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Old 10-08-2014, 05:30 AM   #1
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The black tank. Um, need some advice...

So, as I ready for the adventure... Deep thoughts regarding the black tank have arisen.

Our 1964 is equipped with a black tank only. No grey tank. I think the tank is about 15 gallons - not very much holding capacity.

Initially, we'll be at campgrounds with hook ups, so I'm assuming the black tank won't be an issue.

Eventually, I'd like to do a little boondocking but wondering who what where how to dump the tank when not hooked up. I'm not even quite sure who to look for - for services.

Is it a septic service? I did find a website that offers a list of dump stations, but the nearest one is about 25 miles from me.

How is this handled responsibly and are there solutions if the tank is full and there aren't any stations nearby? Can you pay to dump in a port o potty in an emergency (ie tank full and your with the kids)

Just asking because I literally have no idea. What have I gotten myself into? Hahahahaha!
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Old 10-08-2014, 05:55 AM   #2
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If you're truly boondocking, far from any vestige of civilization, you could do it the same way tent campers do. Find a spot with good drainage of the soil, dig a pit latrine. Dump the black tank into it. Once the liquids drain down through the soil, cover the solids with the soil you dug out of the pit.

Otherwise, hold it until you get to an Interstate rest area or truck stop that has a dump station. Civilized areas tend to frown on pit latrines.

You can stretch your holding tank capacity by doing dishes outdoors in a washbasin, and dumping the washwater outside as well, such as in your firepit to extinguish any remaining embers.
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Old 10-08-2014, 06:37 AM   #3
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Another couple of options. Sometimes small towns water treatment plant have a dump station that you can use. Ours does. Another option is a state park in your area. Some charge to dump and others allow you to dump for free. We've used both.
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Old 10-08-2014, 06:42 AM   #4
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Are there ways to expand my current black water tank capacity?
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Old 10-08-2014, 06:46 AM   #5
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You could get one of those wheeled blue things that some use to empty their tanks without having to unhook and drive to the dump station.

Don't know the exact name of it, but someone else here will, and they are probably available at a Camping World.


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Old 10-08-2014, 08:15 AM   #6
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Dumping your black tank won't be much of a problem. Do not dump the black tank on the ground or even in a "pit latrine." That is illegal in every jurisdiction that I am aware of. Some places will let you dump your grey water on the ground but that was not your question. The 15 gallon black tank is not as limiting as you might think. Your family should easily get by for a long weekend with a 15 gallon black tank. You will be able to stretch the tank by using any other facilities that may be available nearby. To dump the black tank, just ask around to find a legal dump site. You can also look online or get an "app" such as Allstays.

For your grey water, you may be able to let that go on the ground if the local rules/laws allow it. There are numerous threads on this forum that discuss the proper technique and etiquette of doing this. However, fewer places allow the dumping of grey water directly onto the ground these days so you will need to do your research. In "the old days" campers without a grey tank might have hauled along a free standing tank for this purpose and then dumped it someplace appropriate.

If you are serious about boon docking, it would probably be a good idea to investigate adding a small grey water tank to your unit to increase your flexibility. I have no idea what is involved in doing this. Others may have some better information on this.
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Old 10-08-2014, 08:18 AM   #7
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Thanks all. The help is much appreciated.

I tried to actually find specs on the blackwater tank, but all I could find was:
http://www.airstream.com/wp-content/...a858765a77.pdf

Not too specific
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Old 10-08-2014, 08:28 AM   #8
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If you want to find out how large your black tank really is, just empty it (legally) some place where you have a fresh water supply and can spend a few extra minutes, and then use five gallon buckets to fill it up via the toilet until the tank is full again. Keep track of the number of buckets you put in and then you will have a good indicator of your tank's capacity. Don't forget to empty the tank again before you leave the dump station. As an added bonus, this test will also help to clean out your black tank!

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Old 10-08-2014, 08:53 AM   #9
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The name of one portable dump tank is "Blue Boy". We use it for grey water storage and dumping, but never black for us. Others do use it for black also. They come in various sizes and can hook to your vehicle ball for short distance travel. There are other brands and Maggie is right in that Camping World sells them.

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Old 10-08-2014, 09:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnArborBob View Post
If you want to find out how large your black tank really is, just empty it (legally) some place where you have a fresh water supply and can spend a few extra minutes, and then use five gallon buckets to fill it up via the toilet until the tank is full again. Keep track of the number of buckets you put in and then you will have a good indicator of your tank's capacity.
As a practical rule of thumb, your waste tank capacity should be at least as large as your fresh water capacity, so that by the time the fresh water tank has been emptied, the waste tank isn't quite full to overflowing.

I can't guarantee that's the case; Airstream designers never have been omniscient and may not have figured out such a simple rule. But it wouldn't hurt to check and see if that's the case. If so, then while boondocking, start with a full fresh tank and empty waste tank, and by the time you're ready to dump you'll have run out of water anyway, with no risk of overflowing the waste tank.

If you're unfortunate enough to have a waste tank smaller than your fresh tank, though, you'll have to devote more effort to monitoring your waste tank status.
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:55 AM   #11
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If you are looking for a good roll around tank (Blue Boy) I might suggest this one...

Thetford Smart Tote

It has some nice features like a self contained hose system, pull handle to attach to your hitch ball and heavy duty wheels.
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Old 10-08-2014, 10:17 AM   #12
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If you are truly boondocking, boys at least can do #1 outside. The toilet flushes with a minimum of water, about a pint per flush. Dish washing will use up most of the fresh water tank. 15 gallons of sewage is a lot of capacity. While you are camping with full hookups leave the dump valve closed and see how long it takes to fill the black tank. On the old trailers the gray water goes straight through so no problem there. Use the toilet only for "business" and see how long it takes you to fill it. Everybody is different so you will have to experiment to find out how long you can last before something needs to be done.
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Old 10-08-2014, 10:42 AM   #13
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The rest area at the bottom of 295 in >Jersey still has a dump station in the back. The Pa. turnpike have them but are charging. FlyingJ and most truck stops have dump stations.

When I went from septic to city sewer I placed a clean out at the curb and dump at home.

What I have done on my daughters SOB was add a tank and cross couple them. Don't forget to cross couple them top and bottom.
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Old 10-08-2014, 10:56 AM   #14
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The Black tank in our 64 overlander is about 15 gals and we can make it almost a week if we are careful (find a bush during daylight hours). gray water is another deal entirely...

I would look into adding a small gray tank if you can - even 10 gals. We found space in the bottom of a rear closet and plumbed the sinks to that tank. This gives us the flexibility to use the trailer at places that don;t allow blue totes or when it's pouring rain at set up time and no one is interested in coping with the tote. 10 gals is a lot of tooth brushing and face washing and a couple of rounds of food prep and dish washing.

We recently spent 7 days boondocking and forgot the blue boy. The black tank was sufficient for the entire time although we were out an about during the day and used other facilities..
I used a small bucket in the kitchen sink to catch dish water and emptied it outside. We brushed teeth, shaved, etc (to the gray tank) and never had to dump. We were careful, however. On day 5 we had to bucket fill the fresh tank (35 gals).
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