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Old 08-06-2015, 08:08 AM   #1
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BIG Mistake

Yesterday we were unhitching and setting up in Frankenmuth, Mi. I do the car things, my husband who never really goes with me does fresh hose and power. He accidently hooked fresh hose into black tank cleanout. Unknowing we left went to lunch and got phone call from campground that water was pouring out of bottom of trailer, but a very kind neighbor saw it and turned water off. We rushed back, opened door, found all former throw rugs soaked, threw down all former towels. Toiler half full, shower full, water dripping underneath.

So here is my question the water we saw and cleaned up was not sewer water but was clean, no odor or anything. We let grey out( we did not have full hookups) with campground permission because we could not move because shower was full. Then we went to dumpstTion and added more grey and dumped that then black. Back to space and cleaned inside flor, shower bathroom.

I am grateful it was not smellue and horrible but do not understand why it wasnt smellie and horrible...can someone pleSe explain? Thank you.nbte nice lme green duck tape on cleanout intake now! Thanks
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Old 08-06-2015, 08:14 AM   #2
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Old 08-06-2015, 08:23 AM   #3
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It was all black water, just diluted. If your black tank was mostly empty prior to attaching the hose then the diluted mix probably didn't have a strong a smell. If it were me I'd consider discarding the throw rugs and towels. I'd also wash down and scrub everything in the trailer that got wet with a mild bleach solution to disinfect and clean all surfaces that got wet.
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Old 08-06-2015, 08:37 AM   #4
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Sorry SBB - that's a tough day!

I suspect if you were just hooking up, your black tank was probably empty on arrival, yes? You probably didn't have much in the tank compared to the many gallons of water introduced in to the trailer so with that kind of a ratio, it wouldn't be an overwhelming smell. However - the advice on disinfecting surfaces with bleach and throwing away the throw rugs is spot on.

You should also replace your hose for city water connection. Wouldn't want to cross contaminate...

Good tip on the lime green tape! For starters, those 2 connections shouldn't be so close anyway, but a good visual warning is a great idea!

Sorry for the experience. Good luck!
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Old 08-06-2015, 08:56 AM   #5
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On the other hand, how does black water back up into a trailer anyway? It can't back up through the toilet; there's a valve that holds water in the bowl (unless it's a residential toilet, which I doubt), and so water shouldn't be able to back up through the closed valve. And besides, if it backed up through the toilet, the toilet would have been brim-full, not half full, until the black tank was drained. There wasn't a sewer hookup, so the black and gray dump valves should have both been closed and the two tanks couldn't be cross-connected to allow the water to back up from the black tank, through the gray tank, and up into the shower pan.

I'm not denying it happened. I'm just wondering how water got from the black tank into the shower pan when they're not normally connected to each other, in case the incident did any more damage than just getting things wet.

My best guess so far is that once the black tank was full, it put pressure on the flush fitting; which if memory serves has a check valve to prevent black water from flowing backwards through the flush fitting, and so a leak developed around where the flush fitting enters the tank.

My second-best guess is that water backed up in the black tank all the way into the tank vent pipe, which isn't strong enough to support the weight of a water column (it's only designed to vent smelly air, after all) and the vent pipe developed a leak that somehow was able to allow water into the bathroom.

I don't have a third-best guess, but I'm sure other folks might have ideas that I've missed.

In any case, there's probably a leak somewhere that didn't have a leak before. Something you might want to check out.
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:02 AM   #6
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Good tip on the lime green tape! For starters, those 2 connections shouldn't be so close anyway, but a good visual warning is a great idea!
I would have used black tape on the black tank flush and blue tape on the fresh water inlet, but as a former engineer I'm anal about stuff like that. And then I'd wrap the same color tape around end of the hose that's supposed to hook up to that fitting. That may not be idiot-proof, but it is engineer-proof, which is almost the same thing!
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:18 AM   #7
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Well, there is a reason Protagonist has 7,022 posts on this site. Very well thought out answer.

The only additional comment I would think of is that you have to consider the potential contamination issues here. Contaminated water, particularly black water, even if well diluted is, as I see it, a significant problem for all the floor structure. Possibly to the degree that you may need to get your insurance company involved because of "true" clean-up/correct costs.
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:21 AM   #8
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I've been told that on some trailers, my FC 25RB for example, the sink in the bathroom was also drinking to the black tank. What I find most puzzling is that there was water in the shower pan. That just doesn't compute. Not sure of the layout of the shower and toilet in that trailer. Is there a chance that the vent tubes are somehow interconnected if the two parts are on the same side of the trailer. Water filled the black tank, started backing up the vent tubes and then if the vents were interconnected back flooded into the grey tank until it to filled up? The sentence about going to the dump station "and added more grey and dumped that then black" throws me off a bit.
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:39 AM   #9
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I recall reading another post somewhere else about somebody who did the same thing. In his case the black water escaped upward through the vent stack and ran down the side of his trailer.

The fact that yours emptied inside is disturbing. Also disturbing is how it got into the shower. If the vent stack is cracked that needs to get fixed or black tank gasses will forever vent to the inside of your trailer. A potentially explosion problem, not to mention stinky.

If your throw rugs got soaked then your plywood subfloor is wet. You need to take agressive action now to dry it or mildew will be the next problem.
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:42 AM   #10
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I added more grey water so when dumping black the hose would clean. My black tank was not full when dumping, my grey when I pulled lever at the site was beyond full. My rv guy thinks my pipes might be mis hooked and the cleanout goes to grey instead of black. When I dumped the black it was not diluted. All things that got wet and were used for cleanup were disgarded.
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
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We let grey out( we did not have full hookups) with campground permission because we could not move because shower was full. Then we went to dumpstTion and added more grey and dumped that then black.
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The sentence about going to the dump station "and added more grey and dumped that then black" throws me off a bit.
Actually it makes perfect sense because they dumped the gray tank onto the ground first. Your speculation about interconnected vents also makes sense. That would be the connection between the black and gray systems that I was missing.

In your scenario, the black tank backed up into the vent, drained into the gray tank through its vent, and then backed up into the shower when the gray tank was full, and spilled over onto the floor once the shower pan was full.

Elegant in its simplicity. Wish I'd thought of itÖ All that remains is to find out if the black and gray vents are indeed connected, which a call back to Jackson Center should be able to answer without tearing anything apart to look. If so, then worries about a leak can be laid to rest.
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Old 08-06-2015, 10:10 AM   #12
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Sorry this happened to you.

The vents on my Safari are definitely connected. I know this because I've had the entire bathroom apart, but more obvious is the fact that there is only one vent on the roof of my trailer and two tanks. If you have only one roof vent the two tank vents must be connected.

Is your black tank above the floor?
In my Safari, the black tank is above the floor and the grey tank is below the floor. If i filled the black tank to overfull, the water would either come out of the toilet (which it can't because of the toilet flush valve) or go up the vent stack. Once it reached the T for the grey tank vent it would run in to the grey tank until the grey thank was full, then come out the shower drain as it is below the black tank. If you filled the grey tank beyond capacity it would come out the shower drain before going up the vent because the shower drain is lower than the vent and there is no valve on the shower drain like there is on the toilet.

The other possibility is that if the black and grey valves are either open, partially blocked open or leaking (they're only rubber seals after all) water can flow from the black tank to the grey tank. again in my Safari because the black tank is above the grey tank, if you open the dump valves with the cap on the sewer connection, black water will flow downhill and fill the grey tank which will fill the shower pan once the grey tank is full.

I would definitely drop the belly pan and makesure the insulation under the floor gets a chance to dry out. Gives you an opportunity to inspect the floor, frame and maybe even consider replacing the stinky pink insulation with foam.
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Old 08-06-2015, 10:18 AM   #13
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How do I drop belly pan? Does the whole thing come down in one piece? Rivits or screws?
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Old 08-06-2015, 10:22 AM   #14
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I think I'm missing something ...

If the freshwater hose was connected to the dump line clean out connection, why didn't the water just go down the dump hose into the sewer?

Also, how did the water enter the trailer? Dump valve(s) open?
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