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Old 07-27-2013, 11:59 PM   #1
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Horrible black water stink

Let me start off that I screwed up on my last camping trip. We boondocked for 15 days. At the end of the trip I drove to the nearest dumping station and dumped. There wasn't a good hose attachment so I didn't clean out the tank really well (no back filling or wanding). Also the road was off kilter, leaning the camper to the non hose side so I don't think the tank really fully emptied. We never had bad odors at any point on that trip or while parked at home for the next two weeks.

Flash forward to today. We just arrived and set up. Nearly immediately after using the bathroom, a horrible, overpowering odor is assailing the entire camper. Even the bathroom fan isn't helping much! There is a dump station here (no septic hookup in my site) but parking the camper was very tough and I really don't want to fold up the hybrid and dump again. I've used more of those orange packets but the smell is nauseating.

Tomorrow I plan to add 6 to 10 gallons of water. Any other ideas? I'm contemplating adding a quart of bleach despite reading two different schools of thought on bleach. The smell is that bad! I'm not inclined to go out and spend big bucks on a portable black water tank because we don't ever need it and it would just be another unnecessary and gross thing to haul around.

I've read a lot of tips on what to do next time but those won't help me now. Like I said, parking the rig was very tough and stressful (small site plus limited maneuvering areas plus uneven ground requiring lots of leveling blocks plus annoying wooden site number posts always in a spot where I can't see them). I really don't want to move it again until we leave. I'm not sure my marriage could survive having to repark this thing!

Any ideas?
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:26 AM   #2
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I'm not in any way the best person to be advising, but the first thing coming to mind is that if the seal on the toilet isn't sealing off, and the toilet bowl isn't holding water, then the bathroom fan is pulling that stench up out of the tank constantly.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:31 AM   #3
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I say this because I've read here that the best way to know if the black tank is cleaned well is to hold the flush peddle down and turn on that fan. If it's not cleaned good you'll *know* it quickly!

I don't wanna offend you, you may be much more experienced with camping that we are, but *is* the toilet bowl holding water? Is tissue stuck in the rubber seal?
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If age is a state of mind, and I've lost my mind, I'm AGELESS, right?
Give me 40 acres and I'll turn this rig around:
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:31 AM   #4
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The bowl is holding water.


My other thought was maybe the vent pipe wasn't working right. This is the first problem like this we've ever had in this camper so if the vent pipe got messed up it happened in the last few weeks of while sitting in my driveway. There were no odor problems during the last 15 day boondock trip. I really think this is a problem of a ripe tank due to not being flushed properly.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:34 AM   #5
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I saw a thread discussing the non porcelain toilet with a shell within a shell, where ummm "black tank" flushes were leaking into the space between the walls of the toilet.

Try doing a search here on the forum for black tank odors up in the search bar above?
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If age is a state of mind, and I've lost my mind, I'm AGELESS, right?
Give me 40 acres and I'll turn this rig around:
Flagstaff 5er 2014 8528 IKWS, Platinum Package, Regency Interior "Buffy"
F250 Super Duty 2013 Tuxedo Black "Biff"
Days camped 2014: 30
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:36 AM   #6
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You mentioned not wanting to buy a "honey wagon" that you'd only use once....often other campers will loan theirs to ya. Might try that, explaining you've an emergency?

I know *we* certainly would loan ours in such a situation and I've seen campers loaning theirs.
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If age is a state of mind, and I've lost my mind, I'm AGELESS, right?
Give me 40 acres and I'll turn this rig around:
Flagstaff 5er 2014 8528 IKWS, Platinum Package, Regency Interior "Buffy"
F250 Super Duty 2013 Tuxedo Black "Biff"
Days camped 2014: 30
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:38 AM   #7
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Seeing as it's late, is there a WalMart near ya? I'd be sending someone there for incense, room spray...SOMETHING.

I feel for ya, not conducive to a decent night's sleep.
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If age is a state of mind, and I've lost my mind, I'm AGELESS, right?
Give me 40 acres and I'll turn this rig around:
Flagstaff 5er 2014 8528 IKWS, Platinum Package, Regency Interior "Buffy"
F250 Super Duty 2013 Tuxedo Black "Biff"
Days camped 2014: 30
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:40 AM   #8
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There is no easy answer to flushing your black tank. No chemicals are going to mask the problem, your only recourse is to get to the dump station with plenty of water in the black tank and a good thorough flush.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:43 AM   #9
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This is no ones fault but mine . I don't think we have any mechanical or plumbing issues. Just a ripe tank an I'm not sure what to do in the meantime until I can properly flush it out next weekend when we leave.

Honey wagon. Ha. Love the term! I'll search the campground but most people have sewer hook ups. My wife booked this site late so we have have 1 of the 3 sites without a sewer. Still, some better prepared camper may have one!

We did hit up a Walmart and bought a smelly candle and a bathroom deodorizer. They're not helping!

I should have refilled the tank with more water and ice after the last dump and the reflushed it at my local rv store ($$)... But it has never been an issue before. I really am just hoping for a short term bandaid to get us through the week.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:44 AM   #10
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Gray and Black water tank cleaning.


Baking soda?
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If age is a state of mind, and I've lost my mind, I'm AGELESS, right?
Give me 40 acres and I'll turn this rig around:
Flagstaff 5er 2014 8528 IKWS, Platinum Package, Regency Interior "Buffy"
F250 Super Duty 2013 Tuxedo Black "Biff"
Days camped 2014: 30
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