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Old 04-30-2015, 03:52 PM   #1
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Dump Station Black Tank Rinse Question

Hi,

We have been camping now for a couple of year, I went from never camping in my life to getting an Airstream as my first trailer/RV and now am addicted to camping and spending time in it.

I usually schedule a full hookup campsite before going home as to be able to rinse my black tank throughly. We are planning on camping at Sequoia National Park in a few months and I was wondering if anyone can tell me if I can connect this kind of water hose (picture attached) directly to my sewer rinse connection on the Airstream which I normally use a garden hose for. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-30-2015, 04:08 PM   #2
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Standard water hose connections work. If you add a short hose flex hose to it and hookup will be easier.

Don't use your drinking water hose.
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Old 04-30-2015, 04:08 PM   #3
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It depends, some have a threaded fitting on the end but many have been cut off, leaving bare hose. I wouldn't count on it being available.

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Old 04-30-2015, 04:11 PM   #4
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Btw, close off the black valve. Fill/ flush for a minute or three, open valve, repeat a few times. Also, if you raise the "curb side", you can get a better flush of the flat bottom of the tank.
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:00 PM   #5
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In most cases there are no threads on those non potable water outlets. A couple of things you can do. If the dump station is large and has multiple outlets you can dump the black tank and then pump water from your fresh water tank into the toilet. This is slow, but that will get some clean water into the tank.

If there is a fresh water outlet at the dump station, you can hook up a hose pull it into the bathroom and fill the toilet from the hose. That will fill pretty quick.

Again both of those methods may not be practical since if the facilities are limited, you will back up some traffic waiting to use the dump station.

Keep in mind that dumping a full tank works pretty well. I make it a practice to make sure the tank is full prior to dumping. If it's not full by normal use, I will fill the tank with water from the fresh water tank. I've carried 3, 7 gallon water carriers that I can use to fill the fresh water tank if I'm getting low by my departure date. A large volume of liquid will carry just about all if not all of the waste out of the tank.

Finally if it is a multi-day drive to home, I'll make sure I overnight at a full hookup site on the last day of travel, and flush the tank the morning that I leave.

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Old 04-30-2015, 06:39 PM   #6
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The ones like that that I have seen I would say no. Those have had nothing but a cut off hose at the end. However, there is a device called a hose thief ( available from Camping World and others) designed for us to attach a hose to a campground spigot that has no hose coupling. It slips over the spigot end and holds with a tapered pressure fit. It allows a standard hose to attach thereby allowing us to fill our tank. I've not had the need yet but if the hose thief would grab onto the end it just might work. NOW, if this happens to be a potable water supply it would likely NOT be advisable to use as a black tank flush. If it happens to be a non-potable and at a dump station I say go for it.
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:40 PM   #7
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I bought a little blue rubber gizmo, I believe it is called a "water thief" . I have used it several times with those hoses that the threads have been cut off. You can get it on amazon or campers world. It worked very well...
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Old 04-30-2015, 07:34 PM   #8
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Thank you everyone for answering my question!
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Old 05-01-2015, 06:13 AM   #9
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There's another method...but not for the unsure.....

Dump your black as normal.

Leave black valve open.

Lift the end of the slinky above your head (above tank level) while squatted down.

Open the gray valve, while still holding the slinky above the tank levels.

Let water from the gray tank backflush and fill tank black until you hear minimal water rush sound.

Close gray valve.

Lower slinky end to dump opening. (you have a couple of seconds before water flows to end of slinky).

Let black tank drain again.

Repeat 2 - 3 more times.

I have used this method for quite a few years and have never "dumped" on myself nor on the ground anywhere except in the dump station opening. It keeps the black flushed and cleaner than ANY other method I have used. It is much quicker and thus, more courteous, while at the dump station.
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Old 05-01-2015, 06:51 AM   #10
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Black tank

I guess one question I have is how one can fill 38 gallons of black tank??? Of course, with kids, lots of guests, maybe on the road for months, this might be possible, but the gray water is always the limiting factor for me. Thus, I empty my black water only when home, then flush until clear effluent is seen from the discharge hose.

I like the idea of using the gray water to flush the back tank, but, I am wondering if having the discharge end of the hose out of the sewer pipe while one is opening both tank valves is an issue which could be illegal....like in California?

I am going to get a "water thief" sounds like a good safeguard if the end of the waste water flush hose has been cut off. Thanks for the tip.
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Old 05-01-2015, 07:28 AM   #11
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Another suggestion is after dumping black tank put 10 lbs. ice cubes in toilet & several gals. water, ice cubes will scour tank of sediment, drive to where camping dump, rinse with several flushes. You should see nice white bottom as tank is clean. I did this 1 time last year & my AS is 1976 yrs. old, this was first time, tank, nice white bottom when I dumped. Caveat. Do not leave black valve open when hooked up while using toilet as this lets solids dry & harden in tank.
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Old 05-01-2015, 07:47 AM   #12
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I like the idea of using the gray water to flush the back tank, but, I am wondering if having the discharge end of the hose out of the sewer pipe while one is opening both tank valves is an issue which could be illegal....like in California?
Consider this: Black water contains human bodily fluids. Gray water does not.

On a ship with an infirmary, such a cruise liner, ALL water from the infirmary is considered black water, even the water from sinks, because the water may contain human blood. In your trailer, if you cut yourself and wash the cut in the sink, your gray tank contents should be considered black water because of the blood in the water. If your four-year-old grandkid pees in the shower, your gray tank now contains black water because of the urine that went down the shower drain.

By the same token, as soon as you cross-connect the black and gray tanks to give your black tank a gray-water rinse, you no longer have any gray water, you have two black water tanks, because it becomes possible for human pathogens to migrate from the black tank to the gray tank.

I'm not telling anyone that you can't use gray water to flush your black tank. But if you do, then you should use fresh water to fill and flush your gray tank afterwards to get rid of any possible cross-contamination.
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:03 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
Consider this: Black water contains human bodily fluids. Gray water does not.



On a ship with an infirmary, such a cruise liner, ALL water from the infirmary is considered black water, even the water from sinks, because the water may contain human blood. In your trailer, if you cut yourself and wash the cut in the sink, your gray tank contents should be considered black water because of the blood in the water. If your four-year-old grandkid pees in the shower, your gray tank now contains black water because of the urine that went down the shower drain.



By the same token, as soon as you cross-connect the black and gray tanks to give your black tank a gray-water rinse, you no longer have any gray water, you have two black water tanks, because it becomes possible for human pathogens to migrate from the black tank to the gray tank.



I'm not telling anyone that you can't use gray water to flush your black tank. But if you do, then you should use fresh water to fill and flush your gray tank afterwards to get rid of any possible cross-contamination.

I fully agree, once the waters mix, two black water tanks exist and both need thorough flushing. Thanks, Protagonist.


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Old 05-01-2015, 10:05 AM   #14
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I am going to be contrary here, but why all the obsession about flushing the black water tank? You are never going to make it clean anyway. The only time I bother to flush the black water tank is when I am winterizing, just to get any possible solids out for a long storage period.

Here is what I have done for 30 years of Airstream RV use:

Hook up the sewer hose, pull the black water dump handle, let it empty.
Go inside and fill the toilet to the brim and then flush it.
Go back outside and close the black water dump valve.
Pull the gray water dump valve and let it drain.
Rinse out the sewer hose and replace.
Wash hands. No, I don't use gloves, booties, haz mat suits etc.

Drive away. Total time is about 5 to 6 minutes.
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Old 05-01-2015, 10:20 AM   #15
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Black Flush

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I am going to be contrary here, but why all the obsession about flushing the black water tank? You are never going to make it clean anyway. The only time I bother to flush the black water tank is when I am winterizing, just to get any possible solids out for a long storage period.
I'm with idroba, I only flush the backwater when it's convenient (full hook up, lots of time before departure). It's not needed all the time. On long boondock stays (no hookups) I use a dish sink wash tub and pour the dirty dishwater in the toilet mostly and leave the gray for the shower and bath sink drains. Filling the black tank with dishwater helps push everything out at the dump station. Not sure but I figure the soap may have some action that keeps stuff from sticking to the walls and itself. Just a theory.

Re pathogens and microbes, since the pipes from both tanks are connected at the slinky connector, I figure that the gray tank is always vulnerable from stuff in the black. I doubt the valves stop tiny organisms from going where they want. - Brad
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Old 05-01-2015, 10:27 AM   #16
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I doubt the valves stop tiny organisms from going where they want.
If the valves block the movement of water they block the movement of water-borne pathogens.
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Old 05-01-2015, 10:32 AM   #17
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If it's a decent dump area with a concrete pad that is sloped I will just disconnect the slinky and shoot the fresh water from the dump station back up the discharge pipe into the tanks and let that sludge just come back out and then wash it all down the drain.
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Old 05-01-2015, 10:47 AM   #18
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Consider this: Black water contains human bodily fluids. Gray water does not.

On a ship with an infirmary, such a cruise liner, ALL water from the infirmary is considered black water, even the water from sinks, because the water may contain human blood. In your trailer, if you cut yourself and wash the cut in the sink, your gray tank contents should be considered black water because of the blood in the water. If your four-year-old grandkid pees in the shower, your gray tank now contains black water because of the urine that went down the shower drain.

By the same token, as soon as you cross-connect the black and gray tanks to give your black tank a gray-water rinse, you no longer have any gray water, you have two black water tanks, because it becomes possible for human pathogens to migrate from the black tank to the gray tank.

I'm not telling anyone that you can't use gray water to flush your black tank. But if you do, then you should use fresh water to fill and flush your gray tank afterwards to get rid of any possible cross-contamination.

Sorry....this is bogus in my book. In my house all the gray water and the black water exits the house in the same pipe and ends up in the same treatment plant. It is doubtful that pathogens can survive the RV sewage and chemicals anyway....and they are my pathogens! Nobody else is going to be licking my black nor gray tanks or fittings.

Since both tanks exit a common port and hose, any migration is going to happen anyway, albeit a bit slower. IMO, and I am not trying to be challenging or nasty, but this is much ado about nothing.
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:41 AM   #19
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Between campsites, I'll leave the black tank about a quarter full and drop in a couple of those dishwasher packets, the ones that like eatin' food particles and keep you glasses and silverware "spotless". By the time I arrive at the next campsite and hookup the trailer, I have a nicely agitated black tank ready to dump. I'll fill the tank partially with water to give it a quick rinse.

Worked splendidly in the MoHo as well as in the Airstream.
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:54 AM   #20
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Sorry....this is bogus in my book. In my house all the gray water and the black water exits the house in the same pipe and ends up in the same treatment plant.
Not bogus. Once it enters a septic system or a municipal sewer, it's all black water. Whether it's from your home or from your trailer at a dump station. The comparison is spurious.

In a septic system the discharge is underground— where Mother Nature can filter out the pathogens before the water reenters the ecosystem. And it's one reason why water from a septic system containing human waste is not supposed to be used to irrigate garden plants grown for human consumption; Mother Nature's filters aren't perfect. In a municipal sewer system, it's all treated to kill pathogens before being released above-ground where it can reenter the ecosystem.

The only time the gray-water vs. black-water issue makes any difference at all is if you camp someplace where you're allowed to discharge gray-water onto the ground. If you always camp with full hookups, or always dump your gray-water into a dump station along with your black-water, then you're right; it doesn't matter if you cross-contaminate your gray tank.

Above-ground discharge of water containing any human waste is a health hazard. Insects that breed in water— such as mosquitoes— can be infected with stuff that's in the water, that they can transmit to you from someone else's waste. Or to others from your waste. We all carry pathogens that we've developed immunity toward, but not everyone has exactly the same immunities to the same pathogens. So if you EVER discharge gray-water onto the ground, PLEASE don't use any of the techniques listed in this thread to use gray-water to flush your black tank. If you NEVER discharge gray-water onto the ground, then go right ahead and use gray water to flush your black tank because you'l do no harm; the campground's sewer or septic system will take care of the problem for you.
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