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Old 06-22-2018, 08:44 AM   #1
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Unhappy Black tank venting

Our black tank has been causing us grief for a few weeks now. After emptying the tank, within a day or two it appears full again. One plunge with the plunger and all is well again for a day or two. Checked the roof vent and all is clear. Even sent the metal snake down the vent to be sure. The commode is a couple of months old and we did not have this problem after install until a few weeks ago. Wondering if there is another vent or valve somewhere in the system. We do not have any bad odours in the motor home. The black tank seems to empty fine.
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Old 06-22-2018, 09:37 AM   #2
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If you are saying that it gets so full that it is actually backing up to the toilet bowl level, and then you are plunging and it goes away, there is a possibility that if you are not using enough water in the flush that the solids are "plopping down" into the tank and just sitting right under the pipe from the toilet. That will kind of form a barrier such that then when you flush, everything just sits on top of that, eventually builds up into the pipe, and it appears that the tank is full when it is not even close.

It's the one thing I don't like about both of the Journey's I've had. The tank is really quite shallow and if a good quantity of water is not flushed down with solids, the solids can just pile up, if sitting in a campground. Plenty of water in the flush and using quick-dissolving TP is what worked for me. That keeps everything moving down the tank and away from the area right under the toilet pipe.
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Old 06-22-2018, 10:18 AM   #3
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Black tank venting

As NCC-1701A mentions, if you do not use enough water you can build up a “pyramid of poop” directly under the toilet. I see you have a 2008 coach, I am assuming you have not owned it since 2008, the point is you do not know how it was treated before you became the owner. IIIWY I would get both the black and grey tanks pressure cleaned. That will remove any build up in the tanks.

After I dump I fill the tank to 10-15% of it’s capacity that gives the tank a starting point. It may seem counterintuitive but the toilet is not a place to save water, use plenty to flush and you will have no problems!
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Old 06-22-2018, 10:32 AM   #4
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And if there's not a straight down into the tank, makes the use of more water even more critical....if you had a bore camera that attached to a smart phone or laptop, you could see what you're dealing with...
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Old 06-22-2018, 10:37 AM   #5
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I'd like to add that I don't rely on the "flushing" action of the toilet, as compared to home toilets, RV toilets are pretty darned weak in that function. I put about a 1/2 a bowl full to start, then when done, top it off and flush. That way it's a big "whoosh" going down vs a relative trickle.

Gee....what a nice topic to discuss!!!
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Old 06-22-2018, 10:41 AM   #6
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Treating your tank should not be overlooked. You may want to try an Extreme Cleaner. One is available from Happy Camper: Happy Campers-Odorless-RV Holding Tank Treatment for Black and Grey Water Tanks

Or have your tank professionally cleaned.
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Old 06-22-2018, 11:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bob caldwell View Post
..if you had a bore camera that attached to a smart phone or laptop, you could see what you're dealing with...
If you ever ask to borrow my bore scope don't be surprised if I say NO.
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Old 06-22-2018, 11:39 AM   #8
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Black tank venting

I carry what I’ll call my flush water hose. It’s used for nothing more than to run from the outside spigot to the toilet. I flush the tank every couple of months with full hose pressure while hooked up to septic in the campground. While the water is going in full blast I’ll whirl it around to agitate any residual stuck to the bottom. I’ll continue flushing full force until the tank drains clear. A good 15 minutes is all it takes. Keeps my system working great. When done I’ll coil the Hose and store it in a heavy plastic bag until needed again. You’d be surprised what comes out after you think you’ve drained it well. The agitation forces the heavy stuck on solids loose and out where they belong.
When I’m done I’ll put 1/4 tank of water in. I like to have some water in there so it sloshes around while driving and to keep odors low. JMO
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Old 06-22-2018, 12:12 PM   #9
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If you ever ask to borrow my bore scope don't be surprised if I say NO.
Gee...I'd wipe it off.......maybe!....lol
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Old 06-24-2018, 06:20 AM   #10
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Black tank venting

Appreciate all your thoughts on this “code brown” topic. We’ve had the motorhome for three years and haven’t had any issues until now. One of the common threads I see in your answers seems to be using a lot of water when flushing solids. I’m thinking that we probably aren’t using enough. We do put water in the tank after cleaning though. Anyway appreciate all your ideas and will write a follow up when we solve this issue.
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Old 06-25-2018, 10:02 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Marpie View Post
Appreciate all your thoughts on this “code brown” topic. We’ve had the motorhome for three years and haven’t had any issues until now. One of the common threads I see in your answers seems to be using a lot of water when flushing solids. I’m thinking that we probably aren’t using enough. We do put water in the tank after cleaning though. Anyway appreciate all your ideas and will write a follow up when we solve this issue.


If you suspect you have not been putting in enough water you probably have not been get the tank professionally cleaned then use more water!
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Old 06-27-2018, 05:50 AM   #12
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Black Tank Solution

It’s been a few days since we emptied the black tank, gave it a good cleaning and then added water to the tank. We are using a lot of water each flush as most here suggested and we’re not having any problems. It has been working fine since. I think when we are parked in places where we’re not on city water we became stingy with the water when flushing and continued the bad habit. Of course we searched for a more serious problem when the system kicked up, instead of using “common sense.”
Thanks everyone for the flushing lessons.....ugh.....!!!
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Old 06-27-2018, 07:51 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Marpie View Post
It’s been a few days since we emptied the black tank, gave it a good cleaning and then added water to the tank. We are using a lot of water each flush as most here suggested and we’re not having any problems. It has been working fine since. I think when we are parked in places where we’re not on city water we became stingy with the water when flushing and continued the bad habit. Of course we searched for a more serious problem when the system kicked up, instead of using “common sense.”
Thanks everyone for the flushing lessons.....ugh.....!!!
Another suggestion that we're religious about. When you're ready to hit the road and the tank is empty, put about 5-10 gallons of water in and drop in either a 1/2 cup of Dawn dish soap or a couple dishwasher soap tablets. Let it slosh around the entire time your driving.
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Old 06-27-2018, 01:26 PM   #14
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Mine seems to back up after the first use of any TP at the first bend under the toilet before it goes straight down into the tank. Doesn't seem to matter how much water I flush (I'll even fill up the bowl with water) the TP and solid waste doesn't seem to want to round the first bend. Frustrating.
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