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Old 02-08-2010, 10:18 PM   #1
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Waste Tank Treatment

Today we had Tank Techs in Phoenix, AZ. (All Pro Water Flow) come out and flush our black and grey tanks. The reason we called in the first place was because when the weather gets warm, little black bugs (drain flies) come out of the toilet. We had tried several things to get rid of them but none were successful. They company came out and flushed the tanks by shooting water into the tanks with 3000 pounds of pressure. This flushed out many of the bug colonies, their larva, and the bugs themselves. He then told me several things that made sense, but contradicted many things that I had been told.

He asked me what I was using in the tanks. I told him, "Odorloss Dry Holding Tank Treatment". He said that was one of the WORST things to use. First, it's granules, and the granules often don't dissolve, and form a buildup that doesn't normally get flushed out. Secondly, the product contains nitrate, magnesium and potassium, which is actually food for the bugs we have been seeing. He explained that in a septic tank, you want these bugs to help decompose the waste, because the waste is in there permanently. In a holding tank, the waste is only there a short time, so when the waste decomposes, it does so for only a short time and forms a muddy sludge that is often difficult to wash out, and builds up in the tank. He said you want the solids to stay solid so they wash out better. He also said (and I'd seen this documented), that when you go to dump your black tank, you should fill it with water first, as a large volume of water is the best way to flush your tank.

He suggested using a few tablespoons of Pine-Sol as a deodorant. I had been advised against using Pine-Sol, but wasn't told why. He said the only problem that might be caused is that the seal at the black tank valve may deteriorate over time. He said the valve was easy to replace, costs about $15, and is a lot cheaper that having your tank flushed every couple of years. He said the Pine-Sol will not hurt the tank or the pipes. Also, the bugs HATE Pine-Sol so are not likely to return.

I guess we'll know this summer if the treatment worked as advertised. I'm putting this in the forum to see if anyone has heard anything that supports or refutes what I think I learned.
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:57 AM   #2
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gator67...This is an interesting topic .. I would really like to see some feedback from everyone in the General Discussion forum. Do you mind if we move it there instead of leaving it in just Alpine ?
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Old 02-09-2010, 11:30 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonacoMama View Post
gator67...This is an interesting topic .. I would really like to see some feedback from everyone in the General Discussion forum. Do you mind if we move it there instead of leaving it in just Alpine ?
Sounds like a great idea... go for it!
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:57 AM   #4
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The easiest way I have found to keep the drain flys from getting in is to have a low spot in the drain hose that works like a p-trap. We have never had a problem with them by using this method. We do not use chemicals as that would stop the enzyme action in the septic tank we are hooked to at home base in central Arizona. Works for us.
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Old 02-10-2010, 08:21 AM   #5
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az bound makes sense with the P trap. In gator67's message the guy told him, "He explained that in a septic tank, you want these bugs to help decompose the waste, because the waste is in there permanently." Well when we dump our tanks we are dumping in a septic tank. The trap should prevent these bugs from getting into our tanks.
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:42 AM   #6
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Sewer flies seem to develop when there are undissolved solids. You don't normally find them in septic tanks either. We've had septic systems in our various homes for years and never had sewer flies.

A P-trap in the sewer line is an effective way to make sure any flies in the campground system do not get back into your RV system.

I cannot agree with the Tank Tech guy about leaving the waste solid either. Liquified waste ought to be easier to dump and flush. Yeah, the sludge sinks to the bottom, but using plenty of water flushes it out and so does a post-dump flush with fresh water when available.

I see no reason to believe that a guy who runs a power flush system for a living knows anything more about black tanks than anyone else. Sure, he sees a lot of them, but where did he become an authority on what is good practice and what is not? You do not need a degree in waste water systems management to get a job on a honey wagon, even one equipped with a pressure cleaner.
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:11 PM   #7
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Gary no-one else could have stated it better!
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Old 02-11-2010, 05:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RV Roamer [Gary] View Post
Sewer flies seem to develop when there are undissolved solids. You don't normally find them in septic tanks either. We've had septic systems in our various homes for years and never had sewer flies.

A P-trap in the sewer line is an effective way to make sure any flies in the campground system do not get back into your RV system.

I cannot agree with the Tank Tech guy about leaving the waste solid either. Liquified waste ought to be easier to dump and flush. Yeah, the sludge sinks to the bottom, but using plenty of water flushes it out and so does a post-dump flush with fresh water when available.

I see no reason to believe that a guy who runs a power flush system for a living knows anything more about black tanks than anyone else. Sure, he sees a lot of them, but where did he become an authority on what is good practice and what is not? You do not need a degree in waste water systems management to get a job on a honey wagon, even one equipped with a pressure cleaner.
Why would the Tank Tech guy be giving wrong information that would kill his repeat business? Sounds to me like he may be giving sound advice. I would not think that the solids in a holding tank would have time to liquify even with enzymes added. That is unless it remains in the tank for about a month.
I would venture a guess that the business was started to service motorhomes where the owner is having problems with a clogged system, more than likely caused by not flushing it well enough. There must be a need for this service. You never know, he may have a degree in business managment and found a very lucritive nitch.
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:34 AM   #9
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Hi All:

We too experienced those small black flies emanating from our commode. After trying a variety of solutions to this problem (ie., thorough full flushing, tank chemical trial, even a few sprays of Raid down into open toilet valve) whenever we notice this problem occuring, and it is rare and we think campground dependent, then we simply keep both our gray dump valve, AND our black dump valve closed between dumps, and....no more flies!!! Sure, you've got to monitor your tank volumes to assure there's no overfill, but, this procedure we are convinced prevents sewer flies migrating up into your tanks. Since if you're smart, you're already likely keeping your black valve closed anyway to preclude drying out the tank and that terrible "tower of doom", keeping your gray closed between dumps should be no big deal...except ya gotta remember to monitor that tank level. If you've recently dumped your gray cause it was getting high, and you see you'll soon be needing to dump your black, simply plan ahead a little to take a few showers and/or was a load or two of clothes in order to get a good volume of gray into your gray tank so that after dumping your black you'll have an adequate volume of gray water to flush your sewer line after dumping the black. Then, close em up again till the next dump. Works great.

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Old 02-12-2010, 10:39 AM   #10
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Solids in the tank will dissolve in less than a week. Usually a couple days is sufficient.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:57 AM   #11
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Gary;
Do you use an additive in your black tank?
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:43 PM   #12
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During our four years of FullTiming, we have tried almost every chemical or additive that is on the market and they have all had limited success in keeping down odor and other issues. However, we have been using the 'Geo Method' for the last two years and have been very happy with how well it works. We have a clear section of pipe attached to the exit side of our dump valve and can visually see how clean the washout water is after one flush.


The Geo Method - The Geo Method official homepage * <!-- google_ad_client = "pub-2615861085057897"; /* 728x15, c
This is a very informative site with good clear information. Perhaps the only drawback we've had is finding the Calgon Water Softener, so we usually stock up on two or three bottles when we find them.
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Old 02-12-2010, 03:04 PM   #13
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We have been using Odorloss Dry Holding Tank Treatment for years without any trouble at all. I dump our black tank every 2 weeks and never have a odor problem between dumps. I make sure that I do a good job using the internal flush system no bugs or fly's here.

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Old 02-12-2010, 03:59 PM   #14
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To all of the people who leave their tank waste valves closed until 3/4 or nearly full, you are the ones that are most likely will have virtually none or very few problems with your tanks and sensors, regardless of whether you are using tank treatments of any kind, or just water, or possibly the Geo Treatment.

In all my years of RV use, I have never left either valve open as these systems are not built like home waste systems. They require additional care. I personally have been using a water softener for the last 6 years due to water quality where I am living and it certainly has it benefits both for the tanks, the water delivery system, hot water system and for washing. The only time I will have any tank odor is usually when it's 100F - 110F outside and the tanks are nearly full or I have forgotten to run water into the Splendide machine to fill that trap as we don't use the washer part of the machine, only the dryer for anything that gets hand washed.

I have used primarily Thetford Formaldehyde Free Supreme Green Biodegradable for the black tank as it comes with an easy to measure spout. A treatment goes in after every full black tank dump and flush. For the grey, I use Thetford Campa Chem 8 oz. bottles, again biodegradeable but not FF, however the grey gets a treatment once or twice a month, maybe more often in extremely hot weather.

I have never had any problem with either tank system, other than to replace both valves when one of them developed a small leak.

For those that like to leave your valves open for the convenience, and not having to think about them, you are causing yourself more work and eventually more money to fix problems later. It really takes only a second or two to push the tank level indicator as you walk by just to see whether they will need dumping or not in the next day or two.

I happen to be currently located in an area of Valencia Travel Village RV Park where they only provide electric, TV, and water. They have an internal Park service stop every two days to pump tanks. Typically, my grey will be about 3/4 and my black will only get dumped when I place a red indicator on the handle to dump it, generally every 6-8 days. If the tanks are not full enough when I want them dumped, I will add water to them to bring up to the top. Very easy to do.

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