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Old 10-07-2014, 06:35 PM   #1
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Gray tank into black tank

Has anyone set up the holding tanks so you can drain/pump gray water into the black tank? If so how have you done this. It seems i would get atmleast an extra couple of days if i could pump out my gray tank into the underutilized Or oversized black tank.
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Old 10-07-2014, 10:18 PM   #2
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I installed one of these Amazon.com: Camco 39062 Dual Flush Pro Holding Tank Rinser with Gate Valve: Automotive

Leaving the valve on the add-on rinser allows me to open both the gray and black tank valves. The levels equalize. As long as the gray has more water in it than the black the water flows from gray to black. My tanks are on the same level making this possible, and yes it gives me as much as three extra days before dumping.
A added plus is the clear section lets me see the water as I use the tank flusher on the black tank.

Dick
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Old 10-09-2014, 08:22 AM   #3
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I have a 29RK Alpenlite 5th wheel. They made them with three 50 gal tanks, one each for black-bath-kitchen. Thought the kitchen could have been smaller as rarely exceeds half after 6-7 days. Same for the black tank. As we spend most of our time in State Parks...investigated and made changes to the piping of the shower drain and black tank vent to divert water from the shower into the black tank.

The photos below shows the changes. As my plumbing was close together it was a simple process on my unit. I cut the 1 1/2 inch shower drain, installed a cabled gate valve, cut the stack for the black vent and with a few fittings and short section of pipe made the connections. I dry fitted everything first and placed index marks on the pipes/fittings to ensure correct placement and when satisfied glued everything together. I rubber boot made the final connection on the vent. With the J trap just below the shower connection, we don't get sewer gasses in the camper with the valve open. The handle for the gate valve is located in the 'wet compartment' and is easy to get to.

I put more slope in the pipe run than necessary but wanted to ensure I had no 'slow down' or restriction as water entered the new piping when the gate was opened. In the real world, when the gate is open and using the black tank....the way the gate Y fitting was installed, 'bout 90% of the shower water is diverted to the black tank.

When we arrive, we usually open the Black/Bath valve and leave it open until the Black tank is just over 1/2 full. Then close and use the bath tank as usual. If needed, the valve is opened again and the black tank is used. Find this works for us if we are extending our stay without hookups. Like having extra 'fluids' in the black tank when dumping at State Parks because its hard to rinse the tank after dumping and the extra 'clean fluids' helps empty the tank.

Hope this helps.





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Old 10-09-2014, 09:03 AM   #4
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Wow. Three 50 gallon tanks. Wish I had that capacity.
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Old 10-09-2014, 08:22 PM   #5
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That looks fantastic.
My coach has both tanks next to each other and very close to the same level. The added knife to combine the tanks seems like a simple fix. But hey who wants simple, right? What I was thinking was to run a hose from near the top of the gray tank to near the bottom of the black tank, maybe even with a shut off in the hose or right at the exit of the gray tank. Anybody not like that idea and why not?
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Old 10-12-2014, 07:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by DebnDan View Post
That looks fantastic.
My coach has both tanks next to each other and very close to the same level. The added knife to combine the tanks seems like a simple fix. But hey who wants simple, right? What I was thinking was to run a hose from near the top of the gray tank to near the bottom of the black tank, maybe even with a shut off in the hose or right at the exit of the gray tank. Anybody not like that idea and why not?
I'm thinking that if you plumb near the top of your gray tank, you won't be able to siphon off much of the water. You can leave the connection open and it will flow in continually as you get towards the top but you won't get much all at once.

If you plumb lower on the gray tank, you risk the black tank rising above that level and overflowing into the gray tank. Not much of a risk if you have a valve and considering the black tank usually ends up being lower. Still it's a risk.

I like the idea of diverting the water before it gets to the tanks better. No chance of mixing or overflow. Depends on the RV I suppose and how the tanks are configured.
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:18 PM   #7
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Post #2 is dead on and cheap although the valve I used was slightly different (did not have the extra clear stuff on it). I used this in my Vista that I had.



Simply twist this valve on and have in shut position. Open gray water valve, open black water valve, wait until gurgling stops. Gray water is now level with black tank. Shut black tank followed by gray tank.

Notes: Black tank must be same level as gray tank and not as full as gray tank. Will only drain/fill as much as gravity allows.

If you don't like how this works you still have a temp valve that you can use if your gray/black water valve fails.
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Old 10-23-2014, 02:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by zman-az View Post
Post #2 is dead on and cheap although the valve I used was slightly different (did not have the extra clear stuff on it). I used this in my Vista that I had.



Simply twist this valve on and have in shut position. Open gray water valve, open black water valve, wait until gurgling stops. Gray water is now level with black tank. Shut black tank followed by gray tank.

Notes: Black tank must be same level as gray tank and not as full as gray tank. Will only drain/fill as much as gravity allows.

If you don't like how this works you still have a temp valve that you can use if your gray/black water valve fails.
OK You guys convinced me.... just ordered the valve. Thanks for all the suggestions
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Old 10-23-2014, 02:26 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by DebnDan View Post
Has anyone set up the holding tanks so you can drain/pump gray water into the black tank? If so how have you done this. It seems i would get atmleast an extra couple of days if i could pump out my gray tank into the underutilized Or oversized black tank.
I see this thread is in the Boondocking Forum, so I need some education. We have never boondocked for more than 4 days, therefore the tanks never became a problem. While staying for longer periods, is it frowned upon to simply attach as many slinky hoses as necessary to use the grey tank water and irrigate the landscape? That way the black tank lasts longer. I am talking about boondocking on BLM, etc. and NOT campgrounds or parks.

Thanks for the education!

Bruce
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Old 10-23-2014, 10:27 PM   #10
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Make sure of what the protocol is for the area. Most Forest Service CGs permit dumping dish water and some will not permit it if you can haul it off in your RV. You can always take your showers outside and you should have no problem.

Some State Parks in New Mexico permit dumping grey water and others do not. When permitted, it has to go through a normal 1/2" or so hose to make sure there is no chunky stuff going through. I do not believe that you can dump through a slinky hose.

The serious problem is if you have any leaking from your black water tank. If this occurs, you may be serious legal problems if you dump "grey water". If the seal on the black water valve is tight, then you are OK in a lot of areas depending on protocol. You should have a clear plastic "L" before the attachment for the hose to make sure it is only grey water going through the hose.

We were in Majahual on the Xcalak Peninsula (which points to Ambergris Cay in Belize and had permission to set up next to a very nice inn ($5 US/day and the food was superb). We asked about dumping grey water and they said "certainly, the roses need the water." We dumped the black water by carrying it in buckets to the bathroom, also with permission. We also had permission to dump grey water at Bar Familiar half way across the Yucatan (free boondocking if you have dinner and it was cheap and excellent). We visited Calukmal from near this place.

What saves in black water usage is to not place the toilet paper down the toilet but rather to place it in the waste basin (no worse than putting the diapers of your babies in a waste bin). We can last 3 to 5 weeks in boondocking before our 40 gallon black water reservoir is filled. We have to dump grey long before this since showers are certainly enjoyable.

As Edit: first photo is at Bar Familiar which is about halfway across Yucatan between Escarcaga and Chetumal turn-off and there are a lot of Mayan sites about and great birding; the second is a famous "Bat Crossing" sign just before the turn-off to the Calukmal Archaeological Site on Border of Mexico/Belize/Guatemala (this is not a joke, it is Karstian formation limestone and a great cloud of bats crosses the road at dusk); and the last is photo taken at Calukmal (I did not take it). Calukmal and Tikal were in bitter warfare for many years 1500 years ago.

Reed and Elaine
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Old 10-23-2014, 10:44 PM   #11
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Thanks for the explanation, makes sense to us! We had no idea you can make your black tank last that long. Sounds like you make it to some beautiful places.

Bruce and Judy
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:11 PM   #12
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Bruce and Judy

We have friends, Mike and Pat Jones, who live about 8 miles west of Salida. They were "camped" next to us beach for a month and we took care of their dog Mollie when they took bus to Belize.
Reed and Elaine
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:25 PM   #13
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When tapping into move Grey to Black. here is how I've done this on my last coach and current coach (Copied of a nice thread description on a different board from a fellow Bounder owner.)

Grey - Tap in about 1/3 of the way up the side from the bottom. (Lets any food solids from the kitchen sink either settle to the bottom, or float above the tap in point.)

> Hose out of the Grey with an inline filter screen, one that is easy to open an clean out the screen from time to time. Hose goes into the intake of a water pump. (We took our old fresh water pump and move it to this duty. Adding a new better pump to cover fresh water pumping duties.)

Black - One coach, the Bounder, we had the out hose of the water pump tapped into the top of the Black tank. On our current coach, we were able to get access to the vent tube, and tap into this for the water pump out hose. (Prefer the tapping, or "Teeing" if you have good access, into the vent pipe. The less penetrations of the Black or Grey tank the better.)

We pick up about another 4 days of boondocking with this capaiblity. And that is with a bit smaller black tank (43 Gal) then say a 60 Gal.

Just keep a good eye on your filter screen, and add it to your regular maintenance. (I clean mine with water and soap, and sometimes dip in white vinegar too, every 6 months.) I also mounted the switch in the water/wate bay, so taht I could hear the sound of the pump and be sure to shut it off once it started sucking air from the Grey.

Best of luck,
Smitty
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