Mold in Storage Tanks? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-24-2012, 09:08 AM   #1
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Mold in Storage Tanks?

I went to move the porta potti today and realized I'd left water in it. Even though I had used toilet chemicals it must not have been enough as now the tank has mold! This is a Thetford so I have to figure out how to get inside it to reach the corners, maybe a cheap brush that I can bend the handle at the proper angle or something. My question is what prevents water/grey/black tanks from molding? I would think there would always be a little bit of water/moisture left in the tanks. Being in FL mold is a HUGE concern. My T@b just has a 5 gallon water tank under the sink so I store it with the lid off so it dries well. How do you do this with under the trailer tanks?

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Old 02-24-2012, 09:29 AM   #2
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Melissa, we long ago dispensed with 'toilet chemicals' in favor of plain ole Pine Sol. It's pretty environmentally friendly, can be purchased anywhere, & is useful for lotsa other chores.

I've used it in large RVs with huge holding tanks & we use it in the small Passport porta potti in our teardrop trailer & will be used in the Scamp & Trillium. A quarter to half cup in the little 2.5gal waste tank provides odor control & we've never had any problem with mold. I've actually left the tank partially full for weeks at a time during hunting season with no odor/ill effects.

Of course we only use it for emergencies or wife's late nite nature calls when we're parked too far from the 'facilities', but we've been pleased with the results.

Too, the Pine Sol prevents discoloration of the tank interior.
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:04 AM   #3
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Thanks Harvey, Pin sol is cheaper than toilet chemical and easier to find too. When I was preparing to leave WY last summer to return to FL I had to try 3 different Walmarts to find the toilet chemical over a 2 week period. Even then I got the last bottle. This was in a 300 mile radius of where my folks live. Closest one is an hour away. We ended up finding that one bottle in Rapid City, SD (180 miles round trip). My folks go there for Lowe's, Walmart, Cabella's etc to stock up on e'thing so at least it wasnt a wasted trip. Sturgis was going on so was probably the reason for the low supply but now I know I can use Pine Sol I wont have to worry about it in the future.

Thanks!
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:45 AM   #4
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Dont know if this would help at all on your trailers set up Melissa but after I drain the grey and black tanks in summer months - if I am not using the trailer I leave the caps off of them so they dry and air out.
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Old 02-24-2012, 11:03 AM   #5
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That sounds like a plan, Carol. What about your fresh water tank? Does it have a drain plug that can be left open or something?
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Old 02-24-2012, 11:26 AM   #6
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Not as much air as the black and grey get unfortunately- It does have a drain which I leave open and the very small filler cap can also be left open to allow some air into it - but that's not a great deal of air. The fresh tank gets a good flushing/clean out with some bleach a couple of times a year - more frequently if I have used it in areas with not so great water quality. The trailer gets used a fair bit so at worst it is going to sit for no more than a couple of months and thats normally in the deep of winter so freezing is a bigger concern than anything growing in it. :-)
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:37 PM   #7
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Dont know if this would help at all on your trailers set up Melissa but after I drain the grey and black tanks in summer months - if I am not using the trailer I leave the caps off of them so they dry and air out.
A porta-potty won't be vented, but installed black & gray holding tanks are vented, either through the roof or through the side. I'm guessing you leave the caps off to get flow-through ventilation from the dump valve to the roof (or side) vent to dry the inside of the tank?
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:41 PM   #8
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Grey Water Tank

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Dont know if this would help at all on your trailers set up Melissa but after I drain the grey and black tanks in summer months - if I am not using the trailer I leave the caps off of them so they dry and air out.
Do you leave the valves open with the caps off or just the caps off ? Last summer I flushed out my grey water tank and left the valve open and the cap off so the tank could dry out . Two days later when I went out to close the valve , the chipmunks had discovered a new place to nest and store acorns
( In my grey water tank) I now leave the cap off but just crack the valve open a little bit .
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:44 PM   #9
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Frederick you are correct they are vented but I leave them open when not using the trailer to give them a bit more air so they dry out completely so less chance of things growing.
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:53 PM   #10
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LOL yup Steve I do. No chipmunk issues to report but I do worry about squirrels here though. I use a garden hose with a tank wand to flush out the grey tank after use so perhaps there isn't anything in there to attract them. I can see the whole of the black tank from above so if there is anything in it I will see it before I close it up. I also give the grey tank a little bang or two and listen for visitors before closing so they have fair warning before I close it. So far no vistors - suspect if it was left open in the winter there would be a higher chance of visitors. You make a good point though - flushing a little fresh water into the grey tank prior to closing would not be a bad idea.
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:54 PM   #11
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When we were storing the large RV I'd always place a piece of screen over the drain opening(s) & left the cap hanging by its tether.

We have an abundance of small 'critters/varmints' & they love to investigate such places. Worse than the critters in our area are the 'dirt daubers' (mud wasps). They'll get into any place that has an opening or crevice larger than about 1/8" or so, & they can build those mud nests in just a few hours that turn 'rock hard' when dry. Once their nests are built, eggs deposited, & nest chambers filled with paralyzed insects (food for the larvae when the eggs hatch), it'll take more than the flushing wand to remove 'em .

This caution also applies to drains of fresh water tanks. I've had to replace more than one drain valve because of mud wasp plugs that you can't clean out . If you're gonna leave the fresh water tank drain open for any extended period I'd devise some kind of screen (perhaps a piece of old pantyhose of some such) to tie around the valve for protection against insects.
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:56 PM   #12
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Pantyhose thats a great and easy fix - thanks Harvey
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:02 PM   #13
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Melissa I dont know how well it would work on the porta potti but you could fill it up with ice cubes and shake it up really well or easier still drive around with it for the day.... works well for cleaning the sides of black water tanks.
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:27 PM   #14
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here is what you can use for you gray/black tanks. Fo r your fresh tank and more importantly your fresh water lines, a mix of 4 oz bleach to 2 gallons water, flush and repeat at least twice a year. Some bicarbonate soda in between will keep the fresh water fresh.
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