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Old 03-16-2012, 09:17 AM   #1
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sewage

So we just purchased our 1967 camper which has sat for 5 years with contents in the black tank. Last week I put a packet in the toilet with some water. Yesterday we hauled her to a nearby campground to dump the tank. After several tries of various directions nothing came out except the packet. After the stick and flashlight test it has solidified in the tank! How in the world do we get this crap (literally LOL) out of there?
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:34 AM   #2
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Couple of gallons of water and some degreaser.....5-10 miles on abumpy road?
Greg
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:35 AM   #3
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I wouldn't worry too much. With use the accumulated solids will mostly dissolve. You can speed things up with various chemicals but they will also attack the seals in the dump valve.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:43 AM   #4
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What you are referring to is known as the "black hills syndrome". This is what happens when a black tank is allowed to go completely dry. This is something that should never be allowed to happen.

There are several things that you can try to counter this situation. Put some RV toilet chemical and a half tank of water and let it sit overnight. Add a couple of bags of ice through the toilet. Immediately take the trailer for a rough ride with sudden stops and quick take offs. Also throw in a rough road to let the ice do some work on the black hills. You may need to repeat this several times to get any results.

In the more severe cases, the black tank may need to be replaced.

Brian
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:44 AM   #5
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A bag of ice cubes and ride around for a while. Sal. PS I wonder if milk of magnesia would help.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:53 AM   #6
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Sal. PS I wonder if milk of magnesia would help.
That's going on my list of useful things to have in my trailer
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Old 03-16-2012, 11:45 AM   #7
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You could try to putting a water hose with pressure nozzle
in the toilet opening, which hopefully will shake things up!!
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:09 PM   #8
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Who can resist a thread titled "Sewage"?

All good ideas so far (except, maybe, milk of magnesia) and I have nothing to add.

Gene
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:25 PM   #9
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Who can resist a thread titled "Sewage"?

All good ideas so far (except, maybe, milk of magnesia) and I have nothing to add.

Gene
Maybe ExLax? Sal.
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:53 PM   #10
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"Chemicals" - nothing lye based PLEASE. Use something that is enzyme based. This literally helps digest and soften the stuff rather than just burning it (and the seals and the tank). Also a lot of the older chemicals had a lot of formaldehyde in them. This was part of the odor control, but it inhibited bacterial and enzymatic action. The old chemicals have long lost their potency, but may have created an almost waxy "texture" to the remaining crap.

The bumpy road and ice cube trick can work quite well if your tank is say 70% clear and 30% mountain. If it's 70% full of sh** then time and warmth are your allies. Plow in a big load of something designed to be safe for a septic tank (bio-active) that will encourage fermentation - and fill the tank with WARM not hot water. Every 3 - 4 hours rock the RV back and forth using the trailer's jack (stabilizers up). Before trying to dump, gently agitate one more time, then open the valvve. If what comes out looks like baby diarrhea - you're making progress. Repeat. If what comes out looks like it's just weak tea, you have three options:
  1. new black tank, someone with a sick sense of humor might have dumped portland cement down the drain
  2. call a septic tank pumping service and see if they can do this kind of work
  3. get a pressure wand - and go to work from the top down with hot water and a LOT of persistance
Also at the risk of stating the obvious - make sure your black tank isn't actually empty! The 60's tanks were SMALL - and when you look down the throat of the toilet and see black, its possible tank might BE black plastic. Fill your tank with a big drywall bucket or cat food bucket that holds 5 gallons. If you can get two bucketfulls into the black tank, that might be it's total capacity. Check the specs for your year and model.

Good luck!
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Old 03-16-2012, 03:21 PM   #11
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If it's bad enough you can dissolve it with chlorine. It will wreck the dump valve seals, and the toilet valve if you get any on it, but shouldn't affect the tank or the piping. You have to be sure there's plenty of ventilation and that the tank vent isn't plugged since there will be fumes. Wear goggle, gloves, and a face shield.
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Old 03-16-2012, 03:21 PM   #12
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Our tank is always emptied between travels. I can do it at home if I didn't make or have the opportunity at the last campground. HOWEVER, upon the next excursion, sooner or later, I dump a bag of ice cubes in and by the time we reach our first destination the tank has had a good scouring.

Neil
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Old 03-16-2012, 03:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Who can resist a thread titled "Sewage"?


Still laughing over that comment, Gene!!
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:31 AM   #14
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With lots of persistance this weekend, we finally got the tank to drain! Thank you all for your help! Now on to the plumbing issues
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