The Constipated Black Tank – I Learned About RVing From That

DrainOutlet50In some eighteen years of RVing with various vehicles, I’ve never had a tank refuse to give up its contents.  I’ve had valves stick and valves break, but I’d never had a valve get plugged up.

We had been set up in a nice RV Park in Naples, Florida, for six days when I thought it’d be prudent to dump the black tank.  I have one of those clear sections you see in the RV catalogs attached to the tank outlet, with the drain hose attached to that.  The idea is so you can see the flow, especially when rinsing the waste tank.

I pulled the valve handle and saw just a little ‘stuff’ slide through the clear section, and then – nothing.  I pushed the valve handle back in and then pulled it back out again.  Still nothing.  Oh boy, I’m in deep doodoo now.

A little bit of water through the rinse nozzle still produced nothing.  Since I couldn’t very well shove a stick up in there to loosen things, I decided to just wait it out.  So, I left the valve open.

Whenever I thought of it over the next few days, I’d check the status panel inside the fifth-wheel to see if there had been any movement, but no go… so to speak.

When it was time to hitch up and leave, I was concerned, so I settled on a plan.  I’d hook up and get ready to go and drive around the park a couple of times while tapping the brakes periodically.  I was hoping this would dislodge whatever effluvia had gotten stuck at the exit.

Thankfully, the plan worked!  When I reconnected the drain hose to the RV and pulled the black handle, here came an enthusiastic gush of poop.  The tank was un-constipated.

What did I learn from this?  Well, next time I’m going to stay put for a few days, I’m going to go ahead and put chemical in the tank.  I was trying to save a buck by not treating it, thinking it wouldn’t be a problem.  Although I’ve done this before and had no issues, from now on I’m going to err on the side of caution.  Constipation is no fun.

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