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Old 08-02-2021, 09:05 PM   #1
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Black Tank Treatment Procedure

Hi, we just bought a 2017 Flagstaff Highwall HW29SC and I have a question about treating the black tank. This is our first camper so Iím trying to learn as much as I can before we take a trip. When it comes to treating the black tank with a typical toilet treatment product, my understanding is you dump the tank, fill it with a little water, and flush the product down. However, with a pop up, I have to collapse the camper and pull it to the dump station. After dumping the black and gray tanks, I would then have to set the camper back up in order to treat the tanks. Does anyone have a procedure you have found to work?

Thanks!
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Old 08-02-2021, 10:58 PM   #2
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Keep in mind I have a cassette and only "#1" in it but we only treat when we set up to leave for a trip, never before. Your basically starting a biology experiment in your tank to help digest solids and hopefully reduce odor.

I cant imagine what a petri dish dump stations are with all the different products on the market today being put in tanks then dumped...
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Old 08-02-2021, 11:07 PM   #3
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Just put the chemicals in the first convenient opportunity you get. Whenever you get the chance without inconveniencing others, such as at a full hookup camp site, take the opportunity to do a good flush of the black water tank. Get a clear plastic elbow to connect to the sewer connection on the trailer so you can see when you get clear water out when flushing.
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Old 08-03-2021, 11:33 AM   #4
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I have the HW27KS, I only used my black tank for #1's so that's helps. (However, if I'm 'cut short' it would be okay to drop a #2 in it, it just hasn't happened yet!!)
When I set up at a campsite, I put chemicals in the tank, we use it then dump at the dumpsite. When I get home I shove a hose pipe up the drain & flush the best I can. If I'm staying at a sewer hook up I'll do a thorough flushing then or I set up on the driveway at least twice a year to do a clean/flush. There is no easy way to flush/clean a popup black tank without popping up, not that I have discovered anyway. Just do the best you can, try to fully flush about twice a year and you should be fine. I've never noticed any smells from my tank at all.
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Old 08-03-2021, 05:06 PM   #5
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A workaround. I had a Rockwood HW-277 with a 12-gallon black tank. When I flushed, I used one of these https://smile.amazon.com/Camco-Holdi...8026635&sr=8-9 (there are many variations on this theme) to ensure a thorough flush.
Note that a key component is the extra gate valve to allow you to stop the dump and push clean water back up into the tank. Some juggling of the main dump valve and the extra gate valve gives you lots of options for back filling and dumping. When the water comes out crystal clear, you're good to go.
You do not need to setup the rig to perform this procedure.

I'd add my tank treatment when setting up at the next site. Given the very small size of the black tank, I never added "water" to disolve the chemical. Instead, our urine would carry the chemical down into the tank along with the tiny bit of water involved in the flush. We used our bathroom for #1 AND #2. No problems. Of course, #2 tended to happen after quite a few #1 flushes had already added a gallon or two to the tank.

Once or twice a season, I'd setup in the driveway...often after putting it away wet and needing to dry it out...and then I'd take a garden hose inside the rig, make sure the water pump was off, step on the flush pedal (or pull the lever), and jet lots of water down into the tank. This high pressure water did a great job of dislodging any stubborn solids. I also used the garden hose to jet water down the sink drain to flush any coffee grounds and any other small food particles out of the J-trap. All this while dumping.

If you're really fastidious, use this tool https://smile.amazon.com/Valterra-A0...8026452&sr=8-6 in combination with the jet down the toilet method, and it will spray the tank walls just as a built in black-tank flush does.

But the Dual Flush Pro does an excellent job of thoroughly rinsing your black tank. Then close the main dump valve on the rig and let the rinse water thoroughly clean your stinky slinky.

Also note that if you have a handy sewer cleanout at home, you can use it as your dump station. My cleanout is a bit uphill from the dump valve in my driveway, so I use a macerator pump https://smile.amazon.com/Flojet-1855...%2C227&sr=8-39 and 3/4" "dirty" hose to dump from my rig at home. Note that it, too, has the backflush water jet valve. Just shut off the pump, and fresh water will back-fill the black tank. Then hit the start button, and out it goes. This works well.

I have a hard-side rig now, so I do the jet down the toilet every time I dump at home or dump station, and then I use the black tank flush. As black tanks go, the inside of mine is squeaky clean. But we boondock all the time, so I will use a small blackwater tote https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07DN8X8...1188d381c&th=1. Mine is 15 gallons, so I can fill it about halfway, lift it into the bed of my truck, haul it to a vault toilet, remove the seat in the vault toilet, and dump. Repeated half-baked dumps lead to a buildup of more solids in the tank, so the jet down the toilet method is especially important after a month or so of not doing a proper dump. But still no problems!

(Vault toilets are typically designed with a tapered hole in the concrete floor of the toilet. A similarly tapered flange on the bottom of the toilet seat aligns the seat with the hole. Give the toilet seat a gentle nudge with your foot or knee, and the seat can be lifted out entirely and set aside. Then wheel in your tote and dump away. When done, simply replace the seat, and everything is good to go...pun intended.)

One last tip. The best time to dump your black tank is AFTER driving a bit. Why? The motion of the ocean agitates and emulsifies the solids. After jostling the contents over a few miles, the dump is much cleaner and more complete right from the get go. That's another factor in favor of having a home dump station.

As they say, it's a crappy job, but somebody's gotta do it.

P.S. If you're not alergic to latex, these are the very best disposable gloves I've ever used. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Very sturdy and easy on/off. If you can't deal with latex, nitrile gloves are good, too. But all this work absolutely requires gloves along with some clorox wipes to clean door handles, flush levers, flashlights, and so on. An easy way to get very sick is to be sloppy with your sanitary procedures.

Enjoy your camper. We loved ours.
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Old 08-03-2021, 05:30 PM   #6
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I use Happy Camper, works great
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:26 PM   #7
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Wow... Flushing black tanks in your driveway?
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
Wow... Flushing black tanks in your driveway?
I guess I should have noted that I have a sewer outlet next to my driveway.
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Old 08-04-2021, 12:12 AM   #9
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I guess I should have noted that I have a sewer outlet next to my driveway.
I've seriously thought about paying to have one put in just for that purpose. Our lines are in the front yard near the driveway and I have a shrub area that would hide the outlet nicely. When we had our bathroom remodeled, the plumber said it could be done and is a easy job (with a power trencher). Not so much a DIY project though. Leave this one to the pro's.
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Old 08-04-2021, 11:05 AM   #10
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I've seriously thought about paying to have one put in just for that purpose. Our lines are in the front yard near the driveway and I have a shrub area that would hide the outlet nicely. When we had our bathroom remodeled, the plumber said it could be done and is a easy job (with a power trencher). Not so much a DIY project though. Leave this one to the pro's.
If your sewer line is close to your parking space for your TT, just dig down with a shovel to expose the piping. Install a clean out in the line with a sweep 90. Flush the top with the natural ground. If you have to install a line to extend to your parking spot, a trencher would be worth the rental. Home Depot rents the trenchers.
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Old 08-04-2021, 11:11 AM   #11
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I just use dump cart if a home dump is necessary. Tow it with John Deere over to septic tank lid.
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Old 08-04-2021, 11:13 AM   #12
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When I looked at the HW214 years ago, didn't even have a black tank, just a cassette toilet.
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Old 08-07-2021, 08:42 PM   #13
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Hi all, thanks so much for the great advice! I think we are going to get one of the mobile carts to dump black and gray tanks. We are looking at the SmartTote2. If anyone has others they like, I’d love to hear about them. Thanks again.
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Old 08-07-2021, 10:39 PM   #14
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I have a 28g Rhino. Like it a lot. Search the forum, there are a ton of threads about this already.
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Old 08-08-2021, 03:16 PM   #15
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My method is gross, but works.

Chemicals go in when we set up off hookups only.

When I have hookups I dont use chemical. Fill the thank with whatever (1 or 2) and dump periodically in the hookup sewer. Then before leaving flush a couple clean tanks of water through the black tank to clean.

When of hookups, I break down and then dump on the way out at the dump station (keep in mind I strongly encourage only #1 when not on full hookups). I drive home and usually pop up to unpack (yes the wife likes to keep lots of stuff in the camper that often needs unpacking). When in my driveway I add about 2-3 gallons of water to the empty black tank and then dump into a 5 gallon bucket. Depending on how well the dump at the dump station goes, this can be mostly clear to slightly yellow/brown. Anyhow, this either gets carried into to house and dumped in the toilet or dare I say, thrown into the woods. Then I repeat. Then I simply fill the tank one last time, maybe use the valtera spinner, and then let it rip onto the driveway. Its 99.4% water at this point and nothing worse than what the dogs and chickens leave lying around... I do hose off the driveway just to be extra safe...

I was thinking about building a modified septic/leach pit in my side yard. 55 gallon plastic barrel buried on a gravel bed. I'd add a few inches of gravel in the bottom on the barrel and drill many many perc holes in the bottom and sides. Then a 6" pvc pipe up to ground level. My wife would shoot me if she saw me build this, but hey, I'd be lying if I said I didn't think of it.

Whoops, did I just hit submit???
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Old 08-08-2021, 10:31 PM   #16
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I've had 2 travel trailers with 30+ gallon black water tanks. They both plugged up.

I currently have only that eco friendly Camco deodorizer, forget it, it is about worthless.

However I can't find any of the Thetford deodorizer that uses Formaldehyde as that is the best. It breaks down toilet paper and covers up odor.

The Camco TST Blue Enzyme is crap. It's like not using anything. Doesn't break down TP and odors are bad.

Before you flush your black water tank, you are suppose to fill it completely up to give you enough head pressure to completely flush the tank of debris. If you don't do this, debris is usually left behind to harden and cause plug ups.

I have had the tank plug up a few times and it's usually from using State Parks that have poor dump sites that aren't level and don't allow the tank to be completely emptied. In that case, I had to use a clean out wand that you can buy anywhere. Attach it to a hose and bring it inside the camper and put in the toilet and wash. It washes the sides of the tank. Also filling tank with toilet flush water and emptying it several times help clean the tank even more.

Since I rarely go to parks with septic at the sites, I had to do this at home. Flushed into a blue tote initially for solids and then flushed to yard when was mainly water. I have a large rural yard. Then take the full Blue tote to the next camping trip where it can be emptied. Yes, it's heavy, just a bit over 200 lbs so it had to be muscled into the truck bed.

This is one reason I didn't want a black holding tank, I wanted a toilet with a cassette tank which is much MUCH easier to empty and clean.

BTW, I've been using my 2-Wheel 25 gallon Tote-N-Store for 16 years. I wouldn't think about getting another brand.

Also do not dump your tank into a septic tank that uses aeration and aerobic bacteria. The anaerobic bacteria in an rv tank will convert your system to anaerobic and take a lot to get it back to aerobic. Been there, done that!
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Old 08-08-2021, 10:55 PM   #17
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Throughout the past 30 years I've had know it alls lecture me on black tank maintenance, at nauseam. They say it's it a holding tank, not a septic tank. I agree to disagree. if you don't take care of it you will wind up with the same problems as a septic tank. I laugh at people who profess the concocted Geo method, or the Dawn dish soap and the bags of ice dumped down the toilet. It's all snake oil! For years I use 1/4 cup of Walmart Septic Treatment (store brand RID-X), to about 5-10 gallons of water at the start of a trip. Never had any problems with flushing or sensor errors. If an odor develops a simple citrus pack will solve the problem. This isn't rocket science folks!
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Old 08-09-2021, 08:02 AM   #18
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I've used that Camco orange syrup, TST Max for past 3 years when I remember to, never had a problem with odors or proper emptying. For $5.64 at Walmart, good value, I'm still on my first container after approx 80 nights of camping since we bought camper.
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