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Old 06-20-2006, 04:20 AM   #1
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I have a terrible odor coming from my black tank. I have tried all sorts of chemicals. I have used the wand to try to clean the side walls. I cannot put the ice in it because it is up on blocks at a campground. I know that there is a vent pipe but I cannot go up on the roof to look at it since I have a tin roof and I am scared to death to walk on the beams under the roof. Any suggestions? I don't know if I am using enough water while flushing. The only toilet paper that goes in there is for a bowel movement the rest goes in a plastic bag. I am wondering if I don't use enough water and there is mostly waste, would that cause the terrible odor? Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:20 AM   #2
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I have a terrible odor coming from my black tank. I have tried all sorts of chemicals. I have used the wand to try to clean the side walls. I cannot put the ice in it because it is up on blocks at a campground. I know that there is a vent pipe but I cannot go up on the roof to look at it since I have a tin roof and I am scared to death to walk on the beams under the roof. Any suggestions? I don't know if I am using enough water while flushing. The only toilet paper that goes in there is for a bowel movement the rest goes in a plastic bag. I am wondering if I don't use enough water and there is mostly waste, would that cause the terrible odor? Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-20-2006, 05:18 AM   #3
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Most of this will depend on how you use it. My inlaws park thiers alot and don't use chemicals. What they do, do (bad pun here but hey), is let the tank fill, then dump it. This is very important. If you don't you'll get solids built up and that does get stinky, among other things. If it's not full, and you feel like you need to dump it, then fill it all the way with water, then dump.

We use ours only once a month, so as we preapre to leave the park, i fill it to the brim with water, drive to the station, then dump. When i get home, I fill it maybe 1/2 way and dump again, flushing it a bit. The i add about 8 oz of the blue stuff and about 3 gallons of water. Both methods of use have kept both rigs fresh smelling.
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Old 06-20-2006, 06:39 AM   #4
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First the basic question that Charliez already covered. Since the trailer is parked and on blocks, do you keep the black tank valve closed at all times except when full and ready to dump and flush? Occassionally I run across an RV owner who thinks leaving it open all the time will make it work like a home system. It won't and you probably already knew that.

Does the odor come only on flushing? If so that is normal and a spritz of air freshener will take care of that when finished flushing.

If the odor can be smelled all the time there is a vent or seal problem.

Although using less water makes the interval between dumping and flushing longer, it is the worst thing you can do with a black tank. For flushing solids along with the used TP I always fill the bowl to the top with water, then flush, then fill it up again and let it sit for easier cleaning a few minutes later, then flush again.

The only reason for using less water is for boonodocking for a few days with no water hookups. In those situations, I fill the black tank as soon as I have access to water, add a bit of dishwashing liquid, then drive it around for a bit to slosh around, then dump and flush.

I also had an aluminum roof on my first RV. I cut two pieces of 1/2" plywood, about 15 inches wide by 5 feet long. I would place the first one across the beams from my ladder point and the second one next to it before I got up. Then I'd place the second one ahead of the first across the beams, taking the other along and so on going out and coming back. No problems with walking on a metal roof that way, I even used them for scrubbing the roof.

That makes it easy to get up there and check your black water vent pipe for obstructions, like dirt dauber nests etc., that can clog it and force gasses to build up pressure in the tank and blow by even good seals.

One last cause is when the vent pipe is installed wrong at the factory. Sometimes they push them into the tank too far and they remain submerged even when the tank is only partly filled. Thus no venting.

An obstruction in the vent is easily recognized as when less than full, even at 1/2 or less full, the toilet "burps" on flushing. That is when a bubble of gas comes up through the flushing water under enough pressure to cause a bubble of gas to erupt before the water can go down.

Hope that helps.
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Old 06-20-2006, 09:20 AM   #5
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I do not leave the valve open in between dumpings. We do not have sewer hook ups, we have a honey wagon come around to do the dumping. That is why I cannot rinse and dump after they have dumped. It makes it difficult without having sewer hookups.

I will take the suggestion about getting two pieces of plywood to walk on the roof, even though I still will not want to do it...lol. My old trailer had a regular roof and I would walk on that all the time with no problems. No way on this one...lol.

I also forgot to mention that sometimes you can smell the odor outside after flushing. Is this part of the same problem? Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:16 PM   #6
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I had a similar problem. It was intermitant so didn't check the vent. When I did, I found that mud dobbers had filled the top of the vent. Got that out and haven't smelled anything since.
Also I have learned that by adding 5 to 7gals. water right after dumping we get several days more use than when I left it empty. That is when boondocking.
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Old 06-21-2006, 04:43 AM   #7
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I assume this is Tom writing??
If you smell the odor outside after flushing that can mean that the vent is open and the wind is taking the odor down from the roof. In that case it is OK.

However, you really need to check during flushing if there is a leak under the black tank. If the bottom of your RV is covered with a belly pan, you need to remove it where the black tank is located.

You see the vent pipe is attached to the black tank with a rubber gasket like a big rubber grommet, and it is just pushed through that to form a seal and to hold it in place. Normally that is the only thing holding it to the black tank.

Earlier I wrote that when installed at the factory it may have been pushed in too far thus submerging it with little water in it, the opposite could also be true-it could be loose and not pushed into the gasket enough.

If that were the case, and it was leaking on flush, either from a loose vent pipe or even a loose connection from the toilet to the tank at the bottom of the flushing pipe, then that could account for smelling an odor all the time.

It could be from just gasses escaping from a loose connection, or an actual leak. Worth checking both.

Do you only smell the odor on flushing and not in between flushes?
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Old 06-23-2006, 04:06 AM   #8
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Roadie, you assumed wrong. This is Darlene writing...lol. Tom doesn't know a thing about trailers...lol. I am the one that does everything. Tom is hardly ever there.

The odor is only when we flush. I don't believe that there is a leak in the tank. I don't ever remember seeing anything on the ground after flushing or in between.

I really do believe that it is coming from the tank itself since I really haven't been using enough water while flushing. I am going to try the geo method and add in the OxyKem at the same time for the next few tank fulls. I think that may solve my problem. I do believe that there is a lot of crud in there since the trailer has never been on the road in over 10 years. If my trailer wasn't up on blocks I would try the ice cube method, but I am not going to move my deck just to do that. Too much work to do that.

I really do appreciate all of the suggestions and advice. I will be going up today in the rain again and see what happens. My sister said she went into my trailer on Wednesday and it didn't smell, but she also didn't use the bathroom and there was no water or anything in it.

One more question, if when I look down into the tank from the bowl and I don't see light, does that mean that there is a covering on the outside of the tank?
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Old 06-23-2006, 10:20 AM   #9
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Darlene then!
OK we all know what they say about assuming, but I usually post that when the poster has two or more names at the bottom, and I don't know which it is??
Darlene is a whole lot easier to type than your nick here.

Not seeing light could be because the tank is translucent but covered by a belly pan, or it could be a black colored tank that is opaque.

As far as chemicals go, they can make your problem worse instead of better. An good friend of mine Mark Nemeth has a great page about the sanitation system with pics and diagrams that you might find helpful here:
http://www.ccis.com/home/mnemeth/plumbing/plumb.htm
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Old 06-27-2006, 04:36 AM   #10
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Roadie, thank you for the link about the water system. Very informative. By the way, I went to the trailer this past weekend and put in 5 gallons of water to start with. I added a little powdered laundry detergent and one packet of oxy-kem. No odor this weekend. The only time that I had an odor was when I was filling the tank before I left. It took a good 20 minutes so hence some odor came filtering up. Otherwise, no bad smells coming from my trailer. Thank you everyone for your words of wisdom.

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Old 06-27-2006, 05:11 AM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RV Roadie:
Does the odor come only on flushing? If so that is normal and a spritz of air freshener will take care of that when finished flushing. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Ernhrts3n8:
The odor is only when we flush. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

During that time, I'll bet you have the bathroom vent fan turned on. Try turning the fan OFF just for the flush and this will probably reduce the odor. If the bathroom window is slightly open, that will allow the fan to pull in fresh air rather than the air from the tank ...but again, I advise to turn off that fan for the flush.

Let us know if this helps.

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Old 06-29-2006, 07:05 PM   #12
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I use an enzyme product for cleaning the black tank and reducing odors. There are many brand names Rid-X, Rodic K40(liquid),to name a couple. Add the approprate amount for your tank size, along with about 5 gallons of water after each pump-out by the tank wagon. If there is any build-up in the tank this should eliminate it and keep it cleared up with regular use. This is uhh-ahem- assuming there is no mechanical problem.
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Old 07-09-2006, 04:37 PM   #13
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I just read a post elsewere in this forum and the poster said to add a couple of tablespoons full of Ridex This makes a great amount of sence as the Ridex is a waste digester (bacteria) made for septic systems These little critters should clean those tanks up real well
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Old 04-19-2007, 06:28 AM   #14
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I will try the rid-x today when I go up for this coming season.

Got a phone call that my awning was destroyed in the storm this past weekend.

Also to note, Tom is not on my signature anymore. Got divorced, he was cheating, little did I know when I was posting this original problem...lol.
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