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Old 02-19-2007, 06:05 PM   #1
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I am new to the camping world. My holding tanks smell really bad. I am not sure if its the black or gray water tanks. I have used the chemicals and filled both tanks up and drained. Any sugestions?

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Old 02-19-2007, 06:05 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: tx
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I am new to the camping world. My holding tanks smell really bad. I am not sure if its the black or gray water tanks. I have used the chemicals and filled both tanks up and drained. Any sugestions?

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Old 02-20-2007, 03:07 AM   #3
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Hi,! One thing that I have done, actually it's a part of our "end - of - season" ritual, is to fill the tanks about a third full, add a cup of bleach, and a 1/4 cup of dish soap to each, then go for a drive, with lots of starts and stops . Then, strait to the dump station. I think the "sloshing" helps get the "icky" off of the sides and top of the tank. Also, don't leave the tanks un-emptied between tris, no matter how little is in them....CROW
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Old 02-20-2007, 04:45 AM   #4
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Welcome to IRV2.
The sewer system of most RVs are designed very much like the those in a stick home, excepting the tanks, and if working properly there should be no orders escaping into the living area.

Under each sink and the shower there are traps that hold water to prevent the orders form backing up. Check all of the lines, and the hand tight nuts and seals on the traps to insure they are sealing properly.

After flushing the toilet hold the pedal or hand operated flusher in the halfway position to allow 2/3 inches of water in the bowl, just like home. Observe that the level of the water remains, proving the seal is not leaking. If you put a hose or anything down into the tank do not allow the valve to close on it, that will deform the valve and ruin the seal.

The last area I can think of is the vent line that goes up through the roof. Remove the cover and make sure bees and other critters have not built hives etc, in it. You can run a wire down into it and then back flush with a garden hose.

The chemicals used are designed to break down waste and tissue, and should be limited to the products sold at RV stores, Wally world etc. for that purpose. Others such as bleach, ammonia and formaldehyde can cause damage to campground septic systems. I happen to prefer TST RV Toilet Treatment, only because of it's self measuring dose bottle that makes it quick, easy to use. It happens to have a fresh mint order however, if the system is working properly, you could put a gallon of French perfume in it and you should not be able to smell it.

My thoughts on tissue: RV tissue is very expensive and any septic friendly tissue will do. If you take a square of the tissue you are considering, place it in a glass of water and shake and if it dissolves immediately you are good to go.

Good luck correcting your problem, I'm sure others will jump in with more help, that's what IRV2 is all about, keep us posted.

added on edit:
We also use Crow's procedure, except we do it every time we're on the road. we just use 4/5 gallons water, a dose of treatment and sometimes dump in a bag if ice cubes to rattle around in there.

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Old 02-20-2007, 05:20 AM   #5
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First of all, let me add my welcome to iRV2. Glad you've joined us.

You've received some excellent advice thus far. The only thing I'd add to Mike's list is, if all else fails, to make certain the vent pipes are intact from the tanks all the way to the roof. If they aren't, the odors are released in the walls of the RV with obvious results.

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Old 02-21-2007, 02:52 PM   #6
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Basically what is being described is referred to as the"geo" method. You use original Dawn dish soap. I add about a cup of Dawn and fill the tanks about 1/2 full. You can also add crushed ice to the black tank through the toilet. Personally I have started doing this a couple times a year, when I know I am going to a full hookup site. Do it before leaving home, when you get there, drain both tanks and close the valves. No more stinky tanks, and no more bad readings from the tank gages.

Also don;t forget to sanitize the fresh water tank a couple times a year too. About 1/2 cup of bleach, fill the tank with water. Run the water pump until you get a really strong bleach smell from the faucets and turn everything off. Wait a couple hours and flush the system really well.
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Old 02-21-2007, 05:45 PM   #7
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Thank to all for the ideals. Most were common sense but I had not thought of them. I now have some good starting points. I will try each sugestion and leave feed back as to witch one works. It will be interesting and might help another with the same problem.

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