Holding Tank Maintenance when Bugging Out
By Joseph Parish
As those that follow my blog and website may be aware I am current bugging out in a travel trailer and as such I find that there are certain things that one must do on a routine basis to maintain sanitary conditions. One of these tasks is to properly drain and clean the campers holding tanks.
You may already be aware that most self contained campers and RV’s have several holding tanks. Usually you will have Black water and a grey water tank. In my case, I have three of them – the black water, the galley tank and the grey water tank which is used for the shower and bathroom sink. Proper maintenance of these tanks is important in order to maintain a healthy environment while using the camper.
If you fail to maintain your tanks properly you could be looking at some major expenses in regards to the necessary repairs you may have to accomplish. Since the unit that we purchased was previously owned it had a certain amount of solid waste built up inside the tanks which we are slowly breaking down and getting cleaned out.
After accomplishing some extensive research into waste water tanks I have come up with the following course of action in regards to their maintenance. Most of the procedures that I will explain in this article are simple and the cost is relatively inexpensive.
One of the first tricks of the trade that I learned early on was to make sure that I allow the tank to fill up somewhat before emptying it. I have my unit connected to a septic system and have found that if the tank valves are left open it simply does not provide enough force to wash all the solid waste down the sewer pipes. With this thought in mind I began leaving the valve closed until the tank was sufficiently built up with waste. By leaving the tank drain valves open all of the liquid drains out of the tank leaving an abundance of solid waste remaining.
When dumping your tanks always dump your black water tank first and flush it with running water. Next open and flush your grey water allowing the grey water to wash the pipes down from the waste from the commode. In my case I would dump the black water, the galley and finally the shower and sink water. The point here is to dump the dirtiest water first.
I recently chanced upon a useful tip concerning water softener. If you use two cups of powdered water softener such as Calgon with a gallon of hot water and place it in your tanks it will permit the solid waste to release from the tank and flow out the drain much easier. For sanitary and odor control it never hurts to pour a gallon of bleach into the tank as well. This tends to sanitize and disinfect the tanks themselves. You will find this to be a very effective odor control method.
Although I have not even scratched the surface in holding tank maintenance if you do a quick search on the net will reap you some very good tips that you can add to those few that I have provided here.
Copyright @2009 Joseph Parish