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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: First time out blues
Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 03 Sep 2002 14:54:44 -0400

On 3 Sep 2002 07:06:42 -0700, (Brushpopper) wrote:

>very nice and it only took a couple of minutes and the flame was lit.
>This didnt bother much but I was angered at the misguidance from the

How do you tell if a dealer is lying?  His mouth is moving.....

You'll find that this group and other campers will be your best resources.
When I bought my MH about 4 years ago I hadn't had an RV in over 30 years.  I
knew the basics but so much had changed.  Other campers were most helpful, as
were SOME people in this group.

>The trip went well until it was time to leave. As I was
>emptying the black water tank I was trying to clear the debry from the
>hose and when I did the hose fell from the camper hook up. Yuk!
>Luckily I had the black water tank shut and the only mess I made was
>from the hose and it wasnt much. I noticed that the fifth wheel beside
>us had a clamp and now I know what what to do next time out. I know
>most people reading this are geting a good laugh and are saying what
>an idiot. I did read the material that was givin to me and it says
>nothing about installing a o-ring clamp to keep the hose attached to
>the hook up. I had no-one to give advise and the dealer was not any
>help at all. I am somewhat discusted about the whole deal but I know
>it can only get better.

You're over the worst part.

On the black water tank, a few tips.  First, get a high quality drain hose and
fitting.  There are 3 or 4 grades.  Campingworld carries 3 and I buy the
middle grade.  I also bought the red EZ-on/off valve adapter

This fitting is made of a softer plastic so it doesn't break if you drop it on
hard surfaces.  It screws into the hose and so doesn't need a clamp.  And the
4 dogs engage the valve much tighter than the cheaper ones.  If you think
solids are a problem (they shouldn't be, see below), then you might consider
one of these clear fittings:

I use a pair of the male/female 45 deg adapters to make a 90 deg fitting for
dumping directly into the sewage manhole outside my building.  This plastic is
brittle so I'd not rely on it for routine use.

Solids should not be a problem.  The key is to use enough water.  My rule is a
whole toilet bowl of water for every wad of paper.  The other thing to do is
at the end of the trip, fill the black water tank nearly full with water.
That way the rush of liquid will carry out all the solids.

I've never needed any sort of cleaning tool.  From reports on this group, some
people with poorly designed and/or poorly operated systems do.  I think that
the key is making sure there's plenty of water in the tank before dumping.

If you have full hookups, do NOT leave your dump valve open.  Fill the tank
and dump.  That way solids don't have a chance to pile up in the tank.

For the ultimate in convenience, get an electrically operated dump valve. I
used to think these things were silly but the more I camp, the older I get and
the stiffer my back gets, the better this thing looks. Here's a good one.

I'm about to put one on my rig.  I think I'm going to hook it up to an extra
channel on my wireless entry/start system so that I can actuate it from my
keyring.  This type of valve is particularly handy if you stay in full hookup
CGs.  You don't have to go outside to periodically dump that way.

>Right now Im feeling a little discouraged about the whole thing. I had
>a good time camping up until the end. My family did too. I am still
>not giving up.

Give up after one trip?  NEVER!  You have the worst behind you.  It only gets
easier.  Working off a checklist, it used to take me several hours to get my
rig ready.  Now I do it out of my head in oh, 15 mins or so.  After a few
trips everything will become second nature.

BTW, you're not a REAL camper until you've had a black water bath.  I got my
bath when working on the exhaust system, my elbow bumped the valve and the
whole valve came off!  I was, of course, sitting right in front of it.  The
valve was held to the tank by a rubber hose and two clamps and they'd come
loose.  yeuck!  That sucker is glued and clamped six ways from Sunday now :-)


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Mastering the Macerator
Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 07 Jun 2003 19:20:13 -0400

On Sat, 07 Jun 2003 12:04:17 -0500, Bob Giddings <> wrote:

>The heavy duty hose I ordered with the pump, which smugly advertised
>"rubber cuffs on either end, which allow for push on connection, no
>clamps required", came loose from the vinyl hose in two places,
>spewing fertilizer everywhere before I could splash in there and turn
>off the pump.
>Well.  An hour and four hose clamps later, I think everything is in
>order.  A proper test will take another week or so.  I only had about
>30 gallons of the precious stuff to test with, and that's mostly
>watered into the lawn now.  Mostly.  I've been showered and scrubbed.
>And scrubbed.  Everything I was wearing has been through the wash
>cycle.  Including my shoes.   I even managed to get the sticky bits of
>toilet paper off my glasses without scratching the lenses.
>Perhaps I am permitted a Two Beer Moment.  It is a nice Moon.
>The lessons here are obvious, in retrospect.  Aren't they always?
>When you are dealing with sewage, the slightest misstep will land you
>in deep shit.  That's also a natural consequence of having your head
>up your ass.  I would suggest (ah, wisdom) testing the system with
>clear water first.  And at that ultimate moment, be sure to keep your
>mouth closed.

Reminds me of my oh, third or forth trip in my rig.  The black valve is held
to the tank with one of those flex black rubber couplings with hose clamps
used to splice PVC pipe together.  Only I didn't know that.

So I'm sitting there on the ground in front of the electrical cord box, having
just pulled in the campground.  I'm trying to get the electrical cord
untangled and out of the box.  The black valve is near my right elbow.  One
final tug, the cord comes loose and my elbow just touches the black valve.  It
fell off.

I think there's a primal instinct down deep somewhere in the brain that
prepares us for loose shit valves.  Before I realized what I'd done I rolled
on my side, just barely outrunning the brown hordes marching forth.

When the, er, fog cleared, there was an about 20 ft long swath of black tank
artifacts laying right there in our campsite.  Uuugghhhhh....  The cleanup
with no tools other than gloved hands was memorable...  My black tank valve is
now screwed on, safety wired on and epoxied on.  Even a blowout later didn't
manage to knock it off, though it did break the valve.

>A good-sized bucket might come in handy.
>I figure most of the time I will want to dump by gravity in the usual
>way.  No muss, no fuss, and quickly done.  Occasionally, however, it
>may be good to empty the tanks uphill into a toilet, or the back of my
>brother's truck.  Here at home, I will no longer have to move the
>trailer every 10 days or so.  The unavoidable practical problem,
>though, even when things go well, is that it takes a good bit of clear
>water to clean the smell out of the pump - not to mention the drain
>hose.  When boondocking, as is my wont, that much water may not always
>be readily available.  So I may have just spent around 200 bucks for
>something that will only be rarely used.

What I do with my 90 deg elbow I use to dump in sanitary sewers is run just
enough fresh water through it to see clear and then put it in a heavy
industrial strength zip-lock bag.  I occasionally apply a squirt of some HVAC
odor destroyer but I'm not sure that's necessary.

I wonder if you could mount a securely latchable box, say a 30 mm cannon ammo
box, up under your rig to hold the pump?


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Duration of Odor Control
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2004 16:33:15 -0400
Message-ID: <>

Just had an interesting experience in this area.  A couple of weeks ago we
spent 6 miserable days parked in the lot of a transmission repair shop in (God
help us) Deeeetroit while the pikers took 3 shots to get it right.  When the
transmission grenaded the black tank was probably 1/3 to 1/2 full.  I hadn't
treated it because we dump every 2-3 days.  It had been 2 days.  When we got
settled at the transmission shop I treated the tank with some non-formaldehyde
stuff I'd gotten at Camping world.  By the second day in the lot the odor was
horrible.  I dumped in the rest of the bottle of treatment.  No change.  By
the third day it was unbearable.

I remembered that I had bought a bottle of formaldehyde treatment for this
trip.  I dumped in about 1/4 of the bottle (about twice the recommended dose.)
Most of the odor was gone in a few hours.  When they test-drove the unit and
stirred up the tanks, the odor practically disappeared.

The holding tank filled up on the 5th day.  I'd gone to a nearby Camping World
and purchased blue turd tank.  There was an abandoned septic tank in the
shop's holding pen and I dumped there.  A couple of interesting observations.
One, the odor was rather minimal.  Two, the toilet paper was completely
disintegrated.  We use ordinary Charmin.

I learned several things from this:

1. keep the tanks empty - dump at every opportunity.
2. Formaldehyde tank treatment is the only type that actually works.  No
surprise there.
3. Blue tank turd hauling sucks.  I'd quit camping before I'd do that very
4. If the Good Lord wanted to give the US an enema, Detroit would be where he
stuck the hose.  Try not to EVER break down there.


On Sun, 25 Jul 2004 18:14:51 GMT, John Anonymous <> wrote:

>How long, in a hot climate, can you go without dumping the black tank
>before the odor control product stops working?
>John S

From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Concrete Pad for RV
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 23:41:33 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Thu, 05 Aug 2004 01:10:04 GMT, "Nate"
<> wrote:

>I plan to pour the pad so that it extends from the side of my house to my
>property line.  I thought it would be convenient to have the dump hole right
>where I park the rig.
>This will be more of a drive way on the side of my house than a pad...if
>that makes any sense

 (just shaking my head in amazement at some of the "advice" in this thread.
Steve Wolf is right on!)

Let's make this simple.  Forget all the fine engineering (sic).  Overkill this
project and don't pay it another thought.  Make the slab 5-6" and there will
be no question as to its strength.  This probably won't cost you a penny extra
since most cement companies have a minimum purchase that this project probably
won't exceed.  Put some gravel under the pad to separate the clay (which is
unstable when wet) from the concrete.  If you can't hammer stakes into the
ground and set 2X6 planks level as the forms, find some mexicans who can.
Almost every town now has a corner where they congregate looking for day
labor.  You'll have to tell them what to do but this ain't rocket science.
You can even do your own finishing to an adequate surface finish for this sort
of pad.  Get a book on concrete finishing at home depot.  All you really need
is a 2X6 long enough to span across the forms.  You use this to jog the
concrete level with the forms.  The finish is rough but that's what you want
where ice can form.

Here's what we did when we poured the slab for my mom's MH.  I marked the spot
where the dump valve would be when the MH was parked.  I formed up a square
hole 1' to the side.  I then formed up a steeply tapered funnel about a foot
into the ground that attached to the sewer pipe the mexicans had run.  Yeah,
they chiseled a hole through the foundation to connect to the sewer.  NO big
deal.  When the concrete was poured I ended up with a square hole in the pad
that tapered down to the sewer pipe.  I made a marine plywood cap to cover the
hole and installed a couple of eye bolts in the concrete and a rod across the
plywood so I could lock it shut to keep the vandals out.  I put rubber closed
pore weatherstrip around the edge of the cover to seal in the sewer gas and
seal out leaves and other crud.

To dump, all I do is back the MH in place, remove the hole lid, attach a 90
deg elbow to the dump connection on the MH and operate the valve.  No stinky
slinky necessary.  I give the hole a good hosing afterward to remove the
residue.  I keep the elbow in the hole to always have it handy.  I set a
mailbox post in the slab near the dump hole.  In the mailbox I keep a box of
disposable gloves.  That way I always have them handy.

I can't say I thought of this idea.  I first saw it at an RV park in Florida.

I'm sure that somewhere there is some town with a petty bureaucrat who would
say this doesn't meet this code or that.  OTOH, if you don't ask you can't be
told no.

From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: If you really fixed the stove, why do I still smell propane?
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 11:31:23 -0500
Message-ID: <>

On Sun, 30 Jan 2005 20:37:51 -0600, Harvey Gerst <>

>>Single-ply white TP is best in an RV. Charmin or Scott.  You don't have to
>>spend $$$ on the fancy RV store stuff.  Use an enzyme or enzyme and bacteria
>>based holding tank additive.
>>Janet Wilder
>>The Road Princess
>>Residentially Challenged
>Wow, thank you for that tip.  That just saved me a whole bunch of money
>and makes a lot of sense.


If your MH's sewer system is well designed (most MHs are, many trailers
aren't from my observations) with a straight shout out of the toilet into
the holding tank and another straight shot to the dump valve, you can use
most any kind of toilet paper you desire.  I use the same Charmin
scentless super rolls that I use at home and in the restaurant.  The
problems arise when the pipe from the toilet isn't straight which can
allow debris to pile up.  Once the TP is in the tank, it breaks down
fairly rapidly.  I've had a few occasions to, uh, verify this fact by
inspection :-(.

The important thing to keep in mind is that with the single exception of
TP, if your body doesn't produce it, it doesn't belong in the toilet.
Feminine hygiene products, wet wipes, etc are a no-no.

Regarding enzymes in the tank, this gets to be one of those hot topics on
occasion.  To quote Steve Wolf, "I'm not running a septic system here, I
have a HOLDING tank".  Unless you do like my dad did once and left a tank
full to sit half a summer before dumping, your "stuff" isn't going to be
in there long enough for any of the enzymes or bacteria treatments to

What you're interested in is having everything suitably liquefied so that
dumping is easy and to have no odor. To reduce the odor, one kills the
bacteria that makes it.  I've tried a lot of products, pretty much
everything Camping World sells, and I always come back to the good old
Thetford Aqua-Chem Strong Odor Control that is formaldehyde-based.

This stuff controls odor even under "difficult" circumstances, like when
we were stranded for 6 days last July in Deeeetroit with a blown
transmission.  I had started the trip testing that "Odores" product, the
one with the cute little European slashes through the "o"s.  I try to dump
about every 3rd day and unfortunately the tranny blew on "dump day".  We
lasted about 2 more days in the tranny shop parking lot in the July heat
before I declared the test a failure, our noses begging for mercy.  I
borrowed a car from the tranny shop, drove about 10 miles to a Camping
World I'd seen coming in and got a jug of the Thetford good stuff.

Within a couple of hours of adding the formaldehyde, the odor was gone.
It remained that way until about day 4 in the parking lot when the tank
finally filled up and I had to get a blue turd hauler to remedy the
situation.  As I was dumping this thing into an abandoned septic tank
behind the tranny shop I got to observe just how well the TP had been
pulped.  No identifiable solids, just a blue-brown goop.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: If you really fixed the stove, why do I still smell propane?
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 15:19:36 -0500
Message-ID: <>

Hmmm, I guess ignorance really doesn't prevent one from posting.

Hey Tom, work out the dilution factors involved and get back to me to
explain how a few ppm of formaldehyde can "shut down his system".  I'm
really curious, considering formaldehyde is a decay product produced in
nature.  Especially since it hasn't done a thing to my cabin's septic
system where I dump routinely.

See, this is what happens when you swallow and regurgitate something
without understanding.


On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 12:44:24 -0600, Trekking Tom <> wrote:

> That formaldehyde-based stuff gets rid of YOUR problem, but moves the
>problem to the next guy. The place you dump if it has a private sewer
>system you could stop his system from working by killing the
>bio-activity. If you owned the dumpsite would you want your system
>shut down?   The formaldehyde-based stuff should be outlawed.

From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Liquid Tank Detection Using a Microcontroller - Nuts and Volts 
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2007 14:46:33 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Wed, 25 Apr 2007 07:55:54 -0400, "Steve Wolf" <>

>In the May, 2007 issue of Nuts and Volts magazine (
> ) there is an article describing a way to use a
>microcontroller interface to sense water in a dog's bowl.  Michael Simpson
>describes a way to make sensors that do not contact the liquid but instead
>are mounted underneath and outside the bowl.  In his application, when the
>bowl runs low on water, it triggers a light alerting the owner.  The trigger
>could just as easily trigger a valve to refill the water.
>His idea appears to be easily transported to other things that hold liquid,
>such as RV water, waste and sewage tanks.  The current technology sucks.
>I wish I had the time to fool with this.  It looks like it would be a lot of
>fun.  It looks like it would work better than current sensor technology.
>Many sensors pierce the tank and are susceptible to corrosion and the
>effects of the flotsam.  Commercial replacement systems are expensive and
>their operation is suspect.  A reliable, build-it-yourself external sensor
>replacement, one that the owner could understand and adjust via programming,
>is the ultimate solution.
>This uses electricity.  If electricity scares you then apply the normal

This is a capacitive sensor?  The May issue isn't online yet.

If it is then I doubt that it would work very well for black/grey
tanks.  The problem is conductive buildup (AKA poop) on the sides of
the tank.  The capacitance (actually impedance) varies with level even
with the buildup but it isn't a known nor repeatable value. Capacitive
sensors aren't regarded as suitable in industrial environments when
the tank contents build up on the walls so I don't imagine it'll work
well here either.

There IS a commercially made capacitive sensor for black water tanks
on the market.  I almost bought one off the close-out table at $CW$
one time.  It consisted of a flex PCB that was to be taped to the side
of the tank.  I had a hunch that it was in the closeout bin because it
didn't work very well.

I've pondered this situation in the past.  I don't need a level meter
right now because my Mk 1 eyeball looking through the toilet gets the
job done but in the future perhaps...  The absolute cheapest form of
reliable level detection would be a bubbler system.  This involves a
tube extending almost to the bottom of the tank that a small amount of
air is blown through.  The pressure in the tube is equal to the
pressure exerted by the tank contents.  A pressure gauge calibrated in
level indicates the level.  Some bubblers use squeeze bulbs to supply
the air.  Others dribble a small amount of air continuously.  The
tiniest aquarium pump would be more than adequate.  An arrangement to
occasionally send water down the bubbler tube would keep it free of

My second choice would be an ultrasonic level transmitter.  These are
a bit more expensive but work with just about anything, liquid or
granular.  The only significant drawback is that the transducer has to
be mounted so it stays clean, normally at the top of a dead-ended
stack on the tank.  Perhaps it could be mounted in the roof vent
piping if that is a straight shot.

I imagine that even a simple conductive sensor such as most rigs have
now could be made to work by the simple expedient of extending the
probes some distance inside the tank inside an insulated sleeve.  Say,
an ABS well with the end cut off and the conductive probe sealed in

With this arrangement, any leakage current would have to travel the
length of the probe.  Unlikely to amount to enough to cause a false
trigger even when the probe body was heavily covered in crud.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Toilet questions
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2008 20:49:03 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Thu, 17 Jul 2008 18:37:39 -0500, "Bill" <> wrote:

>Perhaps so. Never-the-less, I have been using it for decades, emptying my
>holding tanks into my septic system with no ill effects (I have not pumped
>my septic tank in 20 years). The "green" stuff I have tried is by-and-large
>worthless for odor control. In this case it would seem that you can't have
>"effective" and "bio-friendly" in the same product.

You're right but who cares?  You don't want your HOLDING tank to become a
septic tank.  That is, unless you like the constant smell of sewer gas.
Especially when you flush.  A blast of gas from the tank up through the flush
valve isn't pleasant.

As they say about any other so-called toxic substance, "The devil's in the
dose."  By the time the tiny bit of bacteria control chemical hits the septic
tank, it's so dilute and spent that it doesn't matter at all.

I use the old fashioned blue formaldehyde liquid and have since I've been
RVing.  My septic tank is going on 40 years old and has never been touched.
Even if it acts up tomorrow, I will consider its performance and that of my
holding tank additive a success.

Wes, back to your original question.  You don't need to do anything special to
mate your trailer to your septic system.  Just don't skimp on water usage,
especially in the beginning.  That shouldn't be a problem if you have the
trailer hooked up to water and use the normal amount of water for other

If you want to see just how well the two mate up, come up here to Green Cove.
There are 4 RV lots, each with about 20 RVs and served with a separate septic
tank.  Everything works just fine.

The motel is also on a septic system, though it tends to have an occasional
problem caused by all the crap that people flush down motel toilets that don't
belong there.  I've heard of more than one shoe having to be fished out of the
septic tank outlet to the leach field.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Toilet questions
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2008 01:49:06 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On 18 Jul 2008 00:43:00 GMT, Wes Dukes <>

>But a composting compound with biological odor masking compound seems
>like it should be possible even if no one makes it.

I once walked down the aisle at $CW$ and bought one of each offering to test.
I went right back to my tried-and-true formaldehyde after several product
tests resulted in severe cases of olfactory insult.

>Oh, yes, what is the opinion of the special toilet paper that is quite
>expensive versus regular toilet paper.  Is it worth it in an RV?

I guess that it depends a lot on whether your shit pipe goes straight down
into your holding tank (most MHs) or if it winds around, traipsing over hill
and dale before entering the tank (many 5th wheels).  Probably also dependent
on how much water you use with each flush.

My SP has a direct shot into the holding tank so I use the same TP that I use
at home Charmin unscented or whatever Sam's is selling in the bulk pack at the
moment.  I do make sure to fill the bowl with water when TP is to be flushed
and otherwise make sure there is enough water in the black tank so that it'll
slosh around and break up the hunks of TP and other stuff.

I use a transparent 45 deg elbow on my dump hose.  One can never be too
observant :-)  There is almost never anything that can be identified - just a
stream of brown glop.  I never find any of those shards of TP in the hose
afterwards either.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Toilet questions
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2008 02:00:05 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On 18 Jul 2008 01:14:09 GMT, Wes Dukes <>

>> You're right but who cares?  You don't want your HOLDING tank to become a
>> septic tank.  That is, unless you like the constant smell of sewer gas.
>> Especially when you flush.  A blast of gas from the tank up through the flush
>> valve isn't pleasant.
>Why would you get a blast of gas?  Isn't there a vent pipe through the
>roof that would prevent pressure buildup?  Bear with me I am climbing a
>learning curve here.  I did have a co worker long ago describing haveing
>to make an on the road repair to a gasket or flap on his toilet and
>chiseling rivets off with a wood chisel because he did not have a cold
>chisel.  I think he made every repair on his RV himself,  one talented

Several reasons.  The bacteria "working off" make heat and that causes the
gases over the liquid to be warm.  Heat rises and all that stuff.  Also, when
it's real hot outside and cool inside, the hot gases rise.  The blast feels
warm, whatever the reason.

Other possible causes include having my stove vent hood or Maxxair fan
running, reducing the pressure inside the rig.

I'm sure that there is the same flow of gas whether the tank is 'working off'
or not, it's just that when the formaldehyde stuff is in there, it doesn't
have much odor.  This stuff (I think it's Thetford too.  Anyway I get it at
Wallyworld) contains a strong deodorant in addition to the formaldehyde.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Toilet questions
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2008 13:15:44 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On 18 Jul 2008 06:50:02 -0500, nothermark <> wrote:

>I'm working on whether or not it's worth dumping in a shot of
>detergent before a good ride to wash down whatever is inside there. It
>does seem to help the gauges.  But as bill h says "Theory don't mean
>squat if it don't work."  Play a little and see how much money you
>want to flush down the toilet.

I'm not sure what a detergent treatment would do.  Spotless tank walls and a
sparkling dump valve? :-)

The only treatment that I've ever done to mine was to add some of the bacteria
additive that was automatically injected into my restaurant's grease trap
every night.  This stuff comes as a 5 gallon pail of solution and contains 3
genetically engineered bacteria.  I forget what the other two do but the one
that I'm interested in eats fast like a 300 lb woman at a fried chicken
buffet!  It converted my grease trap from something that has to be cleaned
monthly (yuck!  I'd rather deal with a black tank) to something that I could
ignore.  An automatic metering pump gave the trap a shot every night.  A
nightly shot was necessary because the bleach solution that we used to
sanitize dishes after washing killed the friendly l'il bugs.  *sob*.

Anyway, the only reason that I did this was that I cook a lot while traveling
and I was beginning to see a  buildup of grease inside my tank.  My shitpipe
has a straight shot into the tank so I can see around in there.  Especially if
I drop in a 12 volt light on a cord.

I flushed the tank a couple of times to get rid of the formaldehyde, then
filled the tank with water after adding the bacteria solution.  I let it sit
for a week.  When I drained the tank, voila!  No grease.

I could have probably accomplished the same thing by simply filling the tank
with hot water from my home water heater.  It was easier to dump in the
bacteria since I already had it.

No idea if the stuff that they sell in stores has the same bacteria.

Unless you cook a LOT and that cooking involves a LOT of animal fat, I'd not
worry about it.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Toilet questions
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2008 00:51:14 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Fri, 18 Jul 2008 21:42:24 -0400, bill horne <> wrote:

>nothermark wrote:
>> We are also learning to use the water only
>> lever to preload flushes according to need.  Add some water just
>> before use and things don't stick to the toilet bowl as much.
>Good grief. I've done that since my first Porta Potti. It was
>intuitively obvious. I didn't know it was something that had to be learned.

The "water only" handle was NOT obvious on my toilet, as it is nested inside
the flush handle.  It WAS intuitively obvious that the bowl needed filling
before taking a dump but before I discovered the little water handle, I was
doing it with the shower hose.  That's the way it HAD to be done in my
previous rig because the toilet didn't have a water lever.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Toilet questions
Date: Sun, 20 Jul 2008 15:47:43 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Sun, 20 Jul 2008 10:56:54 -0400, MR <> wrote:

>Agreed.  No need to pay for those commercials and ads.  BTW, where do you
>get that

Tractor Supply.  The brand is Dairyland.  It's labeled "Dairy Utensil Hand
Wash" and comes in 1 gallon jugs.  It's an amber liquid with almost no odor.
In many Tractor Supply stores it is a special order item.

My Tractor Supply kept it in stock only sporadically so I started ordering it
10 4-gallon cases at a time.  I ordered a batch just a few weeks before I
close my restaurant so I now have a lifetime supply :-)  $3.95 a gallon the
last time I bought.

I tried to buy a pallet of the stuff from Dairyland direct but they would not
bypass Tractor Supply.  At the time my local store was doing the
manager-of-the-month and I was having a heck of a time getting them to order

I mounted a soap dispenser pump on the wall above the sink to keep my gorillas
from wasting the stuff.  It shot 4oz at a time and took a couple of minutes to
refill through a small orifice.  4oz was enough for my 50 gallon sink filled
about 3/4 full.

Something funny.  Sysco, one of the major food wholesalers, tried to sell the
same stuff, their name being "Golden Suds", in a 5 gallon bucket for $100.

BTW, for REALLY greasy stuff such as the tabletop fryer tank, that purple
degreaser can't be beat.  It's available from the car parts stores with a name
brand (Castrol, I think) at a fairly high price but if you look around,
especially thrift stores, you can find it for about $2 a bottle.  Luther
Chemical Company bottles most of the cheap stuff that I find around here.  The
two important ingredients are lye and butyl-somethingoranother.

Right out of the bottle, the stuff will strip the black off grills and stuff.
It'll strip an engine clean as well as Gunk.  5-10oz to a 50 gallon sink makes
grease jump off things.  It's also excellent as a pre-treat on grease spots on
clothes.  Don't use too much in that application because it does foam some.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: 20-ways to annoy people in campgrounds
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2008 18:45:12 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Tue, 29 Jul 2008 15:31:48 -0500, Bob Giddings <> wrote:

>On Tue, 29 Jul 2008 13:16:36 -0700 (PDT), mortaine
><> wrote:

>>Our graywater reeks to high heaven. It's probably because we're meat-
>>eaters-- no matter how you try, some of the grease does go down that

There's your problem.  You're letting it sit in the tank and ferment.  If
you'd simply let it run out on the ground, no problem.

>I've dumped mine on my front lawn.  You can only smell it if you
>get on all fours, right where it comes out of the hose.  And 30
>minutes or an hour later the area is dry and you can't smell it
>at all, or tell where it was.  Try it, you'll see what I mean.

Yup.  Our first RV, a 68 Holiday Rambler pickup camper didn't have any grey
water plumbing per se.  The sink was up front next to the wall.  A hose ran
straight down from each sink bowl, through the body and ended just outside.
When the camper was in the truck, the sink drained into the truck bed.  When
it was off the truck, the sink drained onto the ground.  No one gave it a
second thought.

>I think this particular annoyance is vastly overhyped.  I have
>visited several official forest campgrounds where the camp host
>has a permanent gray water hose snaking out behind his site.
>There's just not that much grease or even water involved. Tenters
>make a bigger mess.  But of course you wouldn't want to dump it
>right out into the campsite where somebody else is going to drive
>up.  That would be concentration.
>But 30 minutes later, they'd never know it anyway.

Believe it or not, black water is almost the same.  Far back in the woods I've
had the occasion more than once to dig a large 'skat hole' and liberate my
black water.  The odor's gone practically before I got the hole covered back

On another occasion when living in Atlanta, my septic tank field line
collapsed.  While scheming on how to put in a new line without the permit that
Cobb county refused to issue, I had to deal with the liquid emergency.  That I
did by propping up the lid on the tank, dropping in a submersible pump and
pumping the tank out into some dense woods next to the house.

The odor was just barely detectable while pumping but it had dissipated
completely by the time I got the pump out and the cover back down.  I had to
do that each day for a week, selecting a different patch to "water" each time
until the weekend came and I could commence operation of the "midnight field
line installation service". :-)  Cobb county just THOUGHT they were going to
make me drop $30k to tie onto their hugely expensive sewer system!


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