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Old 04-09-2011, 12:04 PM   #1
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Concerns about Geo Method and bleach

As a newbie to the RV / Camping world I have emersed myself into all of the info I can find to try and minimize the likely mistakes I would otherwise make. This thread is specifically about the waste holding tanks not the fresh water tank.

I took great interest in this thread http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...nance-785.html

about properly maintaining the holding tanks. It sounded like a lot of great info until I got to the part where the author advocates the use of bleach in the holding tank. Now I'm certainly not a chemist, biologist or any other sort of scientist, but I have read that the break down of waste relies on enzymes and bacteria. My immediate concern was- how does the use of bleach effect this process?

What my search found was certainly a contradicting point of view. I didn't find anything that warns against the use of "Water Softner", but the use of bleach in the holding tanks was very much warned against.

A quote "Never use bleach to treat or "sweeten" a tank. Bleach can severely and quickly damage valves, seals, and gaskets"
found at :http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/water/az1233.pdf

Another author's qoute "There is much controversy over the Charles Bruni method described below. The first thing I will say about it is that I have NEVER used bleach in any of my tanks. The primary reason is that you want healthy bacteria in those tanks and bleach will kill the bacteria"
found here:RV Waste Water Treatment

Guess there are 2 sides to this coin....just food for thought.
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:10 PM   #2
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I love it when people actually do some research. IMHO you are right about your concerns. Bleach kills the bacteria and the seals.
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:16 PM   #3
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Always seems like a good idea to do your own homework with any advice taken off of the internet. Good job.

Sorry that I have nothing to add to the bleach debate. Interesting research through.
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:46 PM   #4
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I even though I use Calgon in my tanks to slicken the sides and probes, I have never used bleach in my black tank, and probably never will. I do use a little bleach in my fresh water tank every spring to sanitize my system, but that is only a 1/2 cup for 30 gallons of water.

Bleach would kill the bacteria in the black tank, maybe leading to less smelly tank, but the odor in mine is easily controlled by a non-formaldehyde deodorizer. Even though the black tank is not a septic tank (where solids are broken down), but instead a holding tank, I figure any breakdown with the solids there can't be a bad thing.
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:35 PM   #5
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Pages 45 and 46 of my owners manual talks about the holding tanks. It does not endorse using bleach to clean the gray or black water tanks, only to sanitize the fresh water tank.

It states, "do not put automotive antifreeze, household toilet cleaners or drain cleaners, or any solid material into the waste system. Always use chemicals in the black water system that are made especially for this purpose. When cleaning components of the waste water system, use cleaners made for RV systems."

Bleach has it place, but not in the waste tanks According to the owner's manual of course
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:31 PM   #6
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I guess I missed the part on bleach, never used it, never will for the holding tanks that is.It does not make sense to me either.

My GEO method does not include bleach. I do the Calgon, the clothes detergent and use single ply TP - I dump only when 3/4 to full - no odor and it has worked well to date. And as they say, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

One thing I learned: Fantastic fan must be off when you flush

I remember the days of using the blue chemical, it had that aircraft lavatory smell all the time. Good riddance.
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:53 PM   #7
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I guess I missed the part on bleach, never used it, never will for the holding tanks that is.It does not make sense to me either.

My GEO method does not include bleach. I do the Calgon, the clothes detergent and use single ply TP - I dump only when 3/4 to full - no odor and it has worked well to date. And as they say, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

One thing I learned: Fantastic fan must be off when you flush

I remember the days of using the blue chemical, it had that aircraft lavatory smell all the time. Good riddance.
I still use the blue deodorizer.....just in case I forget to turn off the fantastic fan before flushing.
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:58 PM   #8
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One thing I learned: Fantastic fan must be off when you flush
Wow, I learned that one too! Also don't use the fan when the tank is nearly full. It will be your last warning before the bowl won't empty.
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Old 04-09-2011, 05:17 PM   #9
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Wow, I learned that one too! Also don't use the fan when the tank is nearly full. It will be your last warning before the bowl won't empty.
Ummmm, I'm missing something here
WHAT happens if you have the fan on when you flush????????
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Old 04-09-2011, 05:28 PM   #10
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The Fantastic fan lives up to its name and displaces lots of air - if you have it on, even on low speed, and you flush .... well it pulls all the aromas from the black tank, enough to raise the dead
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Old 04-09-2011, 06:02 PM   #11
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Ummmm, I'm missing something here
WHAT happens if you have the fan on when you flush????????
When in full hookups, I typically need to dump every 4-5 days or so (when I notice the 3/4 light go out). We use a lot of water when we flush. We had a couple stay with us a week and on day three we started getting an awful smell in the camper with the roof vents open and the bathroom fan running. The black tank roof vent was up wind such that the fan was sucking air OUT of the bathroom and sucking in air from the roof vent in the LR complete with vent odor.

Turning off the fan and opening windows cleared the smell and after I dumped things were quickly back to normal (it was quite full). I believe the liquid level had reached the vent opening at the top of the tank and when the Hopper was flushed it "burped" up the vent stack.

The extra "non-camper" users filled the tank much quicker than I was expecting.
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Old 04-09-2011, 09:40 PM   #12
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When in full hookups, I typically need to dump every 4-5 days or so (when I notice the 3/4 light go out). We use a lot of water when we flush. We had a couple stay with us a week and on day three we started getting an awful smell in the camper with the roof vents open and the bathroom fan running. The black tank roof vent was up wind such that the fan was sucking air OUT of the bathroom and sucking in air from the roof vent in the LR complete with vent odor.

Turning off the fan and opening windows cleared the smell and after I dumped things were quickly back to normal (it was quite full). I believe the liquid level had reached the vent opening at the top of the tank and when the Hopper was flushed it "burped" up the vent stack.

The extra "non-camper" users filled the tank much quicker than I was expecting.
I am glad I decided to read this forum topic. Besides the laugh I got from it (Sorry Herk, but you got to admit it is funny), I learned something that hopefully will save me some grief in the future.

I moved up from a trailer that had a recirculating toilet (no black tank), so this problem had never occurred to me.

I did have my own non-camper issue. I had already winterized the camper but went for a one night stay at a local campground with some friends, with more non-camping friends joining our group. Since it was just going to be an overnighter, I decided not to even hookup any water, so I wouldn't have to do the winterizing thing over again when I got home.

We were playing cards in another friends camper, and several of the ladies in the group went to mine to watch tv and gossip

Well, they all decided to use my bathroom (with no water). I had about half a roll of toilet paper, just sitting in the toilet........which I had to flush down with sweet tea (it's all I had available) and then drain it all out when I got home.

OK Lou, now we're even...cause I'm sure you're laughing at me now.
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:25 PM   #13
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No sir. No laughing here!



There but for the grace of God....
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Old 04-10-2011, 08:02 PM   #14
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Ahhhh, I never thought of that happening with the fan on.......I was aware of the 'smell' when you 'flushed' the toilet, but ..........LOL
Glad I read this!!!!!!!!
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