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Old 09-05-2006, 06:22 PM   #1
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Stinky Grey Water in 84 34' Limited

OK, the refurb on my 84 34' limited is just about done. It was in pretty marginal shape when I got in in June, but since then we have repaired the rotted sections of sub floor, recovered the side couch/sleeper, constructed a front couch which make a huge sectional sleeper with the side couch and a great living room area, installed new appliances, resurfaced the shower, installed corian counter tops, installed cork floors and new commode/plumbing fixtures, and scrapped the PO's crappy queen conversion and came up with a really nice rear queen conversion which easily lifts up for huge storage underneath.

Almost all is well, except a short in the clearance lights I have not yet located and . . . really bad smelling grey water.

This beast has 35 gallon black and grey tanks. The capacity on the black tank has never been an issue, even with me, my three daughters and one of their friends all weekend.

The grey, on the other hand, could be 500 gallons and it wouldn't be enough if my oldest daugter makes her way to the shower. I was, however, very surprised when the grey water backed up into the shower. I wasn't surprised that it would back up there, that is the low point, and a good place to back up, IMHO. What surprised me was the smell. Wer're talking the most rotten of rotten egg smells ever. It happened again this weekend, even before the water started to emerge on the bottom of the shower, when the grey tank was nearly full, the gas escaped from its hiding place and stunk like hell.

Does Grey water usually smell really really bad? If not, should I clean the tank? If so, how would I do it? Is the grey tank vented? Could the vent be clogged and would clearing it help?

Anyway, I am usually not lucky enough to get a full hookup, so I finally bought one of those blue tanks on wheels. I dumped the grey twice this weekend with it. It now stores neatly under the queen, but I am concerned that it may eventually smell as bad as the grey water did and I won't want it anywhere near the campsite at all, much less in the Trailer.

Any help is appreciated. I did do several searches for smelly topics which were interesting but not helpful for this question.

TIA

Panabax
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Old 09-06-2006, 02:00 PM   #2
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Well, grey water is wash water from both the kitchen sink and the shower...whatever goes down those two drains sits and ferments in there until it's emptied.

I would suggest cleaning your grey tank and flushing it really good. To clean it, fill it with a mild bleach/water solution, let it set for a couple of hours then empty it and follow with several "rinse cycles". You may have to repeat this a couple of times if it's really bad.

Once it's good and clean, be very careful about putting food scrapes down the drain or rinsing meat or pouring milk, etc. down there. And get in the habit of flushing it out after emptying it every time, especailly if you won't be using it for a couple of days or more. Same thing with the blue tank...rinse it after emptying it. Oh course, the smells will develop faster in hot weather...

We also leave the cap off the blue tank to let it dry out between uses, the moisture just breeds bacteria and such...and that's what stinks.

There are commercial "grey tank deodorizers" available at Camping World, etc, but if you get it cleaned out to begin with, then maintain it when using it, you shouldn't have any more problems. No reason to literally throw money down the drain...

Shari
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Old 09-06-2006, 03:51 PM   #3
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Is bleach OK to use? I wasn't sure if it was detrimental to gaskets/seals or any other material in the waste system.
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Old 09-06-2006, 04:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peegreen
Is bleach OK to use? I wasn't sure if it was detrimental to gaskets/seals or any other material in the waste system.
I wouldn't use straight bleach by any means, but a light dilution isn't a problem...like 1/4 cup per 1-2 gallons or so. We let it sit and repeat instead of using a stronger solution. And only for a serious cleaning, not an everyday sort of cleaning after dumping.

Shari
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Old 09-06-2006, 04:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panabax
OK, the refurb on my 84 34' limited is just about done. It was in pretty marginal shape when I got in in June, but since then we have repaired the rotted sections of sub floor, recovered the side couch/sleeper, constructed a front couch which make a huge sectional sleeper with the side couch and a great living room area, installed new appliances, resurfaced the shower, installed corian counter tops, installed cork floors and new commode/plumbing fixtures, and scrapped the PO's crappy queen conversion and came up with a really nice rear queen conversion which easily lifts up for huge storage underneath.

Almost all is well, except a short in the clearance lights I have not yet located and . . . really bad smelling grey water.

This beast has 35 gallon black and grey tanks. The capacity on the black tank has never been an issue, even with me, my three daughters and one of their friends all weekend.

The grey, on the other hand, could be 500 gallons and it wouldn't be enough if my oldest daugter makes her way to the shower. I was, however, very surprised when the grey water backed up into the shower. I wasn't surprised that it would back up there, that is the low point, and a good place to back up, IMHO. What surprised me was the smell. Wer're talking the most rotten of rotten egg smells ever. It happened again this weekend, even before the water started to emerge on the bottom of the shower, when the grey tank was nearly full, the gas escaped from its hiding place and stunk like hell.

Does Grey water usually smell really really bad? If not, should I clean the tank? If so, how would I do it? Is the grey tank vented? Could the vent be clogged and would clearing it help?

Anyway, I am usually not lucky enough to get a full hookup, so I finally bought one of those blue tanks on wheels. I dumped the grey twice this weekend with it. It now stores neatly under the queen, but I am concerned that it may eventually smell as bad as the grey water did and I won't want it anywhere near the campsite at all, much less in the Trailer.

Any help is appreciated. I did do several searches for smelly topics which were interesting but not helpful for this question.

TIA

Panabax
Peegreen,

The drain lines have vent under the vanity and the kitchen sink. If you run an exhaust fans without opening a door/window, the suction will draw air from the grey vents. I experienced this smelly problem but talking to other Airstreamers about the odor issue, we were made aware of this fact. We also got into the habit of putting a bit of deodorent in the grey tank at the same time the Black take get's treated. This seems to have taken care of our odor problems.

JB
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Old 09-07-2006, 04:04 PM   #6
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I've found that adding grey tank deodorizer to the sink and shower traps after dumping and flushing the grey tank helps, too, especially if you don't camp for a while afterwards.
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Old 09-08-2006, 01:43 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the great information. I will see what I can do to clean the tank and then watch what goes down the drain.

What do you think about following the bleach solution with a solution of baking soda?

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Old 09-08-2006, 03:12 PM   #8
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You can do that, if you want.

But it's not like your fresh water intake tank where you need to get ALL the clorine out because you drink it.

Keep in mind, it's a diluted solution to begin with and the two rinsings should flush it all out...no harm, just not necessary IMO.

Shari
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