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Author Topic: Combined grey and black water tanks  (Read 2738 times)
phil4501
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« on: May 26, 2006, 06:28:47 AM »

As the heading states, my grey and black water is combined into one tank. This is not the setup I would have chose on my own, but there it is. I was going to try it for a while and see how it works out. I will be ready to attack that bay in september/october. Both kitchen and bath are located over the waste tank, it is very simple but makes for an ackward floorplan.

Any thoughts on this setup or improvements would be appreciated.  The coach goes into family service today, we use it just for short trips and I think nothing of tearing stuff apart and redoing it between adventures.
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2006, 07:00:35 AM »

As the heading states, my grey and black water is combined into one tank. This is not the setup I would have chose on my own, but there it is. I was going to try it for a while and see how it works out. I will be ready to attack that bay in september/october. Both kitchen and bath are located over the waste tank, it is very simple but makes for an ackward floorplan.

Any thoughts on this setup or improvements would be appreciated.  The coach goes into family service today, we use it just for short trips and I think nothing of tearing stuff apart and redoing it between adventures.

In all the years I owned my Eagle I do not recall a single instance where having separate black and gray holding tanks would have made a difference. Although some nuts will empty their gray tank on the ground while boon docking, I personally would never do that. I did have provisions for combining the two tanks and occasionally did that.

Many years ago, in the 60's and 70's it was common to dump the gray tank on the ground, and in fact some brands of campers did not even have a gray tank. The sink and shower just emptied on the ground. I believe Oregon was one of the first states that passed laws prohibiting that practice.
Richard
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El-Sonador
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« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2006, 07:19:47 AM »

Hi Phil...

I'll explain what I did and maybe it will help and maybe it won't.
Some may find a flaw in mine and I'll be able to improve also... who knows.


This is in a MCI-9...

I placed the toilet as far forward over the last curb-side bay as possible, just aft of the bulkhead between the last two bays. This allows for the "straight drop" from the toilet into my Black tank, located in this bay below. The toilet placement in this area allows for sufficient room to enclose it into a decent sized bathroom and provides a perfect balance of floor space for the master's stateroom, aft and the forward section of the coach for galley and living space while maximizing bay space below.

I used two identical tanks and stacked them on top of each other in a "cradle" that I built, so these tanks can slide out on 2x4 rails, independently of each other for any future servicing. Black tank on top, to receive the straight pipe from the toilet directly above, [Hard to see from the photo below due to the shadow] Grey tank is below. These tanks are centered, side to side, in the bay, with enough room on either end for additional storage, accessible from the road side bay door of the same bay and allowances for plumbing the discharge and dump valves accessible from the curb-side bay door. Being centered, from side to side, offers good weight distribution. 

I cut a hole in the bay floor for the discharge sewer line to pass under the bus when the bay door is closed and its location is great for ease of connecting the sewer hose line to any park system almost always located in this area. Closing the bay door after you have hooked into the parks system and everything is clean and out-of-sight.

I did the same sort of thing for my potable water tanks, located in the same bay, also leaving space at either end for storage and placement of the Hot Water tank, etc.. Due to the conduit box that MCI uses in the ceiling of all these bays, additional space becomes available in the cavity created above the tanks and in front of this conduit at either side for storage of sewer lines, hoses, wash brushes, wash bucket, pressure washer and a host of other water related stuff that we seem to carry with us.

Keeping the Grey and Black tanks separate has some added options in that you can first dump your Black, then the grey, this flushes your sewer line to avoid blockage and odour caused by the affluent remaining in the sewer line, baking in the hot sun. Another is that some places, in Dry Camping or Boondocking situations, Grey water is permissible to dump providing you do not use phosphates in your soaps and is a great way to water plants and gardens around your site to conserve water. This can drastically extend your stay, where this is allowed.

This set-up also gives you the option to combine Black with Grey or Grey with Black, However, once a Grey tank has been contaminated with Black, it can no longer be used to dump in a non approved system.

Steve




The photo below will show the set-up I have, viewing it from the curb-side rear bay...
Painted plywood panels can be attached to the tank cradle frames to hide these tanks and "clean-up" the look of the bay
« Last Edit: May 26, 2006, 08:23:15 AM by El Soņador™ » Logged
phil4501
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« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2006, 07:53:13 AM »

I like the cradle idea, this would allow me to maximize the space in the bay instead of leaving access space at the top.
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kyle4501
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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2006, 10:30:40 AM »

Hey phil4501,
When the waste is seperated in to black & grey, the black gets very concentrated & can wreak havok on the septic system you are dumping in to -Especially if you use (the wrong) chemicals. I was told this is why some free dump stations have closed.

It really depends on how you want to use bus & what you need your bays for. I'm afraid that if I kept my bays fully open, I would fill them with stuff & what I needed would always be in the middle, at the bottom   Undecided

My thoughts;

I like the freedom of not needing a PP every time I stop.
I want to be able to boondock as long as possible.
I want to take others with us on trips.

-so-

My plan is to build & put in the largest combined tank that I can fit. I don't have to fill it before dumping & I don't have to break camp just to dump every 100 gal.

The desired floorplan can make a difference too. I am planning for the kitchen & dinette to be on the lower level so as to require minimal modifications to the asile. I will retain the stock washroom as a 1/2 bath. I'll have a smaller waste tank there with a macerator pump to empty it to the rear main tank.

I desire a stock exterior look for my cruiser, so a roof raise is out. On the upper level I want to lower the floor to provide celing height for a lounge at the top of the stairs with a side asile for a bunkroom (for my 2 kids), a full bath, and finally a master bedroom. Since I'm cramming in so much, the rooms will be small at best. The full bath will be over the drive axle which will create drain opportunities for sure, but I'm working on that.


Best of luck to you!
kyle4501

The disclaimers:

I know I'll need to be very careful when modifying the structure when I lower the floor. I don't want my bus to fly apart like some sticks & staples!

Planing a system that requires macerator pumps in order to function is counter to conventional wisdom. However, since I do not like the stinky slinky sewer hose, I'll put up with the adventures in macerator pump maintence in order to have a 1" drain hose.

Your mileage may vary.

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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2006, 02:05:28 PM »

Phil- When I was cross country truck driving, I had an 8ft square box behind my double sleeper cabover Kenworth Aerodyne that had full facilities.  I mounted my waste tanks on the fuel tank cross supports and the drive shaft. Since there wasn't much room, I had a 20 gal black and 25 gal gray-75gal fresh water tank (half the size of the 150gal fuel tank). Running by myself, and showering everyday, I usually had to dump the gray water on the ground in the truck stop (probably the cleanest liquid that pavement saw) once before dumping my black tank once a week.  10 days was the longest 20gal would get me.

On my transit bus I have an 45 gal black, 85 gal gray, 130 gal fresh.  On this last 17 day trip, I dumped the black on the first night out, mid way through, and again when we came back.  I am always glad that I used separate tanks, since with the good soaps now, won't hurt anything with it if you dump the gray on the ground.

As far as dumping-always do it right after coming off the road since all the solids will most likely be broken up.  Never dump in the morning-just asking for a clog.  Good Luck, TomC
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niles500
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« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2006, 11:55:25 PM »

Sorry to be a Stick in the mud - but can any one cite (quote the chapter and verse - not "I heard") where it is OK anywhere in NA  to dump grey water anywhere other than approved wastewater facilitiies - I don't want to hear BTDT - I want to know the legalities - FWIW
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- Niles
El-Sonador
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2006, 06:54:20 AM »

Sorry to be a Stick in the mud - but can any one cite (quote the chapter and verse - not "I heard") where it is OK anywhere in NA  to dump grey water anywhere other than approved wastewater facilitiies - I don't want to hear BTDT - I want to know the legalities - FWIW

Don't be sorry Niles... It's a good Question...

It is ok to dump anything anywhere... UNLESS THERE IS A LAW PROHIBITING IT...

Therefore we need to search Mexico, the US and Canadian laws, but it doesn't end there, most states/provinces create there own laws about this also, so we would then need to search all those States and Provinces.

Even if some states/provinces have not yet enacted a law prohibiting it, some of them don't want that known, or they rely on their country's federal laws to cover this area.

So I think it will be very hard to find a definitive answer.

Steve

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phil4501
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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2006, 07:34:10 AM »

Hey phil4501,
When the waste is seperated in to black & grey, the black gets very concentrated & can wreak havok on the septic system you are dumping in to -Especially if you use (the wrong) chemicals. I was told this is why some free dump stations have closed.

It really depends on how you want to use bus & what you need your bays for. I'm afraid that if I kept my bays fully open, I would fill them with stuff & what I needed would always be in the middle, at the bottom   Undecided

My thoughts;

I like the freedom of not needing a PP every time I stop.
I want to be able to boondock as long as possible.
I want to take others with us on trips.

-so-

My plan is to build & put in the largest combined tank that I can fit. I don't have to fill it before dumping & I don't have to break camp just to dump every 100 gal.

The desired floorplan can make a difference too. I am planning for the kitchen & dinette to be on the lower level so as to require minimal modifications to the asile. I will retain the stock washroom as a 1/2 bath. I'll have a smaller waste tank there with a macerator pump to empty it to the rear main tank.

I desire a stock exterior look for my cruiser, so a roof raise is out. On the upper level I want to lower the floor to provide celing height for a lounge at the top of the stairs with a side asile for a bunkroom (for my 2 kids), a full bath, and finally a master bedroom. Since I'm cramming in so much, the rooms will be small at best. The full bath will be over the drive axle which will create drain opportunities for sure, but I'm working on that.


Best of luck to you!
kyle4501

The disclaimers:

I know I'll need to be very careful when modifying the structure when I lower the floor. I don't want my bus to fly apart like some sticks & staples!

Planing a system that requires macerator pumps in order to function is counter to conventional wisdom. However, since I do not like the stinky slinky sewer hose, I'll put up with the adventures in macerator pump maintence in order to have a 1" drain hose.

Your mileage may vary.



Hello Kyle,
It's sounds as if you will have almost the same floorplan as we want for our scenicruiser,evenutually. The theory was that since 821 has the opposite floorplan, we could redo a section at a time while we used the coach. We will leave the existing kitchen until the new kitchen is operational and so on...

I went through the bus, system by system and repaired a needed. It is now operational. I am now at the stage where it is time to go back and build it my way. Am  researching, saving, and gaining some experience with coach and my family in it to see what best suits our needs.

The biggest problem to date is that as I aquire enough money to do a good job at any one thing on the coach, I realiize that I could get another scenicruiser with that money. 4501-821 is on the road after all.
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jlaney
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« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2006, 02:10:28 PM »

hello phil
the 4501 that i had used one tonk about 110 gallon for black and grey water. had a by pass
set to let me drain the grey water seperate, started to say on the ground but some people
don't like to hear it. i have a park near my says the tree like grey water. it i can help in your
conversion let me know. jt. laney
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j.t. laney  tyler texas 1980 prevost lemirage
Big Tom
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« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2006, 04:05:59 PM »

Have seen setupbwith gray and black tanks side by side above fresh water tank.  Allows easy access to tops of the black and gray for pipes plus gives a little more head for dumping.  Of course I heard from some nay-sayers that leaks could contaminate fresh tank.  Unless you violate all principles of these systems, everything is sealed and there is no more danger than having them side by side.

If I was doing a combined tank I would sure do as suggested above and put in a bypass setup so gray water could be diverted before it entered tank.  Some of the rustic camps have gray water receptacles near the sites for tenters to dump wash water, may be able to garden-hose gray to one of the them or into a bucket to extend stay.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2006, 04:07:54 PM by Big Tom » Logged
Len Silva
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« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2006, 04:57:18 PM »

A lot of the entertainer coaches on the road don't even have a hose connection, just a pneumatic dump valve under the bus operated by the driver.  Dump on the side of the road or going down the I in the middle of the night. No #2 allowed however.
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