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Old 04-25-2013, 12:27 PM   #1
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black and gray tanks

So, we are going on our first ever shake-down trip! Got our check lists and probably way more stuff than we need. question! do you hook up your sewer hose when you set up and open valves or wait until you get ready to leave to dump tanks. What is thr right sequence? gray empty and close valve or vs versa thanks
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Old 04-25-2013, 12:29 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by bandit9077 View Post
So, we are going on our first ever shake-down trip! Got our check lists and probably way more stuff than we need. question! do you hook up your sewer hose when you set up and open valves or wait until you get ready to leave to dump tanks. What is thr right sequence? gray empty and close valve or vs versa thanks
Dump when full only.
Dump Black first then close then dump gray.

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Old 04-25-2013, 12:41 PM   #3
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I would say that it depends on how long you're staying in one spot. I hook up the drain hose and then open up the gray water. A couple of days before dumping the black water, I close the gray water valve. That way there's gray water to rinse the hose with after dumping the black. The shower is used every day so there's always gray water to rinse with. Just make sure you use plenty of water when you flush the toilet. You'll get used to not looking at the lights to see where the level is at. Watch out for the bubble when you flush and that will indicate it's getting close to dumping. Have fun and enjoy.
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Old 04-25-2013, 01:36 PM   #4
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I do basically like pipeman says.

More times than not, I hookup sewer right away because we shower in our camper and 3 1/2 people showering fills the gray tank pretty quick (like 1 day).

I am about 50/50 on leaving my gray tank handle open to allow my gray water to run down and out. When I know I'm going to be dumping, I close it with enough time to fill the gray tank (couple of showers, or day or so with our galley sink). I have 3 gray tanks and the 3rd one is my outdoor kitchen all by its lonesome-self - that one, I normally have to let the tap run for 10-12 minutes to fill. Waste of water, but what can ya do.

When it's time to dump - I'll pull my black handle and let the "stuff" fly. Once it's empty, I'll turn on the hose to the black tank flush (or for our 1/2 bath, I'll go run the sink/toilet). I let it run with the handle open for a little and then I close the tank again and let the tank fill up with clean water for a bit (3-4 minutes for the tank rinser and 6-7 minutes for the sink/toilet running). I'll pull the handle and dump it again. I usually "flush" the tanks 2 or 3 times. I have clear elbows that let me see how the water is running and my goal is for "pretty clear".

Once I'm happy with the black tanks, I'll then dump the gray tanks. I only ever do one handle at a time and let it completely finish before going to the next.
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Old 04-25-2013, 01:56 PM   #5
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thanks for your imput it is certainly appreciated. We are really excited! Will have our computer with us so we may be calling for help Thanks again
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:11 PM   #6
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Before I dump the black for the first time, I pull the handle for the gray and let a gallon or more of the gray drain. That way I know if the connections are secure.

Also, before hooking up to the campground septic pipe, I do a check down the pipe to look for any visible obstructions. I started doing both of these things (checking the pipe, and dumping a small amount of gray first) after being sprayed by black water on a camping trip. Someone before me had dropped a ball down the pipe, I didn't know about it, so when I went to dump..... If I had let a little of the gray down first, I would have had gray over me instead of black.
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:39 PM   #7
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Dump when full only.

Dump Black first then close then dump gray. Turbs
I do like Turbs. Sometimes partially dump a gray if I'm a day from check-out to reserve a little for final day flush-out.

I do not open my gray and leave open. It's not the odor thing like a friend suggested... I've watched some interesting things crawl out of a CG sewer connectiion. Rather they be knocking on my grey door than just crawl right on in open.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:48 PM   #8
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Who back flushes their black tank with the grey water once the black tank is empty.

I find if I empty my black tank (keep black tank valve open) than close the main valve and open the grey tank it will fill the black tank. This helps in getting more out of the black tank.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:10 PM   #9
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Who back flushes their black tank with the grey water once the black tank is empty.

I find if I empty my black tank (keep black tank valve open) than close the main valve and open the grey tank it will fill the black tank. This helps in getting more out of the black tank.

Most of us have 2 valves only. One for black and one for grey and those feed into one going out. No way to back flsuh black tank with grey.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:22 PM   #10
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It could be a very bad idea to introduce gray water into the black water tank for flushing, because there is a chance you could get black water into your gray water tank. You treat your black water tank with chemicals, but not your gray water tank. If you get black water into your gray water tank, you are asking for trouble, as the bacteria starts to grow unabated.

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Old 05-02-2013, 10:06 PM   #11
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Between camping trips, I usually pour a small amount of liquid deodorizer into the gray tank (with just enough water to clear drain trap) to prevent bacteria growth. Is that a bad idea? Didn't figure it could hurt.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:13 PM   #12
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I finish with an additional flush with the black tank to rinse out the line from the gray. Grey water is pretty funky to.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:21 PM   #13
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I finish with an additional flush with the black tank to rinse out the line from the gray. Grey water is pretty funky to.
I also add a little of those bad stuff eating bacteria to both tanks occasionally, not every dump. Maybe every 5 or 6. There are many brands out there so take your pick. This sure seems to help....
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:52 PM   #14
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I read an interesting article on black water tank cleaning called the Geo Method.

Sounds like a winner minus the chlorine part, the campers that are using it just do the Calgon and dish detergent without the chlorine. Some campers suggest throwing in a tablet/packet of electric dish washing machine soap to keep the water soft, thus eliminating anything from sticking to the sensors and sides of tank.

I will be using the black tank for the first time this coming weekend in my new mini-lite. I am going to put in a cup calgon water softener before using the tank and test out this cleaning method. Your suppose to use it when the tank is very dirty, but I figure if i use a cup every other tank to keep the water soft it won't hurt and possibly help keep it from getting grungy and keep the sensors working correctly.

Oh yes, I always keep the black water closed, when full or 3/8 I flush, then go after it with the gray, helps keep the hose clean.

My 2 cents
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:43 PM   #15
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I did the same thing on my first time out, but I sure glad I left my gray water open, everything was brand new fresh out the boxes, my hose developed a leak during my first weekend of camper. I am glad I found the leak on my hose before I did dump my black water tank. Just a quick FYI, I would check my hose connections to make sure that they are screwed up all the way into the connection so you do not have a blow out while dumping the black tank.
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Old 05-24-2013, 08:59 AM   #16
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Geo method which uses Calgon water softner and laundry detergent for the black tank and just laundry detergent for the gray tank, once in a while, is all that I use.
It works great.
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Old 05-24-2013, 09:28 AM   #17
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Whj77372,

Great to hear that the Geo method with Calgon works, I am definitely going to do it then.
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Old 05-24-2013, 09:50 AM   #18
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Geo method which uses Calgon water softner and laundry detergent for the black tank and just laundry detergent for the gray tank, once in a while, is all that I use.
It works great.
I think it's just water softener for the gray tanks. (They already get soap in them.)
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:08 AM   #19
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I had this very discussion while camping this weekend. A new camper asked if he should leave his tanks open since he's at a full hook up. I personally don't for several reasons, one of which has already been mentioned. I don't want the creatures that live in sewage crawling into my holding tanks. I was also at a site where the sewage got backed up and started coming up out of the ground with enough force if your lines were open it could have came back into your unit.

I dump my black once it's 1/2-3/4 full, and dump the grey tank. Once dumped, I add a few gallons of water back to the tanks and then I treat them. I treat my black tank with chemicals to break down the waste (various ones you can buy) and my own solution. I use Laundry detergent, dish deteregent, fabric softner, and clorox (dollar store is great for this). I have heard some say don't use clorox, but so far it this solution has worked for me.

I dumped and there was no smell at all from my black tank. Back flushed it a couple times and was done. Wish I could say the same for my neighbor camper. When they dumped everyone within 100 yards knew it.

I have to ask what is the Geo method?
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:13 AM   #20
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The GEO Method:
https://sites.google.com/site/cbruni/
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