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The mother of all toilet disasters


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This is one of those stories that I thought hard about sharing because it was such a great example of a classic "stupid attack". In the end though I decided if I can save someone else from themselves it was worth being forever thought of as "the guy who did that".

Our 2021 elite 2 has a composting toilet partly to extend how long we can stay off grid but also because I hate dealing with black water tanks. Since my trailer still has a black water tank even though it is not used I thought it would be great if I could use it for grey water storage to even further extend times between dumps. NCEagle had developed a system to pump grey water to the black water tank through the black water flush port and I shamelessly stole his idea and put together a little kit I use to move grey water to the black tank. I have been using this system since last summer and it works great to give us a couple extra days between dumps. 

Last week we had just returned from a 10 day trip and as the grey water tank was starting to smell not so good I decided to do a good flush of both the black and grey since I had been using the black for grey storage. I was using the black water flush port to fill the black tank carefully watching the level indicator to make sure I didn't over fill and run water up the black water tank vent to the roof. The first flush went fine. On the second flush however in the middle of filling the black tank my wife Pam decided it was a good time to strike up a conversation and I bercame distracted untilI I looked over and noticed water pouring out of the weep holes in the bottom of the trailer suspiciously near the bathroom area. I quickly turned off the water to the black tank and muttered "Oh my God" and some other words not worthy of this audience. I ran into the trailer and into the bathroom and to my horror could see yucky water gushing out of the composting toilet. How on earth could this be! This just can't be happening! Its a composting toilet! It has no connection to the pluming system! Slowly the gushing stopped though and gave me time to scratch my little bald head long enough to reason through what had happened. 

What had happened was this. The composting toilet uses a vent fan and a plastic tube to vent that air out of the trailer. What I didn't realize until then was that Oliver had connected the composting toilet vent piping to the black water tank vent that goes to the roof. When I overfilled the black water tank the water had obviously backed up into the vent and found its way into the composting toilet vent piping where it ran downhill into the composting toilet until it overflowed into the bathroom. The toilet had 10 days worth of use in it at the time although at least the urine tank was empty and clean. Ten days worth of use in the solids container though mixed with a lot of water and blowing out the top like a volcano made the mother of all messes in the bathroom. After about a day and a half which included complete disassemble of the toilet and a detailed cleaning to the bathroom and venting systems it looks like all is well again. 

I will continue to use NCEagles great system going forward but will never again be distracted while cleaning the tanks out.

Mike

 

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TV 2018 F150 3.5 liter eco-boost with max tow package, hull #836 “LC”

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Being distracted while doing any important task can lead to not so very pleasant results.

Thanks for sharing - sort of.

Bill 

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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This will also occur with the regular toilet if you overfill the black tank when flushing. Makes a hell of a mess.

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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 #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

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You most certainly trashed the NH vent fan too, better order a new one. Add a note to your checklist, when filling that unused black tank with grey water, disconnect the vent hose from the toilet and aim it downwards..... just in case.

If I ever change the black tank to a fresh tank, I will cap off that 1 1/2" vent and add a 3/4" overflow hose going out the belly, just like the OEM fresh tank has. You can't fix stupid, but you can reduce the likelihood of a major disaster....

Don't feel bad, we have all done idiot stuff.

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, Safari snorkel.

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Wow, thanks for sharing @LCTraveler.  I had never thought of that as a potential outcome of overfilling the black tank although I've been careful not to so far.   As @SeaDawgsaid, it will help other owners (like me) that are also using the black tank this way.  I definitely will add @John E Daviesstep to my "transfer process" - I think putting the NH vent hose in the shower basin prior to transfer (or flush) as a safety precaution is an awesome idea.

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2020 Elite II, Hull 688 --- 2021 Silverado 2500HD, 6.6L Duramax Diesel

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You could make a 3 foot extension hose with a slip coupling, to bring the NH vent hose opening all the way down into the lower pan. If the travel valve (isolation valve) was open, as it should be when parked, any excess grey water will flow into the shower drain and back into the grey tank. No harm done except for a little smelly water there, that could easily be rinsed away... Leave the transfer pump running and you have a plumbing Infinite Loop, for you computer geeks.

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, Safari snorkel.

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OMG.  I was just telling hubby Mark about this transfer "trick" to help us extend our boondocking ways.  Will definitly also make sure neither of us gets distracted AND that we modify/extend the vent hose so it can reach the shower pan. Ugh.  Just Ugh. Thank you for sharing!

Edited by VBistro
grammar!
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Quote

MaryBeth
Hull #953

TV: 2021 Ford Expedition MAX with Max Tow Package

 

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I’ve been in the process of dumping black and gray tanks and someone stops to ask questions about our trailer.  I am blunt and direct that I would be happy to talk as soon as I’m done with the task at hand.  A couple of folks never returned, but most understood.  Same with backing in to a site, don’t expect a conversation until I’m done!!  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

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Thanks for sharing, finished installing NH last month and I want to use the black tank for additional storage

Early 1999 Ford F250 SD 7.3L Diesel 

2020 Elite II Twin -  Hull # 648

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