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Old 05-31-2016, 07:34 PM   #1
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The Geo Method - Black and Gray Water Tank Maintenance

Just saw this video about using the Geo Method to get rid of black water tank smells, and to maintain both the black and the gray tank.

The Geo Method (don't know why it's called that) is basically using water softener, laundry detergent, and chlorine bleach.
https://sites.google.com/site/cbruni/

Anyone here use the Geo method.

Here is the video:
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Old 05-31-2016, 07:54 PM   #2
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I have been using this method off and on for a couple of years now. There are several threads discussing it.
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Old 05-31-2016, 09:22 PM   #3
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Makes sense.

Calgon water softener doesn't actually soften water— the suspended calcium salts in the water are still there— but the Calgon does keep those salts in suspension and prevents them from precipitating out onto surfaces. Not really needed unless you have hard water.

Dish soap reduces water surface tension and allows the water to soak into cracks and pores in materials that it otherwise wouldn't, including into solid wastes. This helps the wastes to break down into smaller particles for easier discharge, same way it helps remove food particles from dinnerware and dirt from clothing.

Bleach kills microorganisms, including the aerobic and/or anaerobic bacteria that break down solid waste, so decomposition doesn't happen in the black tank. No decomposition, no smell. The waste will eventually decompose— after it's dumped into a septic tank or municipal sewer system and the bleach is diluted to the point that microbes can live in the wastewater. But the waste doesn't have to decompose inside the black tank before you dump it.

I haven't (yet) traveled to many places that have hard water problems, except southwest Oklahoma where my kid brother lives, so I generally skip the Calgon. But the dish soap and the bleach definitely get used.

I formerly used the enzyme treatment packs for the black tank, until I realized that they are an aid to decomposition and it's better if the waste only dissolves, not decomposes, in the black tank. So now I use the bleach instead to prevent decomposition and rely on the dish soap to dissolve the waste.

Besides, in terms of cost, Dawn and Clorox are both cheap, and there's no point literally throwing money down the drain by buying more expensive tank treatments.
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Old 05-31-2016, 09:45 PM   #4
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Thanks Protagonist, that was very helpful. Very interesting set of facts. We have soft water here in Seattle area. But of course as we travel to different locations we may experience different water types.

We've always thrown the little packets down the toilet and so far we haven't had a "smell" problem. But I like the idea of using this method, seems cleaner.

Time to buy Dawn and Clorox and start using this method.
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:27 PM   #5
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The Geo Method has been around a long time. You can find many threads on many RV forums.

I use Pure Blue Power. Keep going back to it. Use what you like, but stick with it. I think a lot of issues come from just plain neglect.
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Old 06-01-2016, 03:07 PM   #6
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I'm surprised that this hasn't been mentioned (that I've seen) in any of the tank treatment threads. For over 20 years, as devotees of the simpler is best theory, we've used Pine-Sol. It has a soap component and a surficant plus a pleasant smell. After we dump the tanks, we add a couple of gallons of water to the black tank and about two cups of Pine-Sol and splash about half a cup in the Lav and Galley sinks. We've never had a smell since we started with the Pine-Sol, plus you can use it as a general cleaner for all hard surfaces in the trailer (think grease splatters around the stove) and diluted as a no-rinse cleaner for the floors.

Just my 2-cents worth, YMMV.
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Old 06-01-2016, 03:34 PM   #7
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We've evidently been doing this unknowingly for some time now. Our greatest limitation for dry camping, which we do a lot of, is the gray water. So we use a basin in the sink in the kitchen and periodically dump it in the toilet. I guess that takes care of the dish soap. I haven't used any bleach yet and will add that moving forward. No odor in the three years we have owned the trailer.
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Old 06-01-2016, 03:43 PM   #8
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Protagonist nailed it
Calgon water softener is probably Sodium Carbonate (which is the good old fashioned washing soda used by women a century ago to counteract hard well water). The use of bleach is for me problematic, but as protagonist points out, it essentially kills bacteria and that stops decomposition, and thus smell.
For years we have been told not to use formaldehyde containing product since it interferes with septic tanks. Any one on a septic tank knows using bleach in excess will kill the good bacteria that reduce waste in the septic system. So while it works, you are possibly just passing your problem on to the park system. I have found the enzyme product pretty effective and I don't have that "RV smell" anymore either.
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Old 06-01-2016, 05:57 PM   #9
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I'm glad this was brought back up again as a topic. I saw it several years ago then completely forgot about it.

Our problem is not the black tank but really bad odors from the grey tank. I mean really strong. I couldn't figure out why. Recently, I put a clear attachment on the dump hose and released the grey water. I was shocked to see that, in spite of my best efforts to filter what went into the grey tank, that obviously bits of food, etc. had made it into the tank and over time had not flushed out. That instead I was conducting a chemistry experiment in my grey tank based on the "growth" of what appeared to be mold type looking stuff. Just like what we used to grow on old bread in high school science lab. Even though I completely dump my grey tank and use the store-bought packets to treat it. So, I'm going to try this method in both tanks and see where I get.
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Old 06-01-2016, 10:52 PM   #10
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Calgon Water Softener contains the active ingredients zeolite and polycarboxylate. It is not the same as "good old washing soda". Washing soda is a precipitating chemical. It was cause the hard water solidify. This can cause a coating on stuff and can make clothes actually feel rough. Calgon and similar products, are non-precipitating, and keep the minerals in solution. Originally, Calgon was made ofpowdered sodium hexametaphosphate (amorphous sodium polyphosphate). The change in formula was made for the same reasons they are removing phosphates from fertilizer.
My problem with the Geo Method is that powdered Calgon seems to only be available on Amazon and as of today, was $55 for 2 40 ounce boxes. Putting 16 ounces of the stuff into the tank per treatment makes this a rather pricey proposition.
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:05 PM   #11
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I should note that the recommendation for POWDERED Calgon came from what I think is the "Official" Geo-Method site: https://sites.google.com/site/cbruni/
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:53 PM   #12
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Really strong odors from your grey tank means that you aren't using Pine-Sol and that your Grey Tank "Vent, V200, Automatic," P/N 600538 is stuck. It's a $4 or $5 part at any plumbing store. It's mounted on the drain hardware under the sink.

Here's what it looks like:
https://www.ferguson.com/product/pro...FQ-raQodUDwDiw
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:23 AM   #13
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If you look at the video in the first post on this thread you'll see that the guy uses only liquid products - he doesn't have to dissolve anything - which appears much easier to me.
I can already see from watching his video that I have not been putting enough water back in my tanks after dumping them. I've put some, but not the number of bowls full that he has been using.
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:53 AM   #14
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Last summer we had a terrible problem with odors especially when on the road. When you opened the door the smell could knock you over.
I used the Pine-sol (original - it is a disinfectant) and Walgreens bath beads receipe and all the odors went away quickly! The black tank looked brand new after dumping and not one smell. It seemed that the RV tank stuff purchased at Wally world was worthless.

http://www.ncfcrv.org/calgon.pdf
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