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Old 04-03-2012, 11:49 AM   #1
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It's Ethyl again

Ethyl has another issue. I just got water hooked up to her today. Now, all of a sudden, I have nasty water (smells like a sewer) coming up in the bath tub. Does this mean her tanks are full? If so, who do I contact to come dump her tanks or can I do it myself? She can't be driven anywhere yet. Is it really expensive? in the mean time, what can I do about the dirty water?
Thanks,
Merry and Ethyl
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:45 PM   #2
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Sounds like you have waste tank flush valves that were left open and the hose filled water and waste tanks. Where are you parked? If at home, perhaps you can string your drain hose to a sewer cleanout if they are lower than the RV. If the tanks were cleaned before winterizing, perhaps you could just treat with a little clorox and drain onto ground. (probably not legal)
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:03 PM   #3
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Have you ran water in the tub? The trap may be dry and letting air from the tank enter the unit.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:43 PM   #4
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There is standing yucky water in the tub. I ran the toilet and it flushed fine. I dumped some dawn into the tub but it's not going anywhere and I flushed some dawn dish soap down the toilet too.
I'm going to go pick up some RV Digest it and try that too
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:44 PM   #5
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it probably isn't legal and my landlord would have a fit but I may have to do that anyway. I'd hate to have to call a serviceman to come check it out
can't really afford one
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:48 PM   #6
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Sounds like your grey tank is overfull.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:12 PM   #7
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Water in the bathtub and sinks is grey water, toilet is black water. Grey will smell if not dumped frequently. Sounds like the grey tank was close to full. Tub is where overfill is seen first.

If you can, dig a hole and drain your grey tank into it, then fill the hole back up once the water is absorbed. Refill grey tank with new clean water run down your sinks and tub. Add a cup of bleach, some down each drain and finish cleaning the sinks and tub. Repeat dump of grey tank, but dig a new hole, not close to the first.

There are products that help the grey tank stay fresher, but you will probably need to rinse more of the bleach out, or neutralize it with vinegar, as they are beneficial bacteria that bleach will kill.

If your grey tanks were left full, one can only wonder about the status of the black water tank. (
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:22 PM   #8
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If your black tank is full, you will need to have someone come out. A septic tank pumper or Port-a-john company is where to start looking for help with black tank disposal. It's only what was flushed down the toilet. When full, you can see the water level when you step on the flush valve and the toilet ball valve opens.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:44 PM   #9
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Your gray water tank is full and you need to drain it.

Do you have a sewer clean-out at your house? It would be a big 5" pipe with a screw-in cap with a little square in the center sticking up out of the ground. You can remove the cap and dump both your gray and your black tanks directly into the sewer clean-out (assuming your rig close enough).

Or, as otherwise posted, dig a hole and (slowly) drain your gray-water tank into the hole. Its just kitchen sink and shower water- it smells from the food particles that go down the sink, but its not dangerous. You could even drain into a 5-gallon bucket and dump down the sewer clean-out or down the toilet in the house.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:48 PM   #10
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You also need to figure out why hooking up the city water has filled your gray water tank.

Did you leave a faucet open anywhere?
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:58 AM   #11
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Thanks for your info. The black tank is very very seldom used. Like emergencies in the middle of the night when I can't get to the main bathroom in the house soon enough. I've been living in the RV since february and have MAYBE used the toilet 5 times.
I bought the RV used and I had not spoken to the man it was bought from (my son-in-law did the deed)I didn't get to ask him all the questions I had. I'm already planning to drain the grey tank and am considering getting someone to come out and dump the black tank just in case. Thanks again for your help.
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:02 AM   #12
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I didn't but perhaps my son-in-law did. He's a good guy but possibly not the brightest bulb in the box. I'm not even sure where all the drains, plugs whatever are. I am considering digging a deep hole and putting a 55 gallon drum in it with holes and rocks in the bottom to drain into. Thanks for your help.
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:23 PM   #13
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Camping World and others sell portable waste tanks. You can dump your tank into one of these (will almost certainly take multiple trips) and roll it to a sewer clean-out near the house and dump there. Cheaper than hiring someone to come out and dump. Hope this helps.

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Old 04-06-2012, 01:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronspradley View Post
Camping World and others sell portable waste tanks. You can dump your tank into one of these (will almost certainly take multiple trips) and roll it to a sewer clean-out near the house and dump there. Cheaper than hiring someone to come out and dump. Hope this helps.

ronspradley
The portable "blue boys" are very expensive- well over $100 even for a smaller one.. I can get a septic company to pump out for less than that, and a 5 gal bucket should be free or nearly so.

Its gray water, not black she's having problems with- the "ick" factor is lower if she has to move the gray water manually.

On a separate note, OP needs to make sure her infrequently used black tank has sufficient water so that she is not developing a dried out "brown pyramid of death". I would run 10 or 15 gallons of fresh water down the toilet to keep it healthy. No fear of overfilling or needing a dump anytime soon if its only used on an emergency basis, but dried out black tank waste can really "muck up" drain valves and cause other issues you'd just as soon not ever deal with.

The 55 gallon barrel idea is ok if the water can get out into the soil from holes cut into the barrel, but just a barrel? Not a good idea.

You can (slowly) run that gray water right out onto the grass in the lawn- it will soak in and not leave any appreciable odor behind. This is the simplest method.

You still need to figure out why the tank filled up in the first place.
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