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Old 01-11-2016, 12:29 PM   #1
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Black Water Tank Overflow: Contamination possible

Hi all,

My husband and I are a young couple, currently living in a 18' 1989 Road Ranger. The other day, as per instructions on a YouTube Video, I attempted to sanitize the fresh water tank by adding a bit of diluted bleach to it, then run the taps to drain it a couple times. We had the grey water open (connected to the septic on our property) Well. I didn't realize that the bathroom sink is connected to the black water! So, I go into the bathroom and the sink is overflowing with bleachy water pouring down behind the toilet—everywhere—and the toilet is overflowing with black water! Pretty upsetting, although I have read worse stories on this forum. I managed to catch it and clean it up quickly (and double sanitize the bathroom.)

Here are my questions, and I apologize for my ignorance. This experience freaked me out; do I need to be concerned about contamination in the clean water lines from anywhere—especially the kitchen or bathroom tap? Thank you in advance for putting my mind at ease. I want to feel clean and safe in our home!

-Rachel
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Old 01-11-2016, 12:34 PM   #2
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None of this mess should have entered any of your fresh water lines. The only problem you have is the one you are addressing now and that is cleaning up the mess of the over flow. Lots of coaches have the bathroom sink drain into the black tank so you learned this one the hard way. Welcome to the forum and good luck with your adventures.
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Old 01-11-2016, 01:01 PM   #3
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None of what you describe regarding your efforts to "sanitize" the fresh water tank should have resulted in either the grey or the black overflowing in the bathroom sink or toilet. Sounds to me like you put the bleach in the black water tank and overfilled/ pressurized it with city water using the black water flush tap. Need to retrace your steps and make sure you are working on the right tanks--in most RV applications, the fresh, grey and black tanks are totally isolated from each other--by design!!!!!
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Old 01-11-2016, 01:12 PM   #4
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I agree with 530ktm, it's not uncommon for the bathroom sink to drain into the black tank. I believe the thinking is that extra water and soap in that tank aren't a bad thing (that, and it may just be easier for the coach designer).

No contamination fears, other than the obvious flood in the room, which you've already handled.
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Old 01-11-2016, 01:18 PM   #5
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To Old Scout: I had the fresh water tap running to drain out the bleachy water. It overfilled the black tank, which then overflowed out of the toilet. Since (seemingly fresh) water was overflowing in the bathroom sink as well, I was worried about contamination from the black water. Likely due to my ignorance about how the lines are all connected down there. Thanks
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Old 01-11-2016, 06:39 PM   #6
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You have no worries about the fresh water. On my coach and your trailer, the bathroom sink adds more water to dump with. Every RV I have had is like that, But I have never owned a high end RV.
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Old 01-11-2016, 06:50 PM   #7
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Curious--doesn't your fresh water tank have a separate drain? If not, I guess what you are saying is that you had to use the water pump to drain it and since the sink was higher that the toilet, you over-flowed. Still think I would make sure there is not a separate drain.
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Old 01-11-2016, 07:17 PM   #8
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Just draining the tank wouldn't also clean/sanitize the water lines to the faucets, which I assume is what she was trying to do by opening the taps.
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Old 01-11-2016, 08:23 PM   #9
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Tend to think my lines get "sanitized" every time I am hooked up to city water--besides, dont think you would use a whole tank of water for the process. 13 years and 165k miles and have never seen fit to sanitize the entire water system??????
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Old 01-12-2016, 12:32 AM   #10
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A lot of manufacturers recommend a whole water system sanitation at least once a year.
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Old 01-12-2016, 01:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Scout View Post
Tend to think my lines get "sanitized" every time I am hooked up to city water--besides, dont think you would use a whole tank of water for the process. 13 years and 165k miles and have never seen fit to sanitize the entire water system??????
You don't and I don't either.........

BUT OP did.

So why give her grief over it


OP.......
Clean it up just like you would if toilet overflowed in a house.
Hopefully it was contained to bathroom floor/area.
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Old 01-12-2016, 07:10 AM   #12
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It's 6:07 and I am learning again, I'm not sure if our set up is the same as other's.
I will try this and see if it works, If I run the bathroom faucet will I hear it drain into the Black tank? I never new that it could drain into the Blk tank just the gray???
Thanks for the lesson,
Tim
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Old 01-12-2016, 07:30 AM   #13
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To the OP. To sanitize your supply lines and fixtures add 1/4 cup of bleach for every 15 gallons of water in your freshwater tank. Turn on each fixture and run until you smell bleach and then turn it off. Let it set for a few hours and then drain your fresh tank through the tank drain. Flush and refill the tank with fresh water and then turn on each fixture to flush out your lines.
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Old 01-12-2016, 07:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Scout View Post
Tend to think my lines get "sanitized" every time I am hooked up to city water--besides, dont think you would use a whole tank of water for the process. 13 years and 165k miles and have never seen fit to sanitize the entire water system??????
You fill the tank FULL. That is the only way to get the sides and top of the fresh water tank. This is for the fresh water tanks and lines... It should be done! Bacteria can and will leach.

I got this process years ago from a forum…

************************************************** ***************
"Determine the capacity of the entire fresh water system, including the water heater. You may want to estimate the capacity of the water lines, or you can leave them out of the equation. Take the total capacity and multiply by 0.13. The result is the number of ounces of bleach to use. Pour the bleach into a container and fill the rest of the container with water. Pour the contents of the container into the fresh water holding tank. This prevents straight bleach from contacting anything. Fill up the fresh water tank. Using the on board pump and pump the water from the holding tank through all water lines and the water heater. Once all lines are filled, top of the holding tank so the bleach/water mixture is touching all sides of the tank. Let sit for at least 4 hours but no more than 24 hours. Drain holding tank and water heater. Fill and drain holding tank completely at least 2 times before filling again to use water to flush out water lines and water heater. If you still smell the bleach after doing this, fill and flush again. "

About 6 oz of regular bleach for a 40 gallon tank...

************************************************** ***************
Quick Chart
1/4 cup of regular bleach for every 15 gallons of water
1/2 cup of regular bleach for every 30 gallons of water
3/4 cup of regular bleach for every 45 gallons of water
1 cup of regular bleach for every 60 gallons of water

************************************************** ***************
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