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Old 03-03-2020, 07:49 PM   #1
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1970 31' Sovereign
Mansfield , Ohio
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Stationary black water tank?

Big question? We will probably camp with friends in spring and fall but this will be a POOL HOUSE in the summer. Wondering if anyone has used a large black water tank for when your airstream is stationary. I would like to use a 250 gallon tank for summer.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? (Have already re-weatherstripped the windows and cleaned those up.) Starting with a shell! CAN'T WAIT to renovate our 1970 sovereign!
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Old 03-03-2020, 08:16 PM   #2
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That's a huge black tank! Will it actually be an in-ground septic tank or an above-ground tank that will need to be emptied? Can't imagine trying to drag around and empty a 250gal tank of sewage. Or will you have a tanker truck come and pump it out? That's a thought, but depending on where you are located might be terribly expensive if the truck has to drive a long distance to get to you.

Sounds like a good idea if you can work out the logistics. Although the Airstream is a travel trailer, not a park trailer, so seems a shame in a way to park it for so long.

Well, good luck! Someone on this site is bound to have good ideas for you!

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Old 03-03-2020, 08:26 PM   #3
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Well that’s gonna stink...
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Old 03-03-2020, 08:45 PM   #4
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Is there a septic clean out at the house? If so, and within less than 100í you may be able to use an electric macerator pump or a water based Sewer Solution. Canít imagine a 250 gallon temporary tank for this purpose...how would it be emptied?
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Old 03-03-2020, 09:10 PM   #5
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Yeah SteveSueMac's suggestion of a poo pump to quickly move it to its designated destination is a much much nicer plan.

A large holding tank is really just a mini cesspool/septic tank and to avoid the attendant foul odors you would need to aerate it with a little air pump so you may as well just get some 3/4 or 1 inch pvc and an electric macerator or the "Sewer Solution" water jet pump if the sewer clean out is less than 2 or 3 feet in elevation higher. I use the Sewer Solution as my everyday disposal method and I like it a lot. It's effective, and the water flush keeps everything relatively clean and sanitary.

You can run the pump whenever you have 10 or more gallons to dispose of.
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Old 03-04-2020, 12:45 PM   #6
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If they were in West Texas. they could just call one of a hundred or so contracting services to come by and empty it weekly with one of their purpose-built trucks. Those blackwater tanks are commonly used in pipeliner trailer camps and drill sites.
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:19 PM   #7
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When it comes to sewer tanks, they fill up a lot faster than you would think. Go with the macerater pump, of if possible run a 3” pipe.
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:20 PM   #8
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For goodness sake (literally) please check with the local health department/zoning commission and put in a legal septic system.
Friends of mine bought a house with an added office and pool cabana, and a cobbled together homemade and uninspected tank and field. The bad work was carefully concealed and they paid top dollar. The home inspector missed the illegal "system" which was draining into a creek that led to a river...
The main house's system was barely adequate for the house, let alone the additions. Once found (it breached when the tank rusted through) they had to immediately cease using half their property and had 45 days to get truckloads of dirty soil removed, a new proper drain system installed and a legal tank installed. The county also required them to enlarge the original house's drain field. The cost was close to $20,000... and they had to fight against paying fines for the prior owner's acts. They may never recoup any of the money from the inspection service or the original owners.

Had the original owners done it right in the first place it would have cost around $6,000 or less.
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Old 03-04-2020, 04:23 PM   #9
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3 inch pipe if the run is downhill, 3/4 or one if uphill.
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Old 03-04-2020, 06:50 PM   #10
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Hello CarrieL,

Looks like you're new to Air Forums... Welcome!

As others have said, there are lots of things to consider.

Some sort of connection to a sewer cleanout connected to the house makes sense. That may permit you dump your tank via a macerator pump or some sort of semi-permanently installed hard-line PVC.

Consider using a cassette toilet in the trailer - they're good for several "flushes" and can easily be dumped into the toilet in the house to empty the contents.

Your question regarding a large tank is not as crazy as it might seem to some. Oil-field camping sites and other temporary to semi-permanent RV camping arrangements use these types of tanks. The local sewer guy can dig a hole and install a large plastic tank underground. It has a "trap" in the dump inlet so it doesn't allow sewer gasses to escape and it has a separate clean-out port so the "honey wagon" can come by periodically to siphon the waste out. In many ways it's like a port-a-john, just below ground, and has a much large capacity. Local code may dictate what's allowable but it's all contained in the tank so there's no leach field or any waste escaping to the ground. This kind of arrangement may be more common than some might think.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:24 PM   #11
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A portable composting toilet may also work. Some members here swear by them and have even replaced their black tank system with them.

This may well be much cheaper, and it has the added benefit of being "greener" for the environment and generating good soil if it's done right, but it involves worms, bacteria (the good kind) and requires some ongoing effort to stir the compost and remove it.
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Old 03-05-2020, 11:45 AM   #12
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Is this a temporary system or long term thing?

I spent the better part of 30 years working out of an office trailer on a construction site. The office trailer(s) had regular residential tank flushing toilets, sinks, and kitchen sinks. The toilets flushed their 1.1 gallon of water down with the waste to a holding tank. The holding tanks were pumped out weekly by a contractor that serviced the port-o-lets on the project. The tank vented through the vent on the trailer.

Your Airstream Trailer doesn't work that way. (typically) You keep the black tank valve closed and fill up the tank. Then dump the liquid containing the disolved solids from the tank. The office trailer didn't have a on-board holding tank. It dumped down a pipe straight to the ground tank. You do not want to keep the travel trailer dump valve on the black water tank open all the time. It causes build up of solids where you don't want them. Should you do the storage tank it will likley need a separate vent system.

I don't remember the charge for the "service" to the tank. But I do remember $178 for some reason. It all depended upon how many units on the site were to be serviced. But a one system at one location will not be a bargain.

Most municipalities had no problem with our temp office trailer on a permited site. They sat on blocks, were tied down and had tires under them. Once you start skirting in, setting on blocks, and removing tires/axels it becomes a different story.
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Old 03-15-2020, 10:26 AM   #13
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STAMFORD , Connecticut
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Why would you ever want to deal with ANY sewage let alone that much?
Swap out your toilet in your RV for a urine diverting, composting toilet.
Have the option to divert urine into a container or into the black/grey tank(s).
Either way, you don't get sewage (liquid + solid).
It was one of the first things I did when I got my Airstream.
My black tank has never seen sewage, not once.
Check out c-head.com.
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