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Old 09-23-2021, 03:01 PM   #1
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Grey Water overflow/bypass to sewer drain?

Like many (or most), when parked for a long time and in the RV, I keep the holding tank closed until nearly full. Then, after draining the holding tank, I also flush the greywater to help clean the sewer drain lines.

My problem is that I have tended to leave the grey open until the last day before I know that I need to flush the holding. Then, I go out and close the grey and have water to flush. This is a pain and a constant concern and is challenging when in one day my wife can run 3 loads of laundry without my knowledge and take a bath and ....

I had an idea in the shower this morning (where all good ideas come from)... What about putting a bypass drain line from the side of my grey tank down to the sewer drain line? I have an inlet (backflush hose connection) in the drain elbow already. If I use a flexible clear tubing (which I already have) and go to the valve at the drain I can turn the bypass on or off. I could leave this bypass drain always open while parked (closed while traveling and boondocking) and always have only enough water in the grey as needed to flush.

The usage would be to have grey and black valves closed all the time. As greywater increases, when it gets to the level of the bypass/overflow, it simply drains directly out. I don't have to think about the level or worry if I have enough for when the time comes to flush out. There most certainly will always be enough water to flush. I don't have to be concerned about overfilling the grey. I only have to monitor the holding tank level and flush when due (or doo doo).

So... has anyone done this? Good idea? Bad? Concerns? I'm going to do this tomorrow and let you know how it works for me. Wondering if I just missed this and many have been doing this all along.
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Old 09-23-2021, 03:49 PM   #2
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I've never heard of anyone doing that, but it sounds like a good idea! Try it and let us know the results!
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Old 09-24-2021, 06:02 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by MSHappyCampers View Post
I've never heard of anyone doing that, but it sounds like a good idea! Try it and let us know the results!
Thanks. I'm certain this is only a 30-minute project. There is the option of how high to put in the overflow/bypass line onto the grey tank. I could install it closer to the top so there is a lot of water kept or perhaps down toward the middle so only half of the capacity is maintained. Still trying to think of the possible uses and options. Open to thoughts and ideas.

I'm leaning toward having it a little higher since my flushing after the holding tank needs to clean out about 80 ft of sewer line that I installed at my daughter's house with the full hookups I installed at her place.

With a smaller tubing used as a bypass (I'm thinking like a garden hose 3/4" or clear tubing), I do want to make sure there is enough capacity above the bypass so large faster dumps of water (ie...bathtub, washing machine) have room to fill the tank and then there is time for it to more slowly drain out the bypass.

My other thought and concern is the small bits and pieces that can tend to float inside the grey. I haven't ever seen anything that would appear to plug up the 3/4" tubing and it should be too difficult or a challenge to unplug with a short line from tank to drain, but not sure if I'm missing something else in the design.

Thanks for any ideas or input. We always desire to do things once and right way when dealing with tanks.
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Old 09-24-2021, 04:19 PM   #4
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Success....time will tell

Well, I'm calling this a success without it filling yet. Assume as much if I don't post back with an update. I am SOOOOO excited to have this now. Where I was parked last winter made it kinda difficult to get out to the tanks. I was leaving the grey open because a lot more was going down that and leaving it closed could have been every day or two to open. The holding tank generally takes me about 5-6 days to fill.

I didn't want to flush the holding every day or two as that would not fill or flush properly. So, I was leaving the grey open and then when the holding was nearly full going out to close the grey for a day. Then, the next day going out to flush both again. Sometimes, not a lot of grey was flushing. Not good.
Sometimes I forgot to look and the holding was very full and I forgot to close the grey. Dumping holding with no grey to follow. Not good. What a pain with how I was parked up close to a retaining wall and crawling under my popouts....through winter....late at night. Now....when holding is full....dump and flush with grey. There will always be enough grey. Never too much grey. When done with a dump, close both and forget it. Let the bypass drain out the extra grey as it comes.

Photos include the parts I found at Home Depot and the steps I took. Should be self-explanatory. The only item that can be hard to see is the 1" threaded PVC to 2" adapter.

-5/8 ID hose
-5/8 hose end fix adapters (male to connect to tank or m/f for your adapt to drain)
-1"->3/4" brass fitting
-3/4" MIP - 3/4"MH brass fitting
-1" thread to 2" pipe PVC adapter
$55 total

I cut off the outer cylinder to the large PVC adapter in order to end up with a flange to screw to the tank. HD didn't sell anything close...so improvise.
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Old 09-24-2021, 05:00 PM   #5
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My first suggestion would have been just get a third valve and put it on the termination. Leave both gray and black open with the third valve closed until time to dump. Both tanks equalize in level. But your wife uses a ton of water (as it sounds) by doing multiple loads of laundry, etc. However, I guess the worst that could happen is you'd notice slow draining with the gray and toilet burps...that would be your cue to pull the third valve.
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Old 09-24-2021, 05:54 PM   #6
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Creative solution! Well done!


I guess you'd want to make sure it is low enough from "full" on the grey tank (maybe 2/3 full??) so you have enough buffer in the grey tank capacity so that you could handle your worst case grey water drop from laundry or shower, etc. You might be able to fill your grey tank FASTER than it can drain through the 3/4" tubing (in the short term) if all the grey water is sent to the tank fast enough. Once you stop adding water to the grey tank, I agree that after just a minute or two you will likely have anything above your bypass connector drained out.


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Old 09-25-2021, 02:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
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My first suggestion would have been just get a third valve and put it on the termination. Leave both gray and black open with the third valve closed until time to dump. Both tanks equalize in level. But your wife uses a ton of water (as it sounds) by doing multiple loads of laundry, etc. However, I guess the worst that could happen is you'd notice slow draining with the gray and toilet burps...that would be your cue to pull the third valve.
I had considered that long ago, but I also have a whole house R/O system that I run in places where the water is not drinkable. That needs to also have a constant discharge. I also really don't have space for a 3rd valve.

What this ends up doing, obviously, is allowing for unlimited greywater usage inside the motorhome (and R/O) and only have to go out once when the holding is full.
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Old 09-25-2021, 02:54 AM   #8
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Creative solution! Well done!


I guess you'd want to make sure it is low enough from "full" on the grey tank (maybe 2/3 full??) so you have enough buffer in the grey tank capacity so that you could handle your worst case grey water drop from laundry or shower, etc. You might be able to fill your grey tank FASTER than it can drain through the 3/4" tubing (in the short term) if all the grey water is sent to the tank fast enough. Once you stop adding water to the grey tank, I agree that after just a minute or two you will likely have anything above your bypass connector drained out.


Happy Camping!
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That is exactly right. I put it about 3/4--roughly 15 gallons of space. Even then, it can (and has in the past when my wife ran several washing loads while away and valve closed) backs up into the tub. Fortunately, that works well as a safety overflow catch basin but doesn't smell the best.

I have valves at both ends of the bypass hose. So this definitely gets turned off when boondocking. Just one more thing to remember.
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Old 09-27-2021, 01:31 PM   #9
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Final note...In case someone, someday does a search and comes across this thread and wants to do this...I was lucky. Drill the hole into the grey tank just above your 2/3 sensor or whichever sensor is next to your last. I, fortunately, did that.

What this does is give you an idea of when you are actually discharging through the bypass line. You could do it at any other sensor, but I felt it makes sense to be holding more rather than less for the times that you want to do extra grey flushing after the holding tank is emptied.

My wife has done more loads of laundry. I can see that water is coming out as needed. My sensors show the tank as 2/3 full and holding. I have a couple more days before I need to dump the holding. My wife no longer has to ask if she can do a load of laundry or not. Happy!!!
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Old 09-28-2021, 12:16 AM   #10
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I like that.
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Old 09-29-2021, 04:37 AM   #11
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I like that.
I did my first flush yesterday only because the holding was ready. What a dream to "set it and forget it" now. Toilet flush tells me when I'm getting full just by the sound. My wife has been doing a lot of laundries as we are getting ready to hit the road, but I don't care. I don't have to look at levels anymore
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Old 09-29-2021, 06:00 AM   #12
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If you are going to thebtrouble of adding lines why not just add a black tank flush? (I'm assuming you don't have one or could use that to flush)
The benefit I see with a black tank flush is you can flush the tank itself and not just the discharge hose. And periodically you can flush multi times to get the black tank really "clean"... like last dump before heading home for a period of storage.

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Old 09-29-2021, 06:20 AM   #13
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What a great idea!

This is not a 30 minute job for sure. You would go broke estimating work.

Just getting to the gray tank for most folks will take longer.

We full time and having that extra level of gray water to flush with would be outstanding. Our RV underground pipes do not have much slope and the extra water will give a better push and clean.

The wife does the multiple laundry loads, showers, and runs the dishwasher. Sheesh, I will be glad when she retires

Thanks for the pictures and write up.
-----------------------------------------------

If someone is using their macerator with the gray water bypass, the bypass hose could be rerouted and the one connection could be closed off. The concern for clogging is real but then the small hose needed would or should be easy to disconnect and clean if needed.
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Old 09-30-2021, 05:03 AM   #14
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If you are going to thebtrouble of adding lines why not just add a black tank flush? (I'm assuming you don't have one or could use that to flush)
The benefit I see with a black tank flush is you can flush the tank itself and not just the discharge hose. And periodically you can flush multi times to get the black tank really "clean"... like last dump before heading home for a period of storage.

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I do have a black tank flush, but that is not the volume and force of flushing with greywater. When you have a flexible waste line and sometimes an extension to the sewer, and the sewer is a 80' low slope line.....you really do best to have a large amount of grey water powerfully flushing behind the black. I would never recommend anyone (if they care about their hoses and the sewer system) to discharge black and not follow with greywater. I believe it is best practices and recommended by most.
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