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Old 01-08-2021, 04:25 PM   #1
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Question Black Tank Question

Asked on another forum, doesn't look like any of the responders really read the question:

Home from 2 week vacation, RV stationary 13 days. Got me to wondering what effect extended stays have on the blackwater tank. There's very little agitation so I assume solids and TP will collect and maybe build up on the bottom. Can it become a problem or am I trying to worry about nothing?

We ascribe to the "you can hardly use too much water flushing into the black tank" philosophy.

Tank valve is closed until it's time to flush.

Only brown TP gets flushed. Yellow gets bagged.

Question has nothing to do with grey water.
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Old 01-08-2021, 06:07 PM   #2
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It sounds as though what you’re worried about is the extended stay at home after returning from your trip without dumping the black tank correct?

Personally I wouldn’t worry about it so long as there’s ample water in there. Are you using any sort of chemical that or enzyme that will break down the solids?
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Old 01-09-2021, 05:00 AM   #3
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I believe you are worrying about nothing. Look at your black tank as a smaller septic tank. All the stuff goes to the bottom until you get someone to pump it out. When you drain, if you do not have a clear waste elbow on your hose get one. The clear will really help in knowing whats coming out.

To me its really not what or how long you hold the waste in the tank. Its how well you clean it out after dumping. If you do not clean out good you will over time get a waste build up. That when dry could become a problem, but thats any other story. Its important to use an RV type chemical for the tank to help with the break down. I go between store bought chemical and what is called the GEO method which is equal parts dawn dish soap and calgon. I always use septic safe tp.
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Old 01-12-2021, 08:49 PM   #4
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Good analogy by be happy. Our sticks n bricks is on septic. That periodic pumping usually includes some pretty compacted material. (Sorry!)

I am amazed you can go two weeks w/o pumping.

I would be hesitant to allow a partially full black tank to sit unagitated (i.e. driving) for two plus weeks. Stuff settles. Among other things, I have seen the material impede/clog the dump valve.

We dump n flush within a day or two of arriving home, then let several gallons of water and a heavy dose of enzymes such as Rid-X do their magic until our next trip.

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Old 01-12-2021, 09:02 PM   #5
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I don't use cleaners in my backwater tank. These kill the "good" bacteria you want to keep growing in your tank.

I will use the new Dawn 5X dishsoap cleaner in my gray water tank with 1/8 tank when I start my tpips. And during my camp season I try to keep the gray tank as sanitary and flushed out often when I'm in 90+F weather.

Note: That gray water smell is sometimes harder to get rid of than the black water.

In my blackwater tanks, I will pour 2 cups of Boraxo (Borax Powder) into the toilet and this helps throughout the summer driving months.

OdoBan and other perfumes will just cover one odor with another so I don't recommend those.

And if you are storing your RV for weeks or months in weather above 32F, IMO, I would fill up the black water tank with fresh water and just let it all be. "Let it be... Let it be... God there will be an answer if you just let it be!" ...or something like that.

Whatever approach you use... when you get your tank "balanced" using on method... stay with it. I.e., if you use RidX then stay with RidX. Don't use all different types of cleaners. Find one that works and stay with it. Switching around with products disrupts the good ecosystem you got working in that tank.
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:43 PM   #6
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When debating the issue of what to do like in your case, I look at what may happen and what the trouble may be if I do it wrong versus how much trouble if I do some process to "do it right".
And that means the answer may be totally different for different folks using different RV as they both vary so much.
So I find you have to look at you, your RV and methods to decide what you want to do.
In my case, I know that if I don't do it right on the black water tank, I will have to clean it out, but that is not big thing for me as I have done far worse work like changing diapers! Cleaning a holding tank certainly lets you stand much further back!
That leaves us doing different things in different situations due to all kinds of things that happen on timing.
We just came back from a short trip and it did not work our as convenient to avoid using the black water as we drove, so we wound up with maybe a third or less of waste which we would normally clean here at home before storing but the weather is not nice (snow in Texas!) so I'm not falling back into working in that stuff just to clean out a tank that I know is easy to clean out with a wand.
So the RV will set until I feel moved to drain it. If it dries and sticks to the bottom, it will soak and come loose when we do move it, so I don't sweat a problem we have never had!
I look at our RV as something to enjoy and use and I do assume that it will take a fair amount of time and effort to maintain all the parts but that doesn't mean I volunteer to do the dirty work when it has never been a real problem on clogging. If I ever find I start having a problem with clogs, I will likely change the routine but until I find I actually do have a problem, I'm not going to sweat over how to deal with the imagined problems that might or might not ever come up.

So have you personally ever actually had a clogging problem or just want to avoid what others work so hard to avoid? Maybe the lesser of the two is to ignore the problem if you don't have one?
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:08 PM   #7
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Dude... I mean Mr. Winnebago Master: I don't know if it's you or me, but these are some serious stoner thoughts!

...Ommm!

...You gotta love these forum comments! ...Let's see what happens next!
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Old 01-13-2021, 08:26 AM   #8
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Pretty much what everybody said above answers your question. Make sure your TP devolves completely in water. Use Septic Safe TP and test it in a jar to be sure.

Everyone has their own method of dealing with these things. We make it a point to always stop for the night, on our last day before getting home, within ~100 miles from home. That way before heading out for home I can do a thorough and extra lengthy tank washing. And the bathroom is then off limits during the 2-hr drive those last 100 miles.

Unrelated to tank cleaning, we do the same thing when we leave home for a trip. We plan for the first day’s travel to be ~ 100 miles.

That way there is no rush leaving that first day and if any problems crop up we have plenty of time to solve them without effecting our plans.

Of course, that’s only possible if you don’t have work that limits your time away. We’re retired now and before that I was self-employed. So we are basically “free” to add extra days to our trip.
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Old 01-13-2021, 10:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
Pretty much what everybody said above answers your question. Make sure your TP devolves completely in water. Use Septic Safe TP and test it in a jar to be sure.

Everyone has their own method of dealing with these things. We make it a point to always stop for the night, on our last day before getting home, within ~100 miles from home. That way before heading out for home I can do a thorough and extra lengthy tank washing. And the bathroom is then off limits during the 2-hr drive those last 100 miles.

Unrelated to tank cleaning, we do the same thing when we leave home for a trip. We plan for the first day’s travel to be ~ 100 miles.

That way there is no rush leaving that first day and if any problems crop up we have plenty of time to solve them without effecting our plans.

Of course, that’s only possible if you don’t have work that limits your time away. We’re retired now and before that I was self-employed. So we are basically “free” to add extra days to our trip.
Fully agree! I find the total purpose of retiring is to stop doing things on everybody else's schedule! We don't have a schedule and deal with things as we see needed at the time.
Some of the time we do preventive and sometimes we don't and the things we find are not a problem like holding tank problems, we stop working to find a cure!
I've also stopped figuring out how to get to work on snow days! I just don't bother!

So if you find you have a problem with clogs, work on a plan but if you don't have a problem, stop working on the cure!!!
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Old 01-13-2021, 03:28 PM   #10
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Morich: I couldn't agree with you more: "....if you find you have a problem with clogs, work on a plan but if you don't have a problem, stop working on the cure!!!"

Now that's good advice.
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Old Yesterday, 05:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCMac View Post
Asked on another forum, doesn't look like any of the responders really read the question:

Home from 2 week vacation, RV stationary 13 days. Got me to wondering what effect extended stays have on the blackwater tank. There's very little agitation so I assume solids and TP will collect and maybe build up on the bottom. Can it become a problem or am I trying to worry about nothing?

We ascribe to the "you can hardly use too much water flushing into the black tank" philosophy.

Tank valve is closed until it's time to flush.

Only brown TP gets flushed. Yellow gets bagged.

Question has nothing to do with grey water.
something a lot of rvers do , is do not put toilet paper in the black tank unless it is of the brown nature , (hard to come up with a clean answer) keep the others in a sealable container and dump in garbage day , and only use what is necessary , my daughter will use half a roll , that does not disolve well , i try to take a dump in camp toilet or rest stop
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Old Yesterday, 05:36 PM   #12
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You asked "what effect extended stays have on the blackwater tank". I think I am missing your meaning, because whenever we have been on an extended stay in our 2018 Navion D model (longest was 4 months) we are using our shower and toilet each day. This means we dump (black first then grey) about every third day (mostly because the grey gets filled first). As such, we don't experience long times between using the black tank and dumping the black tank.
While camping we always put a splash of downy in the pot after each flush - keeps the black tank smell under control (no chemicals needed).
I also don't understand why you "bag the yellow"...unless your black tank is tiny (?). Ours is 30 gallons and (as noted above) it never gets filled before the grey tank is filled.
When we return from a long trip we will use the black tank sprayers to give it a good flush.
Perhaps your point is that you wait for a long time before dumping the black tank. The only issue there is solid waste becoming hard if there is not enough liquid...which is easy to fix with the tank sprayers (and they make ones you put down the pot if you don't have these factory installed already. Hope this helps.
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Old Yesterday, 05:37 PM   #13
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I wouldn't worry about it. We come and go on short trips from home, often leaving our rig sit with a third or half-full black tank - especially in the winter when the water is off and we have dosed the tank with pink anti-freeze (that's what we pee on, through the winter when it's freezing and the water is off.) The solid waste is diluted, as long as you have enough water in there. I start the winter with 2 gallons of antifreeze in an empty black tank and it goes okay through the whole winter, or until I empty the tank. Never an issue, and we don't even use any special toilet paper.
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Old Yesterday, 05:53 PM   #14
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Simple answer. As long as there is lots of water, you shouldn't have a problem over a few weeks.

On our first RV, it sat for months, in hot Texas summer before we bought it. Yes, there was quite bit of build up. I tried several fill and dumps, got the partially loose stuff. Then I used a whole box of dishwasher detergent, filled the tank 1/2 way, and let it sit for several days. That did the trick.

Now, full time living for over 10 years, normally, we dump the black tank every week, but have gone as much as 10 days occasionally. Extra water does the trick, and we use a non-formaldehyde enzyme tablet, each dump. No clogging problems, but odor has been an issue, especially in hot weather.

We have used many types over the years, various levels of oder control. But I must admit, we started using Thetford 'Campa-Chem natural' over the last month. Amazingly, hot or cold weather, it really seems to work noticeably for us.

But each have their own favorite solutions to a common issue.
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Old Yesterday, 06:12 PM   #15
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Black tank scrub

When I know a trip is ending with an extended stationary period, I always do a thorough dump followed by adding about five gallons of water and four or five bags of ice through the toilet. I then do a short dive with some (safe) swervy turns and hard brakes to get the ice moving around in the tank. I then do another dump and flush. This has always kept the tank in great condition.
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Old Yesterday, 06:25 PM   #16
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Why would you "bag" toilet paper, EVER?? We have had motorhomes and trailers since 1983 and never done that and never had an issue. We have stayed in ours for 6-7 months, we have dry camped, and also had children stay with us at various times, but never had issues. Just curious because none of our camping friends have done that either. Black tanks are flushed on a regular basis, so why do you feel it is necessary?
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Old Yesterday, 06:29 PM   #17
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I always dump and flush before parking at home. A fuel up and a dump at the truck stop and I am ready for the next adventure whether it be one day or one week away. Add a little Caravan Tank cleaner and a gallon of water. It eliminates odor. Beats the smell of a black water tank after 2 days in hot weather and you flush your toilet. Phew!
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Old Yesterday, 11:12 PM   #18
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i had posted something like this a while ago. but didnt have any response soooo, maybe people didnt like i9t.. but i have a solution to clean tank out. I use a reverse flush unit. it works perty good... but the big thing was i g0t a paint beater from home depot and use my 20volt dewalt drill and stir the black tank ever couple days. it helps to keep stuff from piling up below the *******. if i had a way to put a photo i would. i think its a thing that all motohomes should have this
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Old Yesterday, 11:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCMac View Post
Asked on another forum, doesn't look like any of the responders really read the question:

Home from 2 week vacation, RV stationary 13 days. Got me to wondering what effect extended stays have on the blackwater tank. There's very little agitation so I assume solids and TP will collect and maybe build up on the bottom. Can it become a problem or am I trying to worry about nothing?

We ascribe to the "you can hardly use too much water flushing into the black tank" philosophy.

Tank valve is closed until it's time to flush.

Only brown TP gets flushed. Yellow gets bagged.

Question has nothing to do with grey water.

Depends on how often you flush while on vacation and if you leave the tank dry. If you flush often, always add enough water to keep the bottom of the tank wet and use a good tank treatment be it an enzyme or chemical you should be good. An RV has a Holding Tank and is not a Septic System with bacterial action so two different beasts altogether and the only time your RV Holding Tank Treatment will be critically in question will be if you are dumping it into a septic system with a leach field instead of a city sanitary sewer system aside from any broader environmental concerns one may have.

If it sits for a year at home and the tank dries out with un-flushed solids in it that is another matter.


Grey water is many times the one that gets more people since the food waste from washing dishes and bacteria from bathing/showering may cause a bigger odor problem than the black water tank and can get to the point of attracting flies and vermin however that is a different discussion.
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Old Today, 07:43 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCMac View Post
Asked on another forum, doesn't look like any of the responders really read the question:

Home from 2 week vacation, RV stationary 13 days. Got me to wondering what effect extended stays have on the blackwater tank. There's very little agitation so I assume solids and TP will collect and maybe build up on the bottom. Can it become a problem or am I trying to worry about nothing?

We ascribe to the "you can hardly use too much water flushing into the black tank" philosophy.

Tank valve is closed until it's time to flush.

Only brown TP gets flushed. Yellow gets bagged.

Question has nothing to do with grey water.

Please clarify "Only brown TP gets flushed. Yellow gets bagged." Are you removing liquid from your tank this way? Or just the TP?

Many folks have given you great answers. My best rule of thumb is this method: K.I.S.S. Keep it simply simple.
I frequently long term park. I have never had a tank issue, other than misreading gauges. I am long term parked at my mother-in-laws at this time. I am required to use a portable macerator pump while here. I am not having any problems with the tanks.

I suggest you place your concern efforts more toward where your next fun day adventures are to be and let nature take care of your tanks.

Happy and fun trails,
Rick Y
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