Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie, How to Eliminate Blackwater Problems

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November 7, 2010

Heeeeer's Patti!

Patti Eliminates Blackwater Problems

It looked simple when the techie did everything during the walkthrough of our new new trailer.  And he faithfully asked, “Got that?” about 200 times, to which we dutifully replied, “Uh huh, mmm humm..yep.” But my orderly check list and carefully sharpened pencils (two, lest one go dull) bit the dust when confronted with countless facts and hoses.

If  it’s true that people retain 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they see, and 80% of what they do, then count me in that 80%.  If I don’t do it, I don’t get it. Our walkthrough was proof. We watched the techie perform vital matters related to winterization… something about how valves have to bypass the water heater and water tank, but  whatever you do, don’t do this, and be sure to do that. Yep, the guy who can operate an RV in his sleep got to do it again, but neither of us actually did anything. However, I feverishly wrote down every word he said while Ray watched closely, shooting furtive glances at me that translated into “ Did you get that?”

RV sewage  running into lake

"Oh Black Water, Keep on Rollin' "

Next, the delicate topic of blackwater sewage, one of my personal favorites. Seeing as how this is a family site, I won’t repeat my dad’s less than elegant phrasing for blackwater (Hey, no one ever accused my Dad of being tactful,  especially when we were RVing.). Anyway, the techie showed us the hookup for blackwater, but he didn’t hook or unhook any hoses. Neither did we. But he did lob us a convincing, “It’s really easy, you’ll see…” Yea, right. I saw Robin Williams in “RV.” You can’t fool me.

The good news is that Ray really did understand most of what the guy said. My zone consisted of “Wow…there’s a lot to this.” and hissing at our son to videotape the techie’s face when he talked instead of his back. Yes, we taped the whole thing. There is hope.

The dealership techie did the best he could with what he had…that would be us.  We have no idea how to do the blackwater hose thing on our first non-driveway campout next week, nor am I amused at my husband’s suggestion that we “practice with chocolate milk.” My solution to dealing with RV blackwater is to have none. No one is allowed to use the bathroom in our trailer. Ever. Unless it’s me, of course.

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  1. Patti Faustini

    Yep, Kamelspider, I’m convinced. We’ll definitely follow the techie’s instructions! thanks for your post! Patti

  2. Brian C

    Well Patti, as a newcomer to the A Class coach, and veteran of 3 learning experience blackwater dumps so far, I found your blog and writing style so funny,but not necessarily the subject matter. It would seem that sometimes when you think you can take shortcuts to the “perceived process” that fulltimers may dutifully imply to you, and you prove unsuccessfully that you can shortcut, you may find yourself in the semi-Robin Williams version of this world. If you do not have access to an official “dump site” as in a campground, but do have access to your nearby proper home toilet and a sturdy bucket at the end of a trip, finessing the blackwater and /or gray release valves by aiming it into the bucket becomes a fine artform not necessarily of the best nature. It is by such daring acts of insanity that we learn that necessity is the mother of invention to teach us new ways to stretch our imagination, by holding our noses the proper direction. It is certainly possible to do such random acts of despiration, but sometimes it is better to follow procedures by techies. Except when you have to work “off the page” of normalcy. Good luck to Ray, and it will all come out naturally some day in the future.

  3. This sounds so funny, but in reality it isn’t. We had our share of problems with black water, including a plugged toilet (you will need a special wand they sell at RV stores). As we are seasonals we can’t drive to the sewage, but we need to drive our sewage to the dump station in a special “cart”. And it gets messy.
    There was a lot to learn.
    Good luck.

  4. butterbean carpenter

    Howdy Patti, **********
    You go girl!!!! What Randy says on his blogs are actually been there done thatz… Also, RV101 is
    good on the dreaded ‘blackwater’ experience… Itz one of Mark’s favorite topics..and Gary Bunzer’s..

    Don’t dread it JUST DO IT!!!! Be sure Ray has a BOX of the hospital gloves, a spray bottle of GREEN
    WITH CLEAN WATER HOSE (NOT YOUR FRESH WATER HOSE) PIECE OF CAKE!!!! Don’t believe everything Bunzer sez.. He don’t like ‘blackwater’!!! There are also ‘restrooms’ at most travel trailer
    campsites, if you don’t mind ‘bugs’!!!! or you can use the ‘portable-potty’ bags and carry them to the
    ‘dump’.. or you can put a ‘grinder'(mascerator pump) on the line, wait until you get home and using a garden hose empty into your commode…or ‘clean-out’!!!! YOU CAN DO IT(RAY)!!!!

  5. June

    we are enjoying our fourth RV and our rule in each one has been ” the bathorom is for urine ONLY” We have always managed to camp near a bathroom although sometimes they have been “pit toilets”… they should call it grey water and yellow water. We faithfully add the best chemical available each time we empty the “yellow” water. We also add chemical to the grey water as it can start smelling pretty ranki when it is dumped. I’m told it is from the small bits of food that go down the drain and the protein then breaks down and makes the odor. The best way to dump is to work as a team. Husband wears the latex gloves and attaches the hose to the outlet. Wife holds the garden hose and stands ready to turn on the water. Husband pulls the black(ie yellow) release handle first. Once that has stopped draining then husband closes the black handle and opens the grey handle. This seems to take twice as long to drain out. Husband detaches the hose. He then uses the water to rinse the drain hose over the sewer inlet and then stores the drain hose in the RV. He then washes his gloves off with the water hose. He removes his gloves and then cleans his hands with Clorox wipes provided by the wife. As you can see, you have to have a willing husband but it is a team effort!

  6. Patti Faustini

    thanks for the link, Randy. I printed it out for our further, much needed, edification! Patti