground dump stations via a fitting from my on board water tank.

We camp at a lot of state parks that have water and electric but no sewer.

Aaron
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:23 PM   #8
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Thank you all so much.
To answer one question .. I am pumping uphill because, well, my septic system is uphill of the airstream.
Are you saying that if the septic is higher than the top of the airstream (it is), I am out of luck? I have to either put in another septic system , or , a composting toiet?
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:30 AM   #9
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Are you saying that if the septic is higher than the top of the airstream (it is), I am out of luck? I have to either put in another septic system , or , a composting toiet?
I don't think anyone is saying that. We are saying that you need some sort of pump. Your choices are a macerator pump, which grinds solids into a slurry before pumping them mechanically, or a "Sewer Solution" which uses water pressure to reduce solids and pump the slurry. I haven't used the Sewer Solution.

If you have municipal water and no concern over how much water you use, then a Sewer Solution is possible, but otherwise, you're stuck with a macerator pump, which only needs electricity to do the job. I have used a macerator pump, and personally know that they will work for this application.

But in either case, you won't be able to pump up a high hill, just a few feet. The longer the distance you have to pump, the less elevation you'll be able to overcome, and the higher you have to pump, the shorter the distance.

If it's your own property and you'll be parking the Airstream there frequently, a permanent fix is possible. Run a sewer line to your trailer, and include a lift station in the sewer line. The lift station is a permanent macerator pump, of a different design than the RV pumps.
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:50 AM   #10
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I have a (semi-)good reason to pump uphill, too - due to the design of our house, the nearest waste receptacle would be where the washer dumps its water. Even if we somehow put a "T" into that line near floor height, at best we would be level with our dump connection. Putting in a proper sewer connection just isn't financially feasible due to a slab foundation, especially given we'd only use it a couple times a year.

This is an interesting thread - it essentially confirmed what I suspected: We MIGHT get away with a sewer solution, but even that might be messy.
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:31 PM   #11
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SS works uphill for me.


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Old 08-12-2014, 12:38 PM   #12
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Putting in a proper sewer connection just isn't financially feasible due to a slab foundation, especially given we'd only use it a couple times a year.
You might be overlooking something. Even a home on a slab foundation will have sewer cleanout plugs somewhere outside of the slab, between the slab and the sewer main out by the street (or between the house and the septic tank for rural areas). Another name for "cleanout plug" is "dump station." If you look at just about any campground with sewer hookups, you'll see that the sewer hookup is a cleanout plug above ground level where you can easily open the cap. It's not difficult or terribly expensive to trace your sewer line and find the cleanout plug (even if it's presently buried), and carefully dig a hole to uncover it. Then, when you unscrew the cap, screw on an extension pipe to get it to just above ground level (just high enough that your lawn mower won't run over it and break a blade), put the cap on the extension, and back-fill the hole you dug. Voila! Instant permanent dump station!
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:44 PM   #13
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Sewer Solution will work uphill but with some limitations. One thing it doesn't do is empty the line between the black/gray tank gates and the Sewer Solution hookup. In this case it's a MUST to do black first, then gray, then just run clear water through the SS hose after both gates are closed. Also make sure you twist the water jet mascerator, aiming it back and forth between the gates and down the hose for optimal cleaning. At least that way when you dump a gallon of water on the ground it's almost totally clear. Other option is have a bucket strategically placed under the drain so that when you remove the SS everything goes into it.

If you have a big rise - say 10 feet or more, and digging a new cleanout, etc. is too expensive, use a blue boy.

Remember, the grass is always greener over the septic tank.

Paula
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:23 PM   #14
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You might be overlooking something. Even a home on a slab foundation will have sewer cleanout plugs somewhere outside of the slab, between the slab and the sewer main out by the street (or between the house and the septic tank for rural areas).
Depends on the jurisdiction. They're not used around here, in part because they contribute to the line freezing.

Quote:
Another name for "cleanout plug" is "dump station." If you look at just about any campground with sewer hookups, you'll see that the sewer hookup is a cleanout plug above ground level where you can easily open the cap. It's not difficult or terribly expensive to trace your sewer line and find the cleanout plug (even if it's presently buried), and carefully dig a hole to uncover it. Then, when you unscrew the cap, screw on an extension pipe to get it to just above ground level (just high enough that your lawn mower won't run over it and break a blade), put the cap on the extension, and back-fill the hole you dug. Voila! Instant permanent dump station!
Around here you need a building permit for that and it's not clear to me whether they would allow it.

Anything built in the last 20 years in Minnesota and surrounding states will have the sewer line placed below the level of the basement floor, typically around 6' below ground level.
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