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Post Info TOPIC: Pumping holding tanks


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Pumping holding tanks


I have a 2002 Carriage Cameo LXI. How do I completely pump the black and grey tanks out? They are reporting full with the tester button. When I flush the toilet, I can hear the pump come on, but how do I keep the pump going without have to flush the toilet? Or, are the tanks supposed to remain full all the time? My release valves are open, and I have formed two traps on the sewage line.



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First the black tank should be kept closed until full or close to full and then dumped. Failure to do it that way can result in the dreaded poop pyramid build up because there isn't enough flow to sweep the solid material out.

Second it is common for the level sensing systems to indicate full when the tanks are empty. The sensors are easily fooled by wet gunk building up on tank walls. The exterior sensor systems used by Winnebago and a few others do a better job but are not immune to the problem.

 

Unless you have a macerator type toilet - possible but not common - the pump you hear when you flush is the water pump pumping flush water into the toilet. The black and gray tanks are almost always gravity dump.



-- Edited by Clay L on Friday 7th of August 2015 10:12:59 AM

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but how would I know if the black tank is full if the sensor always reads full?

and no, the pump I'm hearing is the pump on the septic system.



-- Edited by Ash808 on Friday 7th of August 2015 10:18:18 AM

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So you are saying you have a macerator on your waste system?

Black tank will 'burn' when it is nearing full.   The grey tank backs up in the shower.

While I know that you are upset, there is no reason to snap at people - we're trying to help but you have to relax and listen to what those who have been RVing for years and years are telling you.

Barb

 



-- Edited by Barbaraok on Friday 7th of August 2015 10:43:26 AM



-- Edited by Barbaraok on Friday 7th of August 2015 10:45:09 AM

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Barbara meant to say "Burp" on the black tank.

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no I'm not trying to be snappy, sorry for the confusion. blankstare

I'm just a little confused as how to operate my tanks.

the guy next door said to just leave both valves (black and grey) open all the time, and I have not had any trouble for 3 months.

but the park manager said to close the black like you told me to.

my question is, if I close the black, how do I know when it is full if it currently reads full on the sensor?

or is it just misreading or giving me the wrong information on the sensor?

I'm not sure if I have a mascerator-type system, but I only started using the pump the other day.

there is a difference between the water pump supplying the toilet and the pump I'm now hearing.

I actualy just turned the battery back on and also the pump switch next to the sensor switch.

the battery reads full as always, the fresh is empty since I'm on city water through a hose, but the two septic tanks are reading full.

I would like to get this thing running as smoothly as possible. If I have to close the black tank I will, but I don't want it to get otherwise nasty.

thank you guys for replying so quick, maybe we can resolve this issue soon. aww



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Your black tanks are reading full because you probably have toilet paper stuck to the sensor. Almost all of us have this problem. The best way to solve this issue is to dump ice down your toilet right before you travel..this should clean the walls of your tank.

As for as knowing if the black tank is full, it will burp back at you when you flush it.

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ok, I closed the black tank valve. let's see what happens.

maybe this will cut down on the gnats too!

I will stay in touch and let everyone know what my results are.

thanks guys!



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Leave the black tank closed for 3-5 days. On the day before you want to dump it, close your gray tank. But remember that that will limit how much water you can run in the sinks and shower. Your black tank in a Cameo should be 30-35 gallons and the gray should be 55-60 depending on the exact model. Those you should be able to Google and find out with a little research. On "Dumping Day" open Black first and let it completely empty. Then open the gray while the black is still open. It will act as a backflush for the black tank, cleaning it out more. After the gray has finished draining out completely, close the black tank, leaving the gray open for another 3-5 days.
Now go inside and step on the pedal, or flush the commode 5-6 times to add water to the black tank. This will help the process of liquefying what enters the tank.
If you do not have a Clear piece of sewer attachment, consider buying one. That way you can see when the tanks are empty.
Your tank sensors for the gray and black will probably never be accurate. Its the design of the system, and what was available back in 2002.
Our 2009 Carriage Carrilite has worthless tank sensors as well. We have just figured out that with our habits and the tank size, we dump our black tank every 8 days, or every time we move.....whichever occurs first.

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I'm assuming you don't have a black tank flush system on your rig... If that is the case, there are aftermarket fittings available to attach between the outlet on the RV and the waste water hose:

http://www.amazon.com/Valterra-F02-4100-Hydroflush-Removable-Anti-siphon/dp/B0002UHVAA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1439035226&sr=8-2&keywords=black+tank+flush

http://www.amazon.com/Camco-39062-Flush-Holding-Rinser/dp/B000BUQOAE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1439035226&sr=8-3&keywords=black+tank+flush

You can also fill the black tank about 2/3 full of fresh water (run a hose in from outside if you need to) and add some sensor cleaner as you get ready to hit the road next time. All of the advice above is excellent, too - leave the black tank closed until full, dump completely, and flush system with gray water that you've stored up in the gray tanks. 

Rob



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Ash808, you asked how you can tell when the black tank is getting full if the tank sensor always reads "Full."  Think of the sound a bottle makes when you're filling it with water... know how the sound of the water rises in pitch as the bottle gets nearly full?  With some practice you'll hear a similar rise in pitch when you flush the toilet and the tank is nearly full. You can also turn off the water to the RV and open the toilet valve and shine a flashlight down the hole into the tank, assuming your toilet dumps straight into the tank as most do.

As for the gnats, what you're probably seeing are sewer flies.  They live and breed in your black tank and probably got there from the sewer line because you left the tank valves open.  When you flush the toilet sometimes you can actually see them come up through the flush valve when it's open.  They are really difficult to get rid of but totally cleaning the tank and spraying insect spray into the tank frequently will eventually knock them down.  Some folks have recommended using a bleach solution but that may be hard on tank seals and fittings.



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Ash,

If you've been operating with the tank valves open for three months, then you might want to see if there is a commercial company in your area that can come out and flush your tank.  With three months of use and leaving the valve open, the solid waste has built up into the "pyramid of poop" that was mentioned before.  With that much in there, it might take quite a while for just standing water around that to liquify it to where it would evacuate on its own when the tank valve is reopened.

You should now ignore anything the neighbor next door to you says and go with what the park manager says.  As for sensors, there is a system called "See Level" that is supposed to be a better system of monitoring the level of fluids in the tanks.  You might look into getting that system and having it installed.

We have the good fortune of having our toilet drop directly into the black tank, thus we can hear the difference in sound as RVRon has stated and can look down the drain when flushing to actually see the level in the tank.

Good luck.

Terry



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