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Old 12-30-2010, 08:19 AM   #1
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DougZ's Avatar
1972 27' Overlander
Venice , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 180
More sewer questions

On my recently purchased 1972 Overlander I have read that there is no grey water tank. When I open the rear compartment I see a 6" (approx) black sewer pipe. This appears to be coming from the head. There is a gate valve in the line to shut it off. Down stream from the gate valve is a Y that has a 3" black line running into it. This appears to be from the tub / sink area. I can't find a gate valve in this line. The cap can't be the only thing holding the water in can it? I don't know what is in the holding tank yet so I have to go to a park and dump before I can do some experimenting. I don't want to mess up the dump station by not knowing what I'm doing. Thanks for any help.

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Old 12-30-2010, 09:00 AM   #2
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,157
Assuming that your 72 Overlander is plumbed the same as our 72 Sovereign, then here's what you have.

Directly under the toilet is the black tank. The valve you found is to empty the black tank. I think you'll find it's a 3" pipe if you measure it (not that it really matters unless you need to replace/repair it). Outlet of the valve goes to the "y" you found.

The other inlet to the "y" is from the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and tub. No, there is no valve on this leg. The only thing holding the gray water is in the cover on the outlet where you connect your sewer hose.

Is your trailer currently at home? You can do some experimenting by running water into the tub or sinks, and see what happens.

If you have the cover on & the black valve closed, the gray water pipe will quickly fill with water, and you'll end up with gray water backing up into the tub.

If you have the cover on, and the black water valve open, the gray water will flow into the black tank for awhile, and then start backing up into the tub. Not something I would recommend...

If you have the black valve closed, and the cover off, the gray water will run out of the discharge, and onto the ground, or into a separate tank or bucket you have to catch the gray water.

Not many places (if any at all) in the US will now let you run gray water out onto the ground, so it needs to be collected. There are a couple of companies that make portable tanks for collecting gray water, and you may wish to buy one before your first camping outing. If you do, do NOT dump your black tank into the portable tank. That's just asking for a smelly mess at some point.


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Old 12-31-2010, 11:17 AM   #3
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2008 22' Safari
Oracle , Arizona
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,174
Arizona allows gray water to be run unto the ground where not prohibited by local law. Campgrounds here usually do not allow this as it cannot stand in an area and needs to be absorbed in a 24 hour period or is considered black water.
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Old 12-31-2010, 12:30 PM   #4
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2004 28' International CCD
Open Road , USA
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 49
That cap is all you got to hold the gray in, our old '71 was the same. If you don't like it, you have a couple options that I found then.
  1. Garden hose to that which you put then end in a sewer where you have it and are not allowed / don't want to dump on the ground. The garden hose allows you to move it away from your trailer so if you dump nasties such as coffee and other liquids down the sink and are staying for a bit it won't smell so close to your trailer and gives you much longer reach than a sewer hose. You can get a 100' collapsing hose from Camping World that is meant for drinking water but you can use it (exclusively, don't use it for supply after this) to run the gray water too. Be sure to use things like biodegradable soaps and such, so you're not dumping toxic stuff on the ground.
  2. Places that don't allow you to dump directly on the ground will let you collect in a container sometimes. Some people have mentioned a 'leaky bucket' which is a nice bucket you run your garden hose into that happens to have developed a crack in the bottom of it.
  3. Get a blue boy rolling container. You hold on to this for a few days or take it somewhere to dump by rolling it to the dump spot or driving it there in your TV. Don't dump the black stuff this way, that is going to be terrible.
  4. Modify the trailer to add a gray tank.
  5. Some serious boondockers use a bladder (like a waterbed mattress) they fill with a pump to haul water to/from their location. Again, don't use the same bladder for fresh and gray.
  6. Our 2004 has a single tank like the older ones, but gray also drains into it. I like it sometimes, and don't other times. I have thought about putting a tee and valve in the gray line to be able to let the gray bypass the tank and drain straight out. Unfortunately where it's located it goes right into the top of the tank without enough clearance and would be a huge pain for me. Yours might allow you to do the opposite to drain into the tank with a Tee and valve and some plumbing, which could be a lot cheaper than adding a tank. Not sure how big the tank is on yours though, something small would definitely limit your time before dumping.

The no-gray-tank thing can be kind of scary for some people. Mostly it depends how you're going to use the trailer - are you going to be in RV parks all the time? Places out in the total sticks? Campgrounds with hookups? If you're going to have hookups nearby most of the time it's not such a pain. If you're in gonna be predominantly in places where you can't dribble it on the ground and you like to follow the rules or have plenty of eyes around you, and have to drive the blue boy miles to dump it can be a pain.
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:19 PM   #5
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1972 25' Tradewind
Madison , Wisconsin
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 396
I only have a 15 gallon black water with a direct discharge grey water, like all of the AS of similar size and vintage that I have seen.

I keep 3, 15 gallon blue-boys and hook one up to catch the grey water. I like the 15 gallon ones as they are not difficult to push up the ramp into the truck for hauling. Don't tow them! at least not on anything but good pavement and at very low speed.

Very few places allow grey water to be dumped directly. when you can legally do it, dig a hole at least a foot wide and foot and a half to two feet deep. throw a little hydrated lime in the hole (keeps the vermin population down).

As black water passes the same outlet, there is a case to be made for considering that type of discharge as black water. Under most state and federal CFR 503B rules, mixed waste is handled at the strictest disposal level. That said, i doubt it would be enforced under most circumstances.

An interesting story:

I am a Regional Biosolids/Septage Coordinator in Wisconsin. As I live in Madison it would not be too difficult to figure out my name. Getting to the story---
---A number of years ago I was answering a complaint at a campground. I was accompanied by a County Sanitarian/Zoning Administrator. The complaint was sewage on the ground.

We me with the Campground Manager and went to the area that was identified by the complainant. The manager figured it may have been some sour grapes over a music dispute.

The Zoning Administrator was pointing out, to the manager, some recent grey water discharges under a trailer. He was in the middle of explaining the violation of State and County Septage rules when I walked over near another trailer. All of this time the manger is saying how they do not allow that practice. When I was about 20 feet from the RV, and as I was pointing out where a past discharge had been----whoosh!

The inhabitant of the RV walked out the door a second later.....just like in the comedy movie...we were sort of staring at him and he said with somewhat feigned surprise --- What!---

We then had a conversation with the Rv'er, and the manager. No citation (over $800.00), just warnings along with a Zoning and licensing warning if it happened again....guess what! While we were talking, yup--another whoosh!

Sometimes you just can't seem to get out of there and just break even. actually we issued another warning and promised another visit - without warnings of either our coming or warning about discharges.

They had an old AS on blocks at the campground. It was on blocks but used a a rental. I was left with an impression it was for sale. I already have my own money pit for a hobby.

Check your state or Reservation Rules. Be a good neighbor. Giving out citations does not make anyone's day. I can buy a couple of blue boy totes and lot of gas for making blue boy dump runs for $800.00.
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