The Shitter’s Full

It happened. It actually happened. Today, I officially channeled Cousin Eddie in my very own personal struggle with what my kids affectionately call, the poo poo pipe.

Everything had been going so smooth. I’m naturally a researcher and a learner, so to some extent, I’ve prided myself on being a professional RV’er from day one. Hey, I know what I’m doing! Alas, my humanity caught up to me, as it always does.

A couple of days ago, I noticed that running down the window of my passenger side window was some “rust” colored water and residue. Seeing water deposits from water leaking down this area of the RV is nothing new. On the side of the roof on the top of the RV is a channel, sort of like a miniature gutter that channels water run-off to the front (or rear depending on the level of the RV) of the motorhome. And usually, this is condensate coming from the air conditioner units on the roof. But to see the rust color was new. My initial thought was something might have been rusting up there due to the fact that we are parked just blocks from the ocean. I thought, man, that’s some tough salt water. But I figured, eh, I’ll check it out tomorrow.

I wake up this morning, and upon finishing my morning business, I flush the toilet. Just another day, right? I hear this awful gurgling sound of rushing water and the sound is going up the bathroom wall. Two things. I had never heard that sound before when flushing the toilet. Secondly, that ain’t right! To my dismay, I quickly figured out that I was flushing sewer to the roof. Yes, that’s right. The rust colored water (from the ocean salts) that I found running down the side of my RV the previous day was our poop water! So, I started my day on the roof with the hose washing pee and poop (my pee and poop mind you, which I suppose is better than someone else’s) off of my own RV. Now you ask, how in the world did this happen. And now at the expense of all my pride, I’m giving you valuable information so that you do not find yourself in the same predicament.

For a couple of weeks, we had been parked at a state park in Arizona which means we did not have sewer hookups. So, we were paying attention to our water usage and tanks very closely. When you are at a state or national park, you have to move your RV to a dump station to dump your tanks. This process is time consuming and tedious so you are really paying attention to all things water. Upon arriving to an RV resort in San Diego where we have full hookups and we are using water like mad, your tanks can go out of sight, out of mind. What you need to understand is even when you are on full hookups with sewer, you still keep your black tank closed so that you don’t get buildup in your tank. That means that every 5 to 7 days, you will need to make sure to go outside, pull the lever and empty the black tank. Well, we forgot to do that.

In the back of my mind, I always thought that it wouldn’t be a big deal if we filled up the black tank with sewage. I figured, well at that point, the toilet simply wouldn’t flush and then you’d know that it’s time to dump the tank. No big deal, right? Ooops, the tank must be full, so I’ll go empty it. What I did not account for is that our RV is equipped with a VacuFlush system by Dometic. And let me tell you from experience, these guys make really good pumps! When you have a pump system, the force of the pump helps to move along waste to your black tank every time you flush to make sure that the pipes are completely evacuated. So great, we have a nice RV. But the pumps are so forceful, that even when the black tank is full, it will continue to force waste up the vent pipe all the way up to the the roof!!!! It just keeps going!!!!

One, don’t forget to dump the tank. Two, if you have a VacuFlush system, it WILL keep on flushing right through that full tank of waste to your roof vent. Three, you’re welcome.

For all of you laughing at my expense, shame on you.


1 Comment

  1. Reply
    Jessica Meinhofer

    Wow…I had no idea that this could ever happen. We don’t have a VacuPump system so our toilet will still flush, but the black tank contents start backing up…you can actually see it coming back at you as you flush. Yikes. Well, thanks for sharing your experience.

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