Strong odor - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-10-2020, 03:12 PM   #1
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Strong odor

Just got back from a two day outing. We got back yesterday and today I stopped off at the storage yard to put away some gear in the Scamp. I was almost knocked over by the odor, a strong sewer gas kind of smell. This is our first season with our 2017 our Scamp 16 with front bath. First time we've had any odors at all. The restrooms/showers at the state park were closed this weekend so we were more heavily dependent on our plumbing systems this outing. We took showers for the first time, using the pump to drain the shower as per instructions. Washed lots of dishes but scraped plates before so not much in the way of food or grease. Used the toilet for urine only. When we left the park yesterday we drained both tanks. But on reflection, we recall the gray water tank didn't seem to dump as much water as we would have expected. Black water tank drained about like we're used to. We store the Scamp in a lot that backs up to a field, so I decided today to see how much water was left in the gray tank. Wow, must have been 6-8 gallons still in there. In our defense, we didn't hang around the dump station yesterday. An older rig came in to dump as we were finishing. Dude got out with no mask, no gloves, no fitting on the hose. Hose looked like some fabric covered rubber thing off an old fire truck.

We use odor packets in the black tank but haven't used anything in th gray. Maybe we should start? And any thoughts on why the gray tank didn't dump? Could I have some sort of air lock problem? Whatever caused that issue, it was sorted out today when I dumped into the field. I did flush some more water into the black tank and added some more chemicals. I left the bath vent open and I plan to stop back tomorrow to see how things smell.
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Old 08-10-2020, 05:07 PM   #2
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Sort of off topic. In our little portable toilet we use Happy Camper Toilet Chemical. If I had a grey tank I would use it in that too. You tube has a good review done by Road Gear Reviews. We gave up on other chemical treatment years ago.

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Old 08-10-2020, 06:24 PM   #3
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Sort of off topic. In our little portable toilet we use Happy Camper Toilet Chemical. If I had a grey tank I would use it in that too. You tube has a good review done by Road Gear Reviews. We gave up on other chemical treatment years ago.

Nancy
I didn't realize that the gray water tank could stink (assuming that's my problem). Oh well, live and learn.
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Old 08-11-2020, 12:04 AM   #4
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We use Happy Camper in both our port-a-potty and our grey water tank. There is no chemical odor and the grey tank never has any odors.
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Old 08-11-2020, 12:49 AM   #5
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We use Happy Camper in both our port-a-potty and our grey water tank. There is no chemical odor and the grey tank never has any odors.
Dave& Paula

I expect that Happy Camper and Odorlos are of similar composition. I've been using Odorlos with no chemical odour, or any odour. Grey tank can also be a source of odour and Odorlos also works there.

I'd compare price and ease of use, but if you're happy with one or the other, I wouldn't fret.
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Old 08-11-2020, 05:46 AM   #6
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Sewer smell in a living space is usually a sign of an empty trap. The purpose of the trap is to put water between your nose and the tank contents. If you lose the water in the trap, gasses can come right in.

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Old 08-11-2020, 12:15 PM   #7
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Sewer smell in a living space is usually a sign of an empty trap. The purpose of the trap is to put water between your nose and the tank contents. If you lose the water in the trap, gasses can come right in.

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Is that a common occurrence, the trap going dry?
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Old 08-11-2020, 12:22 PM   #8
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Grey stinks. A sharp, sulfur-type smell. But I've never had interior grey water smell. I could see an empty trap doing it. Maybe if you bounce the trailer enough on rough roads it could splash out? Not sure.

I've definitely had black tank smell. There's a vent filter thing than gets clogged or stuck or something, that was my problem. Not the roof vent, but there's another vent that in a Bigfoot is in the outside rear access hatch where I store all my hoses etc.

Definitely something isn't operating correctly if there's grey water smell in the camper.
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Old 08-11-2020, 12:23 PM   #9
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Is that a common occurrence, the trap going dry?
Yes, especially in hot climates. During winter storage, I put all the plugs in... kitchen sink, bathroom sink and shower trap, because I use Dri-Z Air crystals to remove moisture from the trailer. No point in pulling moisture out of the traps
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Old 08-12-2020, 04:28 PM   #10
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Well the smell is gone, a day after I dumped the gray tank. So I know the source. Now I need to figure out why we only dumped a couple of gallons and not the whole tank at the dump station.
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Old 08-12-2020, 06:18 PM   #11
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Might have to park the trailer tire on a block to pitch the trailer towards the drain.
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Old 08-15-2020, 10:52 AM   #12
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While you are at it, unscrew the filter cap in the line from the bath area and clean it out. You may have the start of a clog in there that is slowing the draining. Might have something to do with the amount of liquid you found in the grey tank. It finally got there.
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Old 08-15-2020, 11:03 AM   #13
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I didn't realize that the gray water tank could stink (assuming that's my problem). Oh well, live and learn.

Slower than the black water, but yes it stinks. And sloshing it around gets a lot of action going in the liquid and that out gases even "better" than sitting.


As for why there is a bunch of extra, most likely you nailed it with the air lock. My scamp as a vent that comes out the bottom. There should be two tubes coming out the bottom. One will right next to where the fresh water tank is and will be pretty small. The other will be like half inch and will be away from the fresh water tank by about 5 inches. About every other year mud dobbers will build in it. And then I get both of what you are talking about. Normally the stink from the gray water actually goes out the vent and not into the trailer. With it stopped up it bubbles up through the sink. The sink also becomes harder to drain. Then when you dump it frequently gets you an incomplete dump.

This can be easy to check on. Just like clear the vent. I use a face mask and goggles. You will be glad you did. Get a piece of like #12 copper wire about 2 foot long. Or anything else that size and flexibility will work. The vent goes up about six inches and then makes a slow u. In my case the mud dobbers are always in the down side. Just use the wire to remove the mud. OH if they come out get lost and come back with some spray ;-)
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Old 08-15-2020, 11:14 AM   #14
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Something I do and maybe it doesn't actually do anything is before I head home (last fuel stop) I will add a very small amount of dish soap (very small amount) and a bag of ice into the black tank which is typically been dumped. In my mind the ice is banging around and getting a little soap action into the corners of the tank. I'll mostly fill the grey and again, just a drop or two of soap and let that slosh around real good for the last miles and then dp everything, and rinse, before heading to the barn. I'm fortunate to live next to an RV Park so I can wash everything real good at the end of a trip. We've been banging around for four years in various style RVs.
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Old 08-15-2020, 11:26 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Iíll check the shower filter and the vents next week before we hit the road again.
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Old 08-15-2020, 11:44 AM   #16
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Is that a common occurrence, the trap going dry?

Parked for a long time, absolutely. And if the vent is not working, when you dumped what did come up was thanks to venting coming through the trap for the sink. That will dry it up quickly. Just having come back from a trip where you used the sink a lot, that should not have happened if the vent is working. Even like a month later there should be more than enough in the trap to trap things.
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Old 08-15-2020, 12:16 PM   #17
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So the stuff you dumped into a open field really smelled? Was this your field? What water shed does it drain into??
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Old 08-15-2020, 12:45 PM   #18
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Something I do and maybe it doesn't actually do anything is before I head home (last fuel stop) I will add a very small amount of dish soap (very small amount) and a bag of ice into the black tank which is typically been dumped.

Watch this with a glass of scotch on the rocks.
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Old 08-15-2020, 01:37 PM   #19
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Did you have the shower drain plug tightened? If not, gray tank odors can come back through the shower drain, as well as gray water under less than ideal circumstances.
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Old 08-15-2020, 02:37 PM   #20
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I've got an odd odor in some of my cabinets on my E21, specifically, the shallow cabinets along the floor on the curb side, if they've been closed up a few days, and I open them, I get a distinct whiff of something rather gaseous, best described as elephant f**ts... there's nothing in there that I can match to this smell, just some cleaners at one end, and paper/plastic bags at the other end.

ditto when I was working under the kitchen sink to fix the drain (flange was too high causing water to puddle in the sink, but no signs of any leakage), upon opening that cabinet after its been closed for a day there was a strong gassy smell... I do NOT believe it was propane, thats a distinctively different sort of gassy smell.
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