Carrying a Heavy Load
If you are like us, you probably figured the worst of our plumbing issues were over. No such luck. This afternoon Kelly and I were a little surprised to find that our black tank was totally full. Now – each of the tanks has a sensor that tells you how full it is. Our black tank had said it was still full, even after we dumped it 2 days ago, but common RVer knowledge clued us into the revolting fact that the sensors on the black tank will often be inaccurate due to build up. Meaning they get crusted over with…. Yeah.
So even though it said it was full, we knew it was empty, as we had just emptied it 2 days prior, and the tank should last us about a week or so before we need to empty it. And yet… When we tried to flush the toilet, sure enough, I could see with my own two eyes that it was full. Well that’s odd.
Smells like defeat.
We decided to head to the dump station that evening to dump it again. Is it possible we didn’t completely empty it last time?
Brave, wonderful Kelly took it upon himself to get out there and empty the black tank again. When it was “done” I went to go check the toilet inside. Well THAT’s odd, still looks full to me! That’s when it dawned upon us, of course – A clog. A clog could do that. Lo and behold, a clog we did find. Kelly tried his best to splash some water up in there to loosen things up, but we just couldn’t get enough water pressure to succeed. So, we decided to try the age-old trick of dumping some water down the drain to get things moving.
Kelly and I took our positions.
Perhaps you recall the clear connector bit that attaches to the big draining hose I spoke of in my previous plumbing post? The one that, much like the sun, I recommend you do not look directly into? It is the only place on the RV where you can safely view the poop flowing out of the the RV and into the hose (and down the drain to neverneverland). I will include a picture here for everyone’s edification (don’t worry, it’s during a non-flow moment).
(Right above the orange bit)
My time finally came. I was on poop nozzle duty. I had to be the lookout to see if the clog had resolved.
I was discouraged by my predicament, but didn’t think much of Kelly’s situation. His first order of business was to locate a large stick and poke the wad of unspeakable evil further down the drain. Seems simple enough, except for the backlash of HORRENDOUS fumes that flooded back up from the now open toilet-hole. Kelly describes this as: “literally and with no exaggeration the worst thing I have ever smelled in my entire life, by far.”
After about 10 seconds in the bathroom he came out and almost threw up. Not in the overly-dramatic sense like “ew that was so gross I almost puked” but more like actual gagging noises and came very close to losing it all over the carpet. Which thankfully he did not. He plugged his nose and continued on to the next task; filling the toilet bowl to the spilling brim using a 2.5 gallon water bucket.
“the goggles do nothing”
Fill ‘er up!
After the first giant bucket of water was poured down, we thankfully (?) were able to see the result on the other side. The mess was dislodging, piece by piece (so to speak). As Kelly would pour bucket after bucket of water down the toilet, I would yell words of encouragement. “More turds! More turds!” I would cry as they came racing by me through the hose. And they JUST. KEPT. COMING. Kelly would pour ever increasingly large buckets of water down the toilet, each time with a greater yield of turds. It was like one of those rides at the amusement park: LOG. LOG. LOG. That thing was really backed up.
About the 4th or 5th pour, the culprit finally revealed itself – a giant blob of conglomerated feces, that had apparently broken up just enough to make its way down. Now we know why the nozzle is 3 inches across… The poop rock that came down that chute wouldn’t have tolerated anything less.
Although the blob had dislodged, there was a heck of a lot of nonsense behind it, and we poured probably 15-20 gallons of water down the tank to flush everything out. And it just WOULD NOT STOP COMING.
Eventually we gave up. Some of the sensors were apparently cleaned off a bit in the process (yay!) and the tank is now showing less than half full. We decided to dump another bucket of water down there along with a deodorizing chemical solution we bought that is supposed to help dissolve that mess, and we will wait a couple days and flush it out again before we leave this site.
In the grand scheme of things, we are pretty thankful that the clog came out right away! We will definitely be super careful about always having enough water down there and continuing to use the chemical to dissolve things. I am also thankful that although I did see actual poop with my eyes today, it was behind the safety glass! Small miracles.