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Waste Management (a nasty question)


DKRITTER

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We use our 5th wheel most of the year and stay in a variety of places but mostly RV parks with full hookups. For those times that we don't have full hookups I use a twist on valve and combine the 2 grey tanks since the shower fills up a lot faster than the galley.

 

So now for the nasty question;

 

 

I've looked around and haven't seen it asked but I wondered how bad of an idea it would be to combine the grey and the black tank to make what would be one large tank?

 

 

We have septic at the house and everything goes into it. When we are at a full hookup park all of it ultimately goes to the same place.

 

 

I know I am probably going to get pummeled for even asking the question, but would someone with more knowledge explain this to me (us).

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If you have two (2), grey tanks, I would recommend installing a second valve near the primary dump valve. With this set-up, you can close that second valve and open both grey tanks. The two tanks will find equilibrium. When it comes time to dump your black tank, simply close both grey tanks, open the primary and secondary dump valves and finally open your black tank valve.

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@spindrift I believe the poster said that they already do that, but what is the downside to also combining the black tank is what the question was.

 

Aside from the solids finding passage into the shower I wouldn't do it.

 

There is a reason they are separate.

 

A septic system is far removed from getting access to the bath house by way of a big collection tank, normally downhill, that has leech lines to spread out the water.

anyway I wouldn't.

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@spindrift I believe the poster said that they already do that, but what is the downside to also combining the black tank is what the question was.

 

Aside from the solids finding passage into the shower I wouldn't do it.

 

There is a reason they are separate.

 

A septic system is far removed from getting access to the bath house by way of a big collection tank, normally downhill, that has leech lines to spread out the water.

 

anyway I wouldn't.

 

Hmmm...I reread the post and you're correct. Don't know what I read the first time. :unsure:

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If you only dry camp occasionally instead of combining the tanks I'd recommend that you first try conserving your water usage. We could go two weeks without having to dump our tanks and by that time, quite often, the black tank still isn't full.

 

We dump dishwater in the black tank to conserve grey space. When adjusting water temperature for showers we catch the water and use it elsewhere. We don't let it drain into the grey. Showering is a quick wet down, faucets off, soap up then a fast rinse. Do you really need to shower every day? There are body wipes that could fill in, as needed. Hand washing, wet, water off, soap up, quick rinse and teeth brushing can be done with a small paper bath cup full of water. We also don't do dishes after every meal. If you wipe out pots/fry pans with a paper towel they can be reused. There are lots of ways to conserve water.

 

Regarding combining the tanks I think of a time or two when we were to the limit and the grey started backing up into the shower. I sure wouldn't want that to happen with black water in the mix.

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Part of my nature is to question things, my wife says I question anything and everything.

 

I completely understand that's the way I was taught to do it, but why. If the reason is solely based on overflowing the tanks and having solids overflow I get that and can except that. Withstanding that is there another reason?

 

Let me also say we sanitize all of our tanks and lines twice a year.

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Regarding combining the tanks I think of a time or two when we were to the limit and the grey started backing up into the shower. I sure wouldn't want that to happen with black water in the mix.

 

Yep, been there, done that! No way would I have wanted black water in the mix...the gray water was nasty enough!

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Part of my nature is to question things, my wife says I question anything and everything.

 

I completely understand that's the way I was taught to do it, but why. If the reason is solely based on overflowing the tanks and having solids overflow I get that and can except that. Withstanding that is there another reason?

 

Let me also say we sanitize all of our tanks and lines twice a year.

 

Your 'waste' is sterile until it leaves your body . After that all bets are off .

 

Why on earth would anyone NEED another reason ?

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Let me also say we sanitize all of our tanks and lines twice a year.

Are you saying that you sanitize your grey and black tanks as well as your fresh water tank?? Seems like a big waste of water and chlorine since any sanitizing you do to the waste tanks is lost the first time you use them. There are methods one can use to transfer waste water from the grey tank to the black tank but I certainly would not want to have everything in one tank. That being said, I believe there were some low end RV brands that used only one tank for both. I don't recall who they were and don't know if that still happens.

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Thank You for all of your comments and they were what I pretty much thought.

 

Why in the world would you want to do that?

 

Well I wouldn't but if an extreme situation you could but only as a last resort. No one has said clinically why you shouldn't or couldn't.

 

We are the normal campers who mostly stay in full service RV parks and very ocasionally dry camp. We have never had a situation where we needed or had to combine all of the waste tanks, we have gotten close but never there. We understand we could pump from the grey into the black with a macerator (which we already own) but sometimes curiousity just gets me and I ask an obscure question.

 

Again thanks for the information.

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Why would you want to combine tanks? Well, you cold have a situation like I had. I was parked in my mother's backyard and the grey tank was beginning to fill the tub (someone didn't understand the capacity) and the black was about 1/3 full. There was no place to dump there (in rural Ohio) without traveling about 30 miles one way to dump. Combining bought me enough time to enjoy my stay and dump when I got on the road.

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Your 'waste' is sterile until it leaves your body . After that all bets are off .

 

Why on earth would anyone NEED another reason ?

 

SO not true! Bacteria comprise about 55% of the solids by mass in human fecal material. Hopefully there aren't any serious pathogens in the mix, but there are certainly billions of bacteria in every sample. Heaven help the patient who perforates a bowel with contents leaking into the peritoneal cavity... often fatal if not treated. Urine is considered aseptic - but not sterile.

 

We have two gray tanks and keep them coupled with a downstream gate valve closed with the gray valves open. The black tank valve, however, is never open when the gray tank valves are open to prevent human waste from entering the gray tanks.

 

Rob

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SO not true! Bacteria comprise about 55% of the solids by mass in human fecal material. Hopefully there aren't any serious pathogens in the mix, but there are certainly billions of bacteria in every sample. Heaven help the patient who perforates a bowel with contents leaking into the peritoneal cavity... often fatal if not treated. Urine is considered aseptic - but not sterile.

 

We have two gray tanks and keep them coupled with a downstream gate valve closed with the gray valves open. The black tank valve, however, is never open when the gray tank valves are open to prevent human waste from entering the gray tanks.

 

Rob

 

Hmm , I guess I stand corrected . Learn something new , every day . I was taught , way back in junior high I think it was , that our waste was sterile until passage . I'm pretty sure that teacher wasn't a doctor or the like , so ... Anyway , It's possible that I misunderstood what was being taught .

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My routine when the black and grey tanks are near full is to open the third semi-permanently installed twist-on valve, then open the black valve and let the tank drain. When the flow stops, I close the third valve and open the grey valve, allowing the contents to back wash into the black tank. Once the grey water equalizes, I close the grey valve and open the third valve to empty the rinse water from the black tank. When that stops flowing, the black valve is closed and the grey valve is opened to rinse the hose with the remaining grey water. It may seem a bit complicated, but it really isn't in practice. I only rarely need to give the black tank an actual full flush.

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