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Old 03-23-2020, 10:36 AM   #1
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Urine, Grey Tanks, and Pumping Out

Well, I'm a big dummy. I've never owned an RV, but I did use to live on a sailboat, so my only experience with grey/black tanks was with marine pump out systems. My boat had a particularly difficult method to pump out, and rarely worked, and was a messy ordeal.



So I just assumed it was the same way with RV/Skoolie pump out stations. Because of my awful experience with my marine tanks, I wanted to avoid this whole situation on my Skoolie. So my design calls for a composting head, with urine being directed into the grey tank along with the sink drain.


Since we primarily use Argo for boondocking, I figured just dumping the grey tank prior to leaving whatever logging road we were on would be no different than taking a piss on the ground or dumping dishwater behind a tree (biodegradable soap and all).



However, thanks to some public shaming on this forum directed at me and my "genius" plan, I discovered there was something I wasn't considering: keeping urine and dishwater in a tank for days at a time allows it to ripen, and then dumping ten, twenty, thirty gallons of this ripe liquid in one spot is not the same as just taking a piss behind a tree. And it's also disrespectful to the intent of Tahoe National Park (open for everyone, pack in/pack out, etc...).



On top of that, I now realize that using an RV dump station is nowhere near the same as it worked on my sailboat. It's stupendously easy and simple. However, my tanks are already installed so I can't really change or add anything new. But maybe you could critique my new method and tell me what I'm missing:



The drain on my grey tank is a 3/4 ball valve (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0764NBD7L/), so can I just attach a 3/4 hose to this drain, put the other end in the dump receptacle, then open the drain valve? Then also turn the sink to flush out any remaining liquid? This is just a grey tank, so there won't be any solids bigger than the holes in the sink drain, so I think the hose size will be fine.


Any thoughts?
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:01 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheArgobus View Post
The drain on my grey tank is a 3/4 ball valve (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0764NBD7L/), so can I just attach a 3/4 hose to this drain, put the other end in the dump receptacle, then open the drain valve? Then also turn the sink to flush out any remaining liquid? This is just a grey tank, so there won't be any solids bigger than the holes in the sink drain, so I think the hose size will be fine.

Any thoughts?

Yeah, that stuff gets pretty nasty smelling as it ferments. RV dump stations are dead simple. If you're able to, I highly recommend just using a standard RV valve and dump hose. It's so quick and easy. At first I tried a 1 1/2" ball valve with a flathose and that didn't work at all...the hose stayed flat. I changed over to a normal 3" valve after that debacle. I know they make regular hose fitting adapters for RV tanks, and I think people use these to trickle out the gray water. This is just a hunch, but I worry it might take quite a while to empty a full tank with a 3/4" hose and people lined up at the dump station tend to get ornery with non-standard practices (as I learned the hard way).
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:09 AM   #3
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Yes do avoid the flat hose, we tried it to and it stayed flat as well. I have a garden hose for the grey and a 2" hose with a quick coupler for the black, and have found this works well for me. Both tanks are 50 gallons each
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Old 03-23-2020, 03:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheArgobus View Post
Well, I'm a big dummy. I've never owned an RV, but I did use to live on a sailboat, so my only experience with grey/black tanks was with marine pump out systems. My boat had a particularly difficult method to pump out, and rarely worked, and was a messy ordeal.

SNIP...

Any thoughts?


Thanks for rethinking your plan...

Sailboat probably had to pump everything uphill to get it off the boat...

Gravity can be your friend!

As said 3/4" is gonna take longer than you like, and I wouldn't take any risk on something going down that can then clog it...
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Old 03-23-2020, 08:45 PM   #5
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I think I was one of those who said something in that thread and I felt bad about it. But I'm glad you're rethinking your plan.
I still haven't thought through all my options but I'm going to have to make a decision soon.
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Old 03-24-2020, 05:09 AM   #6
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I have experience with boat pump outs and typical RV dumping (3" gravity hose - not to be confused with RV macerator pump outs). As you say, they are very different things. With so many RV's working very well, I'm not sure why that approach would be altered. It would just be creating problems that have already been solved.

So, I would suggest you stick to the standard RV approach. There are many existing accessories/parts (valves, hoses, etc.) that are all proven to work.
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Old 03-24-2020, 05:42 AM   #7
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I have no suggestions other than follow that which has already been suggested ... the RV dump stations are set up for RV style connections. Best to stick with that which is proven.
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