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Old 04-19-2013, 12:18 AM   #1
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Black water tank problem

When toilet is used it does not let all solids go down. And then fills up and unable to use. Do those line/tank rinsers work or if that does not do the deed then can a plumber fix.

Also would replacing blackwater tank be easier and quicker?
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:57 AM   #2
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Does the waste line go straight to the tank or does it 45 into it? If the line has a 45 in it you may have TP built up in the line. Should ask, is you toilet electric flush or pedal flush. If it is electric flush, you may have something blocking the macerator. A friend of mine dropped a paper napkin in theirs and had to remove the toilet to get it out. Or you tank could use a very good cleaning using laundry detergent, water softener, and bleach. I cleaned my tank recently using those items so I could replace the dump valves. Keep flushing until the water run clear.
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:11 AM   #3
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First need to identify if you have any obstruction/blockage in the down spout or tank.
Use of an Inspection Camera with snake/wand and monitor will help. Search results for: 'Inspection camera' Maybe you can rent one.

After a tank is emptied, it should be flushed out with hose or buckets of water. Just as you rinse out the kitchen sink after you pull the plug. Then you want to add water before anyone takes a #2 or places paper in the toilet to allow it to dissolve. Remember, not all toilet paper dissolves easily. Kleenex does not dissolve.
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:47 AM   #4
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Make sure you are leaving the black tank dump valve closed until it is at least 2/3 full; then dump the tank and wash out well. Follow other's advice also.
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Old 04-19-2013, 05:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by First Timer View Post
When toilet is used it does not let all solids go down. And then fills up and unable to use. Do those line/tank rinsers work or if that does not do the deed then can a plumber fix.

Also would replacing blackwater tank be easier and quicker?
We occasionally have a similar issue. This isn't a pleasant subject but if you don't deal with it properly it will make your RV life difficult. We've been full-timing for the last six months so we experience this problem more often as we remain stationary for longer periods.

In our Winnie, when the toilet is flushed, the "solids" drop straight down into the tank. The tank is long, and wide (40 gallons) but not very deep. Sometimes our "solids" will begin to mound up from the bottom of the tank until they reach the bottom of the toilet downspout. Once that occurs, any additional solids quickly fill the downspout between the tank and the ball valve. Since these solids never reach the chemically treated water area, they begin to cause an obnoxious odor VERY quickly. This is usually our sign that action must be taken.

We only experience this problem when we are stationary for more than a few days. Driving the coach agitates the tank and breaks the mound apart.

Here are the things I do to deal with the problem when stationary:
- Never leave the black water dump valve open continuously, even when connected to a sewer line. The tank must have water in it to work properly.
- After dumping the black tank, immediately refill with water to at least 1/3 full. Then add your treatment chemical of choice. Keeping water in the tank ensures that solids drop into a pool of treated water instead of sticking in the bottom of the tank. The amount of water you need to add will depend on the size, and shape of your tank. You need at least a few inches of water in the bottom of the tank.
- When dumping the tank, rinse it well. My externally connected rinse system does a fairly good job but will not remove solids that have stuck to the bottom or sides of the tank. I use that system mostly to add water to the tank. To completely clear the tank of solids, I use a rinse wand which I insert down through the toilet flush valve. I use the long flexible wand that Camping World sells. I usually don't even hook it up to a water source, I just use it to break up the solids and allow my externally connected rinse system to move them out of the tank. Maybe every fifth dump or so I'll hook the wand up to a hose and rinse the inside of the empty tank well.
- During use, take a flashlight and examine the bottom of the tank. I just hold the flush valve open and look into the tank. If I see mounding starting, I use a stick (actually a piece of PVC pipe) to break up the mound. That usually solves the problem for at least a few days.

I hope those tips will help you with your issue. I wish somebody would come up with a tank agitation system that could be activated from inside the coach. Some sort of system that moved the contents around would completely solve this problem. Until then, we are stuck with the manual methods above.

Good luck!
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:28 AM   #6
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Wonder which toilet is involved?
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:11 AM   #7
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Does the waste line go straight to the tank or does it 45 into it? If the line has a 45 in it you may have TP built up in the line. Should ask, is you toilet electric flush or pedal flush. If it is electric flush, you may have something blocking the macerator. A friend of mine dropped a paper napkin in theirs and had to remove the toilet to get it out. Or you tank could use a very good cleaning using laundry detergent, water softener, and bleach. I cleaned my tank recently using those items so I could replace the dump valves. Keep flushing until the water run clear.
It has a 45 degree angle and is pedal flush. We used ingredients you mentioned plus other recommeneded stuff a month ago and worked better but bad again. We do not flush any paper down toilet since we are having problems. We always flush with Hot water but does not do much good.
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:19 AM   #8
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We occasionally have a similar issue. This isn't a pleasant subject but if you don't deal with it properly it will make your RV life difficult. We've been full-timing for the last six months so we experience this problem more often as we remain stationary for longer periods.

In our Winnie, when the toilet is flushed, the "solids" drop straight down into the tank. The tank is long, and wide (40 gallons) but not very deep. Sometimes our "solids" will begin to mound up from the bottom of the tank until they reach the bottom of the toilet downspout. Once that occurs, any additional solids quickly fill the downspout between the tank and the ball valve. Since these solids never reach the chemically treated water area, they begin to cause an obnoxious odor VERY quickly. This is usually our sign that action must be taken.

We only experience this problem when we are stationary for more than a few days. Driving the coach agitates the tank and breaks the mound apart.

Here are the things I do to deal with the problem when stationary:
- Never leave the black water dump valve open continuously, even when connected to a sewer line. The tank must have water in it to work properly.
- After dumping the black tank, immediately refill with water to at least 1/3 full. Then add your treatment chemical of choice. Keeping water in the tank ensures that solids drop into a pool of treated water instead of sticking in the bottom of the tank. The amount of water you need to add will depend on the size, and shape of your tank. You need at least a few inches of water in the bottom of the tank.
- When dumping the tank, rinse it well. My externally connected rinse system does a fairly good job but will not remove solids that have stuck to the bottom or sides of the tank. I use that system mostly to add water to the tank. To completely clear the tank of solids, I use a rinse wand which I insert down through the toilet flush valve. I use the long flexible wand that Camping World sells. I usually don't even hook it up to a water source, I just use it to break up the solids and allow my externally connected rinse system to move them out of the tank. Maybe every fifth dump or so I'll hook the wand up to a hose and rinse the inside of the empty tank well.
- During use, take a flashlight and examine the bottom of the tank. I just hold the flush valve open and look into the tank. If I see mounding starting, I use a stick (actually a piece of PVC pipe) to break up the mound. That usually solves the problem for at least a few days.

I hope those tips will help you with your issue. I wish somebody would come up with a tank agitation system that could be activated from inside the coach. Some sort of system that moved the contents around would completely solve this problem. Until then, we are stuck with the manual methods above.

Good luck!
Very good info. I am in an RV park for 1yr and empty tank about every 10 days. I was not putting water back in so that is something I will start doing. I am going to get wand you are talking about and now I use the end of an old cane and it is not doing any good. yuck!! I need my wife here to help me or better yet take over,lol.
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:36 AM   #9
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Ours has a hand sprayer which works really well getting everything out of the bowl. However, our toilet goes straight down to the tank, which eliminates the problems you're having. What you are describing definitely sounds like blockage in that 45 angle. If this is occurring right after storage and having continuous problems, it's possible something was left in that angled pipe and has hardened. Even if not, there is some blockage and I would get or rent a drain snake of the diameter of the pipe. Then give it a good going over to make sure anything that may have hardened in the pipe is gone, so it doesn't catch anything going down, creating another blockage.
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:54 AM   #10
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Might be worth trying one of the sewer blockage cleaners from the hardware store to see if it will dissolve some of the build up. Once the flush pipe is clean, following the advice about having a little water in the tank and not leaving the dump valve open should keep it that way.

Another possibility is that something has dropped down into the bowl ie a toothbrush, and been flushed and is lodged across the flush pipe causing hangups. Careful use of a plumbers snake (making sure to hold the flush valve fully open) might solve that problem.

Not hard to turn the flush water off and use a mechanics inspection mirror and a torch to see around the first bend and you might see the problem straight away..
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Old 04-20-2013, 06:53 AM   #11
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Might be worth trying one of the sewer blockage cleaners from the hardware store to see if it will dissolve some of the build up. Once the flush pipe is clean, following the advice about having a little water in the tank and not leaving the dump valve open should keep it that way.

Another possibility is that something has dropped down into the bowl ie a toothbrush, and been flushed and is lodged across the flush pipe causing hangups. Careful use of a plumbers snake (making sure to hold the flush valve fully open) might solve that problem.

Not hard to turn the flush water off and use a mechanics inspection mirror and a torch to see around the first bend and you might see the problem straight away..
We have used cleaners from hardware store and a plumbers snake helped some but problem back.

I am at my wits end and will try water wand and then will just replace tank with NO 45 degree angle. Thanks for all input!!
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Old 04-20-2013, 07:21 AM   #12
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I see you have a Tiffin Allegro Bay. I think a tank replacement would be $$$ and if this is a reoccurring problem a new tank may not be a fix. Try this first:
Do the wand cleaning, filling the tank 2/3 or more with water (hose right down the toilet) prior to dumping to get the mound down. Repeat a couple times.
Then I think you need to put 5 gal of hot water, soap, water softener (Geo method) and drive 10 miles or more to shake things up - fill the tank 2/3 with water and dump again.
I think that if you do this Geo/drive/fill/dump every 10 days (your normal dump cycle) and your issue should dissolve within 3 or 4 trips. Plus you tank will smell good:>)
After each dump, add 5 gal of water with the soap/softener mixed in.
Prior to driving, I use 5 gal of hot water, liquid laundry soap, Gain liquid fabric softener then drive/fill dump (vs. the water softener in the Geo method). This cleaned my tank issues.
Then get in the habit of adding 5 gal of water after each dump and dump with 2/3 tank or more you should be OK.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:38 AM   #13
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When I travel between stops I fill the black tank 1/2 way full of water and put in a bag of ice and drive.
By the time I park, the ice is melted and the tank sides are clean. Then just dump it all. Works good for me.
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:57 AM   #14
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Might be worth trying one of the sewer blockage cleaners from the hardware store to see if it will dissolve some of the build up. Once the flush pipe is clean, following the advice about having a little water in the tank and not leaving the dump valve open should keep it that way.

Another possibility is that something has dropped down into the bowl ie a toothbrush, and been flushed and is lodged across the flush pipe causing hangups. Careful use of a plumbers snake (making sure to hold the flush valve fully open) might solve that problem.

Not hard to turn the flush water off and use a mechanics inspection mirror and a torch to see around the first bend and you might see the problem straight away..
Tony you must be speaking the King's English! I hope somebody doesn't use a "torch" in their holding tank!
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