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Old 08-02-2011, 11:02 AM   #15
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Working Up 2 No. 2

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Originally Posted by SiberCamper View Post
I stick with my original plan: pee only. At least for a while. Then I'll get braver. Until then I'll make trips to the vault for number 2.
If you cap off the liquid diet with a trip or two eating only high fiber cereals and breakfast bars, then you can try an excursion eating what you'd like


Haw... tons of good advice in this thread, just wish I wasn't eating breakfast while reading it!

I got one of those white wands from the camping store, drape a garden hose over the bathroom window sill and spray out the black tank after every three or four drains. Meanwhile, the slide valve is open, a garden hose is hooked to the cleanout. It's like a car wash inside. Health caveats: wear glasses, don't retract the wand into the toilet throat with pedal depressed; and, NEVER lick your lips if you forget and get spritzed!

My owners manual says introduce 5 gallons of water into the black tank, after draining and closing the slide valve. I like the ice technique, too. If you dump two bags before departing, you've killed two birds with one stone: the floating ice scrubs your tank and sensors, AND you've added water.
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:47 PM   #16
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The "Special RV Paper" is a waste of money and is over priced. The RV stuff is just single ply. I took some double ply, separated the plies, and put a sheet of each RV and regular toilet paper in a cup of water. The next morning, I stirred both and they both dissolved the same. Never had a back-up or blockage.

A friend pours a 4oz bottle of Dawn down the toilet before he heads home.
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:55 PM   #17
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Sam's brand toilet paper. can't beat it. Wal-Mart has a pack of 6 little bottles of citrus flavored(sented) tank deoderizers. Can't stand the perfume smell from some of the additives. Have no smell at all.
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:31 PM   #18
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Yep, Member's Choice(Sam's), is what I use with zero issues.
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Old 08-02-2011, 04:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glennwest
Two years wife and I full time. We have never used "special toilet tissue". Never had an issue either. Tank had some build up when we got the unit used and bagged ice took care of that. Basically if tissue will dissolve in water, good to go. We have never used chemicals either.
That's why we would never buy used.

How can u not use chemicals? Whew!!!!!
The Theford chemicals do more than just odor control, they breakdown the solids chemically.

We don't full time in ours so the expense of dissolvable tissue and proper chemicals is near zero of the total RV budget. The effluent at dump time is completely liquid and of very low odor. After a few bowels of clean water, the tank is spotless inside.
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:02 AM   #20
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You believe it helps to break down solids? We dump our tanks app 6 days. We use a lot of water. I repeat, we have never had an issue and odor is not a problem. When it is time to flush and it "bumps" may get some odor. Chemicals stink.
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:48 AM   #21
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One trick that works well and I learned it here on another thread is to use Pine Power cleaner. Not Pine Sol but Pine Power found in dollar general stores. It's only $1.50 for a quart and adding 3 gal of water with a cup of this after dumping and letting it swish around while you drive will take care of it all. The pine smell is great and it helps "lube" the tank so stuff doesn't stick.
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:54 AM   #22
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Quote:
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You believe it helps to break down solids? We dump our tanks app 6 days. We use a lot of water. I repeat, we have never had an issue and odor is not a problem. When it is time to flush and it "bumps" may get some odor. Chemicals stink.
Yes, it does help to break down the solids in my experience, and control the odor of the effluent. I've tried all the other brands and none do as good a job as the Theford blue stuff. I can honestly say that I've never tried no chemicals since I could see a difference in going from brand to brand. Since I've been RVing with my family since I was 6 or 7 years old and Dad always used chemicals as well, I really thought everyone did until this thread. we've gone a couple of weeks sometimes with a little poo in the tank from the last trip and when flushing a little odor comes up. One quick dose of the Theford and all is well again until we fill the tank and dump, so it does really kill odor quickly.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:07 AM   #23
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To each his own, but again we don't have a problem and nothing goes in tank except water and human waste. You are helping the economy buying this stuff though.
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Old 08-04-2011, 10:44 AM   #24
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I'm helping my economy by not buying the over-priced stuff that you have to use twice as much of to get clean results.

I've tried the RV tissue. It costs twice as much and you have to use twice as much. Now, just who's economy is that helping?
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Old 08-04-2011, 10:50 AM   #25
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We have been full time for over 2 years. when flushed I can see a clean bottom in my tank. Again, no problem.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:13 PM   #26
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I have used the Blue stuff and many others other a number of years. Nothing has worked as well as the Geo Method that I have posted below. We have no smell and the gages work better than they ever have.

The Geo Method

By Charles Bruni
cbruni@mindspring.com
Renton, Washington
U.S.A.

Everyone who owns an RV should be concerned with maintaining its wastewater tanks. Problems with wastewater tanks can and should be avoided. Wastewater tank repair is expensive. Due to health concerns, many service facilities will not work on wastewater tanks and lines until the tanks have been completely emptied and sanitized. This may be quite difficult when the tank(s) is in need of repair. So, common sense dictates that the tanks should be kept relatively clean at all times. Additionally, improper use of the wastewater tanks can lead to a build up of solid wastes, which in itself may cause the system to fail.

I've discovered very simple, effective, and inexpensive methods of maintaining my wastewater tanks in a relatively clean condition at all times. I developed these methods myself through my understanding of chemistry, physics, and biology with a smidgen of common sense thrown in for good measure. I also read my RV owner's manual. Although we are not full time RVers we use our fifth wheel camper at least one weekend a month. We never use public bathing and toilet facilities. In other words, our wastewater tanks are fairly heavily used. Since I've met a number of RVers who don't seem to know how to maintain their wastewater tanks I thought many RVers would find my tips useful. If you have not been maintaining your tanks I believe you will be pleasantly surprised the first time you employ these tips. I do these things and they work.

RVs are equipped with waste water HOLDING tanks; NOT septic tanks. Those holding tanks are nothing more than chamber pots. Chamber pots should be cleaned and sanitized after their contents are disposed of. The Geo Method is based on this fact.


1. DUMP A FULL TANK

When you are camping and your RV is connected to a sewer/septic intake, leave the drain valves closed until the tank is full and ready to dump. Dumping a full tank provides a sufficient quantity of water to flush solids from the tank. Leaving the drain valves open allows the water to drain off without flushing out solid waste. That solid waste will collect in the tank(s) and cause problems over time. If your tanks are not full when you are ready to dump them, fill them with fresh water first, and then dump them.


2. DUMP TANKS IN ORDER FROM DIRTIEST TO CLEANEST

In other words, dump the black (commode) water tank first, then dump the galley tank, then dump the bathroom tank. This way you will be flushing out the dirtiest water with progressively cleaner water.


3. USE WATER SOFTENER, DETERGENT, and CHLORINE BLEACH

This stuff is amazing and it works. Buy a couple of boxes of powdered water softener at the grocery store. You'll find it located with or near the laundry detergent products. I prefer Calgon Water Softener because it dissolves quickly in water. Cheaper water softeners work just as well but dissolve more slowly. Dissolve two (2) cups of the water softener in a gallon of hot water. Then, pour the solution down the drain into the empty tank. Use two cups of softener for each wastewater tank in your RV. The tank's drain valve should be closed otherwise the softened water will just drain out. Then use the tank(s) normally until it is full and drain it normally. Add a cup of laundry detergent to the black (commode) water tank at the same time you add water softener. This will help clean the tank. The gray water tanks should already contain soap through normal use.

The water softener makes the solid waste let go from the sides of the tanks. If you've ever taken a shower in softened water you know that after rinsing the soap from your body your skin will feel slick. That's because all the soap rinses away with soft water. Softened water also prevents soap scum from sticking in the tub. Get the connection? With softened water gunk washes away instead of sticking. The same thing applies to your RV's wastewater tanks.

I use a clear plastic elbow connector to attach my sewer drain line to the wastewater outlet on my RV. It allows me to see how well things are progressing during a wastewater dump. Before I began using water softener regularly the black water tank's water was brown, the galley tank's water was brownish, and the bathroom tank's water was white. The first time I added water softener to the tanks the water coming from the black water tank was actually black (not brown) and the kitchen tank's water was also black (not brownish). The bathroom tank's water remained white. That told me that the water softener had actually done what I had intended for it to do and made solid waste, which had been stuck to the interior of the tanks, let go and drain away. I added water softener (and laundry detergent to the black tank) to all the wastewater tanks for the next few dumps to be certain all the solid waste possible had been cleaned away. The wastewater only appeared black on the initial treatment. I now add water softener and detergent to each tank once after every few dumps to maintain the system.

Too little water softener may not be of sufficient concentration to work effectively. Too much water softener will NOT hurt the tanks. So, if the amount you used didn't quite do the job, then use more the next time. Don't forget the laundry detergent.

Occasionally, I pour a half gallon of liquid bleach into each tank to deodorize, sanitize and disinfect them. I add the bleach when the tank is about half full, and then continue to use the tank normally until it is full and ready to dump. I no longer use the blue toilet chemical because it isn't necessary. I have no odors coming from my black water tank. The chlorine bleach kills the bacteria, which is primarily responsible for waste water tank odor. Generic brand liquid bleach is cheap and very effective.


4. USE A WATER FILTER ON YOUR FRESH WATER INTAKE LINE

Most fresh water contains sediment. Sediment will accumulate in your wastewater tanks and your fresh water lines. It also tends to discolor your sinks, tub/shower, and commode. I use the disposable type and have found that they eventually fill up and begin restricting the fresh water flow resulting in low pressure. That's how I know it's time to get a new filter. It works, it's cheap, it avoids problems, do it. When I fill my fresh water tank I attach the filter to the end of the hose and fill the tank with filtered water.


SOME OTHER THOUGHTS

WATER, WATER, WATER - and more water! The Geo Method assumes you are hooked up to a plentiful clean water supply, and that you have access to a sewer. The water softener will make the gunk let go. That's only half the battle. After the gunk lets go it must then be flushed through the relatively small drain opening in the bottom of the tank. That takes water. Lots of water.

Will The Geo Method work even if most of the time I'm NOT hooked up to water and sewer? YES! Just use common sense. If you dry camp ninety percent of the time just keep water softener and detergent in your tanks (especially the black tank) while you're dry camping. This will keep gunk from sticking to the tanks. When you are hooked up to sewer and water take the opportunity to fill the tanks with fresh water and flush the tanks. Keep flushing them until the water runs clear. I know it works because I've done it.

Never put regular toilet tissue in your RV's black tank. Only use toilet tissue which is approved for RV and/or septic tank use. Regular toilet tissue may eventually dissolve, but not before causing a clog in your black tank.

I believe occasionally traveling with partially filled wastewater tanks that contain softened water promotes cleaning by agitating the water. The same goes for chlorine bleach.

I believe this process works faster and more efficiently during warm weather. However, I know it works well even during cool/cold weather.

I believe the process works best the longer the water softener remains in the tanks. So, I don't add water softener during periods of heavy wastewater generation. I wait until I know we won't be generating wastewater quickly so that the softened water remains in the tanks for several days before dumping.

If you have an older RV you may have to use water softener and detergent several times initially to completely clean the tanks of residue.


I add a small amount of chlorine bleach to the fresh water tank twice a year to disinfect and sanitize the fresh water tank and fresh water lines. A weak chlorine bleach solution will not hurt you. However, it certainly makes the water taste bad. When we have chlorine in the fresh water system we use bottled water for drinking and cooking until the chlorine is gone. YES, we drink the filtered water that we have in the fresh water tank. NO, it has never tasted funny or caused any problems.

No, I do NOT do the ice cube thing. The Geo Method works just fine without ice cubes.

My tanks are plastic and my pipes are PVC.

Don't be afraid to use your tanks. Just use common sense about their care and maintenance.

These tips are inexpensive to do. Some of them don't cost anything. You have nothing to lose in trying them and I encourage you to do so. I actually feel a certain amount of pride in the condition and cleanliness of both my waste and fresh water systems. Naturally, these tips make dumping a much more pleasant and sanitary procedure.

If you have odors in any of your water systems these procedures should eliminate them. Odors indicate a sanitary problem and degrade the enjoyment you derive from your RV.

When my RV is parked and not in use I place stoppers in the sink and tub drains. This forces the wastewater tanks to vent through the vent pipes to the outside instead of through the drains into the RV. Water evaporates. Once the drain traps dry out during periods of non-use, nothing is there to prevent gasses (odor) from venting into the camper. Use stoppers when your RV is stored.

copyright(c) 2004 Charles Bruni
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Please consider printing this information and posting it on bulletin boards in RV parks and campgrounds you visit. Fellow RVers will benefit from your consideration.
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Visit The GeoMethod Homepage & Blog )
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:03 PM   #27
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I agree with this except for the toilet tissue. We have found that all the popular tissue dissolves well. We also use a clear pipe off our connection and have never seen whole tissue.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:12 PM   #28
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We're new at this whole grey/black tank stuff too (moved up from a pop-up this year). I've got to say I was pleasantly surprised that by just adding plenty of water (thanks to folks here at iRv2), we didn't have any odor or problems when it came to cleaning out the black tank. We were out for 3 weeks and not a sniff of bad stuff, even when it was 103. At one site we didn't empty the tank for 3 1/2 days and no clogs/plugs or odor.

My father-in-law who's had travel trailers for the last 10 years kept telling us we were crazy and the smell will knock us out after a few days.

Don't know if the newer units are better than the old ones or what, but just using water works great for us.

Brian
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