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Old 11-30-2011, 12:35 PM   #1
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Sanitize Black Water Tank with Bleach

Sanitize Black Water Tank with Bleach

I have looked through this thread, but I could not find an answer on using bleach to sanitize the holding tanks on the used AS (2004 Classic 34’ I just bought..

We are smelling a foul odor coming from the toilet area, we filled and flushed x3, ran the tank flusher for 30 mins……
I now want to try 3 gals of bleach in a ¾ full tanks over night…..but will the bleach harm anything in the tanks?
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Old 11-30-2011, 12:47 PM   #2
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Maybe it's not the tank . . . maybe the vent was not installed properly or maybe the toilet gasket is missing or failed.

3 gallons huh? Now'd be the time for a dump valve failure with that 3 hot gallons in there . . . just thinking.
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Old 11-30-2011, 12:47 PM   #3
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I would suggest using a bio-enzyme type product like Walex Products Co - EXODOR Bio-Pak - Sewer Chemicals - Camping World instead of using bleach.

Fill the tank 3/4 from full, add two packets of the above product, add two or more bags of cubed ice, and go for a drive to slush stuff around. Park without draining for up to two weeks, then drain and flush a time or two.

If needed, repeat the process ....
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:02 PM   #4
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... and fill the tank before leaving it sit for the two weeks...
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:11 PM   #5
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If the toilet is full of water and you have a smell problem you probably have a bad base gasket on the toilet or a cracked vent pipe somewhere. If your blackwater tank is nasty you should only smell stuff when you are flushing the toilet. A gallon of bleach won't hurt anything for short periods of time but it is hard on rubber seals. Have you tried the holding tank additives? I would followup with some seal lubricant after the bleach job. I would fill it all the way up or tow it to get the bleach everywhere. You can also get some toilet friendly toilet cleaner that works pretty well without killing the wiper seals. You might also check the roof vent to see if it is open.

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Old 11-30-2011, 01:17 PM   #6
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You should reconsider sanitizing the black water tank. Bacteria are your friends in this area and you want a nice rich organic environment for them to do their magic. The tank is supposed to vent gas(a natural by-product of decomposition) through the roof. If you smell it inside, something's amiss and you'll need to find out what and seal it up.
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:19 PM   #7
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I started with normal tank stuff, but we still got the smell...We flushed the tank a few times, put ice and tank chemicals/water in the tanks, drove around a few miles, dumped and flushed the tanks again.....but the next morning when we opened the AS’s door, we could still smell the odor, not strong, but still there.

The vent is ok, I will check the seal next.
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
If the toilet is full of water and you have a smell problem you probably have a bad base gasket on the toilet or a cracked vent pipe somewhere. If your blackwater tank is nasty you should only smell stuff when you are flushing the toilet. A gallon of bleach won't hurt anything for short periods of time but it is hard on rubber seals. Have you tried the holding tank additives? I would followup with some seal lubricant after the bleach job. I would fill it all the way up or tow it to get the bleach everywhere. You can also get some toilet friendly toilet cleaner that works pretty well without killing the wiper seals. You might also check the roof vent to see if it is open.

Perry
What/how do you lube the seals? (that reads like a line from a bad joke)
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Air-Texas
Sanitize Black Water Tank with Bleach

I have looked through this thread, but I could not find an answer on using bleach to sanitize the holding tanks on the used AS (2004 Classic 34’ I just bought..

We are smelling a foul odor coming from the toilet area, we filled and flushed x3, ran the tank flusher for 30 mins……
I now want to try 3 gals of bleach in a ¾ full tanks over night…..but will the bleach harm anything in the tanks?
I have put bleach in all my tanks prior to winterizing 3 times now without ill effect. But I don't think that is your problem. There should be no smell coming from the toilet even when your black and gray tanks are full. You either have a vent problem, a gasket problem or the water trap is dry. In my toilet there is some kind of trap above the black tank which fills with water and "seals" out the odors from below.

After the first year in storage we had the same odor problem you do. Just before I tore out the offending toilet, an older and wiser head who is actually mechanically competent told me to just flush it a couple of times. Voila, problem solved. The water in the trap had evaporated. I don't know if your toilet has the same setup as mine, as mine is not factory standard, but it is worth a try before you get more drastic.
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:25 PM   #10
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You just open the bottle of lube and poor it into the toilet. You don't have to stick your hand down the toilet and rub KY on the seals or anything. It is probably glycerine.

Perry
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:47 PM   #11
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What/how do you lube the seals? (that reads like a line from a bad joke)
This worked on our 63 Safari when the flush seal went bad...very hard to open/close.

Off the water...empty/soak up bowl, add a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Wait 12hrs (hard part)......, open/close manually if necessary, Repeat clean as needed, and finish with a good flush and fresh chems.
Ours did work well afterward.

Bob
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:08 PM   #12
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Adding 3 gallons of bleach to your 3/4-full holding tank is a lot of bleach. That would mean a concentration of +-10%...which is a lot considering a typical fresh water sanitizing is done with +- .1%. How are you going to get rid of that solution?

For most of us mortals, we're never going to get it to smell sweet down there, so if you have odor inside, as others have noted, something else is wrong, as in vent or gasket. Does your toilet bowl hold water?
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:24 PM   #13
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Sanitize Black Water Tank with Bleach

Greetings Air-Texas!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Air-Texas View Post
I started with normal tank stuff, but we still got the smell...We flushed the tank a few times, put ice and tank chemicals/water in the tanks, drove around a few miles, dumped and flushed the tanks again.....but the next morning when we opened the AS’s door, we could still smell the odor, not strong, but still there.

The vent is ok, I will check the seal next.
I noticed that you mention this coach being new to you. If it has sat unused for an extended period of time, is it possible that some of the odor that you are experiencing might be coming from a drain trap that is permitting odor from the wash water tank to enter the coach? I experienced this problem with my coach after is had been stored for an extended period of time and the shallow drain trap below the shower had dried out and was permitting the odor to enter.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:24 PM   #14
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One way to "start fresh" is to get the tank flushed with one of the hydro-flushers. It is expensive, past $150, but then you get to start with a clean tank. I had it done in an older trailer before I changed the valve seal and it seemed to do a good job.
Do you use the de-odorizer in the tank when you camp? Do you leave a little dd-oderizer and some water in the tank between uses? Does the toilet hold water over the seal.
I would suspect a leak from the toilet to tank seal. That is where the problem was when I had a similar problem.
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