Disclaimer: this is a post about dealing with sewage. Read at your own risk!
This is one of those posts I really hesitated to write. I hadn’t found anybody else who deals with their holding tanks this way. Then I realised that just because no one else has done it doesn’t mean it can’t be done! So, I did it, and it worked, and it saved me a huge amount of time, hassle, and money, and I’m going to share it with you today.
I’m parked for about six months with no sewer hookup. Even if I had a macerator system to pump into a toilet ($$$) I don’t have a toilet to pump into. So, I planned on pulling out every six weeks or so to dump. The problem is that the dump is 20km away round trip and getting in and out of this spot is quite a bit of sport!
I decided after that one trip that pulling out was no longer an option. That left toting waste. I don’t have a blue boy and there’s another reason I’m hesitant to go that route: not being able to control the flow of the waste out of the tank. ‘Nudging’ a holding tank valve just doesn’t work, at least not with mine.
The main piece of the puzzle, then, was to figure out how to control the flow of waste out of the tank while minimizing the potential for making a mess.
The solution was quite obvious: empty the the tank from above, right in the bathroom.
The house that I owned really taught me to think outside the box. I remember one night when I had to empty the toilet to be able to remove it so that I could get a mechanical auger into the drain (fun times). That night, through a combination of trial, error, and conversations with my dad, I accidentally ‘invented’ the siphon. And that’s what I decided to do with my current holding tank situation.
Now, I have to say that since I went to dump I haven’t been putting paper in the tank so that I could prolong the tank getting too full. So I was dealing with a fairly liquid sludge, for which the siphon would work just fine.
These are the tools I gathered:
-newspaper for protecting the floors;
-a large (6 gallon) bucket with a screw on lid;
-a piece of hose long enough to hit both the bottom of the tank and that of the bucket;
-a garbage bag;
First, I turned off the water pump, then I put newspaper down in both the dressing room and the toilet room to contain spills (unnecessary) and put the bucket into a garbage bag in case it leaked (unnecessary). I then inserted the piece of hose into the tank, leaving enough out for it to rest on the bottom of the bucket.
A siphon is quite easy to make. The trick is that the liquid levels in the recipient container have to be lower than those in the donor container. So the ideal thing would have actually been to have the bucket outside, below the rig, and the hose snaked out the door, but I wanted to be able to keep my eye on the whole operation. So, I decided to siphon as much as I could and see where I got.
The other thing a siphon needs is a primer. In some cases, sucking on the hose would work, but not in this one! I used my wet/dry shop vac to create the necessary suction.
My set up worked perfectly and I was pleased to be able to fill up just a bit more than three quarters of the bucket before my siphon stopped working. The tank hadn’t been full to overflowing to start, so that freed up plenty of space. I made a note of how full the tank was when I siphoned it so that I’ll know when to repeat the exercise.
I screwed the lid on tight, brought the bucket outside for disposal at the dump station on the way to work tomorrow, cleaned the the shop vac, and then cleaned the bathroom and dressing room thoroughly for good measure. Done in about ten minutes with no mess.
Now, I can’t wait to hear from all the horrified people who will tell me that I shouldn’t have done that! 😀Share on Facebook