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Black Tank and Dump Site Quesions

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I am totally new to this, don't have an RV, but plan to get the Oliver Elite when I retire.  I have never gone RVing, but my wife and I will be staying in our first RV in a few months.  A few questions about sewage:

 

1.  How messy (nasty) is it dealing with the black tank if you have a full hook up?

 

2 How messy (nasty) if you have to go to dump site?

 

3.  If just me and my wife, if you have to use dump station, what is the normal time span before you you would have to dump with Oliver Elite?

 

4.  Does the spay mechanism in the back tank help from not being so nasty?

 

Thanks for any answers.

 

A novice trying to learn.

 

Dwain

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Everyone has a different tolerance for gross stuff. Mine is pretty low, and I always hated dumping waste tanks. Even if you wear, gloves and are careful you can get splashed with fecal material and that is just not very nice. The dump stations are not very sanitary either, I won’t camp where the fresh and waste systems are together in one place. Like the old Fall Hollow CG near the Oliver factory. The fresh taps are underground next to the sewer, yuck. They should be well separated and the fresh tap should be above ground.

 

The composting toilet is a great option, especially if you boondock or travel in the western areas that often have no hookups of any kind. But there is usually a toilet at least, where you can empty the pee tank. And off season, most dumps are closed and you may have a really hard time finding one. The free ones at Interstate rest stops are usually closed during freezing weather. The ones here in WA are still not open....

 

I have never seen a survey, but my feeling from reading posts here is that those owners with composting toilets are glad they chose that option.

 

There is no way to tell you how quickly the 18 gallon tank will fill up, it depends on how often you use other toilets. The flush does use a lot of your precious fresh water.

 

The black tank spray just rinses out the solids into the drain pipe, it doesn’t make things less messy. It just keeps the tank from getting a build up of dried crud.

 

When you camp with your sewer hose connected, your dump valves should all be closed at all times. Let the tank level get at least half way before you dump, so the large outrush of water carries the solids away. Follow up by dumping the grey tank, to rinse out the hose. Then use the black flush system if you like. If you leave the valves open all the time, your hose will fill up with poop and paper and perhaps clog. Double yuck.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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We too had never camped in a RV. The last camping we had done was well over 20 years & that was car camping with the Boy Scouts. I too was quite skeptical about dealing with the 'stinky-slinky'. After talking with a guy who had the composting toilet, we went with it. Aside from being so environmentally friendly, it is so much easier to deal with. We mainly use park bathhouses for pooping, if I may be blunt. Steve camouflages the pee tank in a canvas bag & empties in the bathhouse.

 

Do a Forum search for "Natures Head' and "Compost Toilet' and you will info  that should convince you that the compost toilet is the way to go. [pun unintended]



SGC & GRC

Hull 224 [2017]

2017 GMC Sierra HD Crew Cab Diesel

States Visited Map   Map of Provinces I Visited

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Well, the stinky slinky isn't that bad, if you don't get the composting toilet. (Actually, really easy for me to say, because it's mainly Pauls job, but I do assist...and learned how years ago traveling on my own in my parents' rv...)

 

If you've never used an rv dump, or full hookups, watch a few videos (not Robin Williams rv...)

 

When you get the trailer, you could practice setting up and dumping with a half tank of clean water in clean black and grey tanks a few times. You won't be as nervous without the debris in there, and can be more relaxed about making sure you've connected the fittings properly, operating the valves, etc.

 

To accomplish that quickly, run a hose through the bathroom window, hold the toilet open with your foot, and run clean water down the stool. Fill the empty black tank. Don't walk away and let it overflow... it holds less than 20 gallons.

Hook up your clean drain hose, and give it a try. Or two or three, til you get it right, if you have a full hook up site. People behind you will get impatient if there is a line at the dump station.

 

Btw, most dump stations have a rock or lid or some kind of weight to hold your hose in the inlet. If not, your foot works. Wear disposable gloves for connecting and disconnecting. I keep some in the driver's side door pocket, and a few in the outside shower. Most accidents happen when the hose flops out of the inlet, or someone didn't get the fitting connected right, or, there's a pinhole leak in the hose. Yucky, but there's almost always a nonpotable hose to wash the effluent down the drain. Use it if necessary.

 

Tens of thousands of people learn this new routine every year.. new trailer owners, new rv renters. Like i said, not that big of a deal.

 

Sherry

 

 

 

 

 


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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As far as how long between dumps, it really depends on your camping and personal use

If we're in a campsite with a toilet (even a pit or vault), we'll use that in the daytime. That extends dumping for up to a week or more, if we are miserly on grey. I do dishes once a day. Minimal 1 to two gallon navy showers. Use paper plates. Mark our glasses and cups. Don't have to wash glasses daily, just rinse. .

If you use a lot of water in grey ( showers, dishwashing, etc) you will have to dump sooner. Some people can only manage two or three days.


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Dumping has not been a problem in the 3 years we’ve had our Oliver.  Never experienced a “splash” and it usually is not stinky depending on the dump site.  The most critical step is to make sure the fitting at the end of your hose is secure in the dump hole.  Sometimes you can screw it in, sometimes there’s a heavy metal lid, sometimes a rock and sometimes your foot.  Full hookup sites are easiest because you aren’t sharing with anyone and have time to set up and dump at your leisure.  Dump stations can have a little more pressure if there are others waiting.  I try to time dump station usage when it looks the least busy but that is not always possible.  If at a FHU site or dump station with nobody waiting I dump the black, fill it with the rinse connection, dump again and then do that a third time.  Then I dump the gray.  I have a clear right angle fitting at the end of the hose so I can see what is being dumped.  The third black dump is always clear.  The gray tank on the Oliver is flat and will drain best if the front of the trailer is elevated a little.  If you are at a FHU site you only need gloves when hooking up and unhooking.  Dumping while camped is just a matter of pulling the lever.  As John mentioned, leave the the valves closed until you dump.  I use gloves at dump stations.

 

Another discussion is what to use in your black tank after you dump.  I use a capful of Calgon water softener and a laundry detergent pod.  After a trip I also put in some Happier Camper powder in both the black and gray tanks.  When I get home, I thoroughly clean the end caps and clear end of the hose fitting for the next trip.  I keep latex gloves and bleach wipes in the basement for easy access when dumping.  Mike

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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Thanks everyone for input!

 

I don't think we will go to sites unless they have full hook-ups.  It sounds like of you have full-hook-ups it's not that big of a deal.

 

Dwain

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Dwain, don't let lack of full hookups keep you from enjoying a great campground.

You'll see. Start with full hookups, and work your way around.


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Dwain, don’t let lack of full hookups keep you from enjoying a great campground.

 

You’ll see. Start with full hookups, and work your way around.

 

Good advice.  Since we had never camped in a trailer before we started out trying to find places with FHU.  Then, we started considering sites with W/E.  Now, no hookups is not an issue.  Especially in a lot of National Parks FHU camping is not possible but you don’t want to pass up camping in some great places because they don’t have any hook ups, or just W/E.  BLM land and a lot COE sites have no hook ups but our Oliver’s will do fine in dry camping spots.   Mike

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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There are many RVers who go from reservation site to reservation site, never spend a night unplugged, and are perfectly happy. It is a VERY expensive way to travel. IMHO you might as well leave the RV at home and travel by car and stay at motels... But reservations take out the uncertainty of whether you will find a space at all.

 

https://camperreport.com/average-rv-campground-rates-much-expert-per-night/

 

If you are 62 you can buy a forever senior pass for $80 that lets you camp at Federal government campgrounds for half off the regular fee and you also get free admission for up to four adults into National Parks. So all those campgrounds run by the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Corps of Engineers, National Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, etc etc are yours for less than $10 usually, and sometimes half that (off season). A large percentage of these beautiful spots require you to be completely self contained. One of my favorite local spots is half off the regular $18, and only $4.50 in the winter months. It has great scenery, paved spots, beach, boat ramp, irrigated grassy lawns, and NO hookups or dump station.

 

https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm

 

2389A7D8-FF9A-4D2A-A84D-59C7C2325676.thumb.jpeg.9d6f0b50749d0755efecd419d0b3035f.jpeg

 

Please don’t go into this expecting to always be hooked up. You will miss out on some of the very best camping experiences the West has to offer. These spots are what the Oliver trailers were designed for!  If you spend all your time in the eastern states, that is a completely different scenario.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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We carry a couple of 5 gallon collapse-able  fresh water containers and have never not found a place with good water.  Using the freshwater dip tube we up-load the water into Ollie.  When boondocking I try to park Ollie with the street side to the "Bush".  This allows me to put on a swim-suit and have a hot shower outside.  As such we save gray water tank space.

 

Where and when we can, we use campground or restaurant facilities for the toilet and use Ollie's only at night.  The above generally lets us stay about ten days at a site before we need to dump.

 

One of the Owners mentioned putting a cup of Downy fabric softener in the black tank and half a cup in the gray tank.  This with a single chemical pod from Walmart keeps our tanks really fresh, as well as the valves lubricated.

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Tug:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Trailer Tow, FX-4, 4X4, Rear Locker

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....When boondocking I try to park Ollie with the street side to the “Bush”. This allows me to put on a swim-suit and have a hot shower outside. As such we save gray water tank space...

 

We do something similar. We do our showering inside and just leave the gray valve open. Like your system, the shower water still ends up in the bushes.


Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

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We have our Oliver on order and will pick it up in July, but for the time we have a Casita and our camping habits will most likely stay the same. I prefer a camping spot with hookups over one without, but we have had to stay without then every once in a wile, no big deal. Like many have said, after the dump I fill the black tank with a 5 gallon bucket of water, add the chemicals, and were off. When I get home I have a sewer dump there and then I do a complete tank wash and then store the black tank with another 5 gal bucket of water and chemicals till the next camping trip. I never had any smells from the toilet and so far so good doing it this way. Also it does one good to check out the dump stations, look for the correct angle to stop the trailer so it will drain properly, make sure there is a wash hose and it works, check for spillage from other inconsiderate dumpers, and don't get in a big hurry just because there may be others in line, but do it in a reasonable time. It will become a natural thing, just like hooking up the electric, water, etc., it's just learning the process and will become natural in time and you will look like a seasoned camper in no time. Sometimes when the dump station does not appear to be working properly, or a line I may use a camping site that is vacant and not in use, try to find the drive through type.

 

 

 

trainman


Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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There are many RVers who go from reservation site to reservation site, never spend a night unplugged, and are perfectly happy. It is a VERY expensive way to travel. IMHO you might as well leave the RV at home and travel by car and stay at motels… But reservations take out the uncertainty of whether you will find a space at all.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

This is something that might be worth discussing (not to hijack the thread too much).  We do like to make campground reservations, sometimes well in advance or sometimes the day before or the day of.  We rarely stay at commercial campgrounds with high rates.  Mostly NP, COE, BLM, state parks, etc.  Our geezer pass (we got ours at $10 before the increase) has paid for itself many times over.  Many of those sites don’t take reservations, so we show up a little early to ensure we get a site.  While we didn’t decide to RV to save money (the cost of the trailer, storage, gear, maintenance is substantial) we do save a lot on the actual travel.  A car and a motel are expensive, you have to add in meals, and limit where you can go.  Our trailer allows us to travel to places where motels don’t exist.  We were at Pinnacles National Park in February and it is literally in the middle of nowhere, not a motel within an hour or two.  Plus, we have our own bed, bath, kitchen, etc.  Hotels/motels have no appeal these days!   Expensive camping results from commercial campgrounds and lots restaurant eating, which a lot of folks do and enjoy.  Camping for free or $10 somewhere remote with a steak on the grill is where we’re at.  Mike

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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I was worried about dumping the black tank too, my only previous experience watching Robin Williams in RV.  It actually turned out to be "not that bad". I suppose I do have a certain tolerance, however, for "yuck", perhaps from my days as a combat medic.

 

I won't belabor the excellent points  brought out previously in this thread, but do have two suggestions that I did not see mentioned in my quick read. First, be certain you have a secure connection to the trailer. That connection comes under stress as you pull, push, and bend the hose. Don't let it come loose!

 

Secondly, I saw on you-tube (and it made sense to me) that after dumping we should refill the black tank 10% with water. The water should help keep the material from mounding help to avoid future issues with smell and blockages. Many ways to put water into your black tank, but I would avoid using your fresh water hose?

 

Happy dumping to you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mike and Elizabeth Smith


Snow Lake Shores, MS


2016 Ford F150 3.5 EB, max tow (20,900  miles pulling Ollie since Sept 2016)


 


 

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Some of the folks on our forum are new campers, so, to keep them out of trouble..

 

Before you dump grey water in a campground, make sure that it's permitted. In many campgrounds it's not ok, and can result in fines or eviction. In other campgrounds, it's entirely permissible, especially out west.

Some campgrounds define grey water only as wash water. Other areas say if it has passed through a tank, it's not grey water, and has to be dumped at a dump station. Probably because grey water tanks often contain food particles from cooking and washing dishes.

 

 

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Instead of charging the tank with a five gallon bucket of water, i charge it with a one quart teakettle. and a citrus/ eco friendly pod .

Since we actually use the black tank, a quart to start is plenty. No smell, no hassle, 100,000 miles and 11 years . Works for me.

I think most of the smell in the old rv days was inadequate venting. In my parents' 70s unit, it took more care.


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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