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Old 04-07-2012, 07:59 AM   #1
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black tank smell-tried everything

Our 2010 Cardinal has had issues of black tank odors from day 1. The dealer claims to have "checked it". We've been RVing for over 10 years and don't feel completely ignorant on the subject however here is the doesn't matter if the temperature is 30 degrees or 90 degrees and how little or much toilet treatment you use (or what brand for that matter) when the black tank reaches approximately 20 gallons (full is 40 gallons) the odor is extremely noticable. We do not get any "splashback" when flushing and when we drain the black tank, there is a good flow. Although this issue has ensured that we have never overfilled our 25 gallon portable blue goose, we know it's not working correctly either. Any suggestions? Appreciate comments & help!

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Old 04-07-2012, 08:19 AM   #2
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Would check the roof vents by pulling the caps off and inserting a garden hose in them (without the water being on in the hose in case there is a blockage)

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Old 04-07-2012, 09:11 AM   #3
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An RV holding tank is no different than a septic tank for a house. There is a complete biological universe in the tank.
A properly functioning system will have little or no noticeable odor. Using nasty chemicals to clean or help break down those solids kills the ecosystem & only masks the odor for a short time.

We have been using organic “EarthwormSeptic System Treatment” powder for a couple years now & do not have any odor at all.
After dumping the tank I add a couple gallons of water to help keep the ecosystem going & that’s about it. We throw in a ¼ cup or so a couple times a year as a booster.

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Old 04-07-2012, 09:17 AM   #4
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I haven't used the GEO Method yet, but I'm sure that it works.

Edit: After reading Douglas' post below, I think that he is onto something. I was looking at tanks on websites and it seems that they are not pre-drilled for vent pipes. If the RV manuf. drills the hole and installs the vent pipe...
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:28 AM   #5
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It almost sounds like the vent pipe is too far down into the holding tank, especially since it doesnt start until you have about 20 gallons in the tank.
I dont know how to check that out, one way might be to take a tape measure and try to measure down from the roof to the bottom of the tank and then try to catch the edge of the pipe with the hook on the tape to see what the difference is. then you would need to know about how tall your tank is and then compare the 2 numbers the vent pipe probably should not stick down into the tank any further than and inch or so.
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:30 AM   #6
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Is the smell when you flush after half full ?
I think what could be happening is that when your tank gets half full your vent pipe is covered up because it sticks to far into tank and the smell cannot go out vent .
its possible
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:42 AM   #7
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The most logical problem is a blocked vent pipe, remove the cap and check it out. I have been advised never to treat the holding system in an Rv as a septic system - two differing animals. Ours is just that a holding system.
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:55 AM   #8
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IMHO the author of the GEO article must have been huffing too much beach fumes & it sanitized his brain. A proper working vent & a proper functioning biosystem system equals no smell.

Also he mentions in the article to only use “RV TP”.
Don’t waste your money on special “RV TP” unless you like throwing your money down the drain too. We’ve been using Scott single ply for over 20 yrs & have never had a problem.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:32 AM   #9
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For what it's worth, we had trouble with our black tank smell soon after our purchase of our TT, and I installed the Cyclone Vent on the roof. Very easy installation and no more smell. In later camping trips, we encountered grey tank smells emerging, and I installed another on the grey tank vent. Took care of that too. No more since and its been 3 years.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:36 PM   #10
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If it gets more noticable at a partially full level, it sounds like the vent pipe is inserted too far.

Something else to check would be sink and shower traps. Sometimes, due to floorplans, a sink (or worse - a shower) will be routed into black instead of gray tank. If this happens, and the trap is dry (some people never use a second sink, and I know some who use their shower as a closet or pantry, and bathe in the CG facilities), then this dry trap will allow fumes to pass. Water poured down the drain will fill the trap, and stop fumes.

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