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Old 05-20-2003, 07:16 AM   #1
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WHEW!!! Tank Stench...

Help! We took our '55 out for the maiden run and everything went great. One problem, I dumped the blackwater tank and now the thing reeks like a roadside pit toilet on an August afternoon. I added a (bought) solution that had formaldehyde and other good stuff in it but it has done nothing to tame the stench. We are afraid that if I don't get it under contol, it will permeate things. I poured a bucketfull of water in after, do I possibly need more fluids? What should I NOT pour in? What would be the recommended course of action? I am also wondering if the vent line from the tank to the stand pipe is clogged as if you flush the toilet too quickly it gysers. I climbed up on a ladder and detected no odor from the vent pipe like I get near the toilet.
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Old 05-20-2003, 07:55 AM   #2
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Cloggd vent ...

is a high probability. You should definitely get an odor at the rooftop vent. The toilet should not geyser when flushed into a vented tank.

An odor in the trailer also makes me think that the toilet is not sealing well. Sometimes paper gets in the sealing area or the flush valve is not closing fully and you will get some odor. I had this happen to me recently when I had the vent fan running. Odor was sucked into the bathroom. I cleaned out some wadded paper in the flush valve area with a wire and the odor went away.

A good test is whether water will stay in the bowl. If it is sealing correctly, water will stay in the bowl for extended periods.
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Old 05-20-2003, 08:49 AM   #3
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It holds water...I'll check the vent line. It looks like a 3/8" line tee-d into the vent stack. I tried a coat hanger in the vent but didn't have much success. To make matters worse, it has the old shallow vents cover that i can barely get my hand under much less see what the heck i'm poking at. I've dug out mud dauber nests from everywhere else so I think that may be the case again. Not the project I wanted to "dig" into
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Old 05-20-2003, 10:25 AM   #4
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Stench

If the bowl holds water, then the odor must be getting into the trailer by other opening. Do you have a tank leak or an open joint in the vent line? Maybe the tank is corroded through at some point and leaking unseen. Maybe a leak at the base of the toilet.
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Old 05-20-2003, 10:37 AM   #5
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I'll check it all out...I think the odor may be there from dumping and having an empty bowl for a day. There has been no problem for the last 6 months until the contents were dumped (we didn't use it, I just dumped what water was in the tank from before and testing the toilet). I am wondering if there is some sludge that became exposed when I dumped and I need to add more water until I can get a few flush/dump cycles through. This is becoming very perplexing with you mentioning looking for a leak...I'll work on clearing the vent line possibly tonight. Original fiberglass tank starting to make me wonder.
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Old 05-20-2003, 11:49 AM   #6
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I would try throughly cleaning the tank first. Fill 'er up with water, add some bleach and let it set & soak. Empty it out. Add about 10-20 lbs of ice cubes to the tank and drive around to "scrape" any residue free. Fill with water and flush out again. Then maybe once more with the water & bleach soak, just because.

If it still stinks you probably have a leak somewhere and the smell is not actually from the tank, it's just re-constituting the soiled area from previous leaks. Good luck...let us know how it goes.

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Old 06-15-2003, 08:28 PM   #7
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Phred had a lot to say on this and I have had my own experiences that back up what he says. The vent would be the most suspicious culprit here. I would do everything to make sure it is venting and take InsideOut's advice about the aning with the ice cubes. All this I have had expeience with. Now, the part about phred that I'm not sure about, but seems to make sense when I think about it and talk to my plumber buddies.

Chemicals with formaldehye are bad. It kills good (aerobic) bacteria and promotes bad (anaerobic) bacteria. At the moment I have no TT to experiment with, but plan on trying out the advice given by phred. In a proper operating system, when you hit the pedal to flush, the opening in the toilet should create a draft, much in the same way there is a draft in a chimney. That would allow fresh air to be sucked into the black water tank, and, if properly vented would vent to the roof. I hope I make sense here, but like I said, my plumber buddies agree with this line of thought. Good Luck..........
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Old 06-15-2003, 10:01 PM   #8
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Just my .02 to add here...

The first trip with the Bambi, I used chemicals. The last trip to the Midwest rally, I did not. Even after dumping the tank there was a very noticable odor.

For me, I will continue to use the chemicals.

Now if there is a physical problem, then of course, chemicals won't help.

Eric
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Old 06-15-2003, 11:53 PM   #9
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Chemicals

I no longer use chemicals while on a trip and I have never had an odor problem with the Airstream.

I do use a non-formaldahyde product when storing the trailer. There is usually some amount of urine in the tank put there on the way home after the last dump or while I am working on the trailer in the storage yard. A shot of chemicals prevents any odor for weeks, even in Texas summer heat.
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