Another very long discussion has prompted me to start this one.
In a nutshell, your camping hosts (or roadside dump stations) typically use a large septic system to handle the wastes you pump out of your holding tanks. These systems are relatively fragile systems compared to city water treatment plants. Anyone whose had a home septic systems knows this very well indeed.
The bottom line is that you should use no harsh chemicals in your system - no harsh detergents, bleach, etc. Small quantities of bleach to treat your water tank won't hurt anything, as it will very very diluted by the time it gets into the septic system. Dumping half a gallon of bleach into a waste tank is irresponsible, as is using any product designed to kill bacteria in your holding tanks. The septic systems into which you dump are harmed when you dump sterile waste - or worse yet, waste that is actively anti-bacterial.
There are a number of products and methods you can use to ensure your tanks stay clean and your sensors stay operational, the most important of which is to use plenty of water when you flush.
FWIW, I strongly recommend using "QuikieFlush" or similar products that provide an in-tank flushing system to keep the tank clean, this is probably the best single thing you can do other than using plenty of water in the first place and never leaving the black tank dry.
Again, FWIW, I also recommend you use a bacteria-plus-enzyme product for your waste treatment, of you use anything at all (some folks use nothing and find that works well for them). Sea-Zyme is one such product, I am sure that there are plenty of others to choose from as well. Whatever product you choose, their web site, www.sea-zyme.com, is very educational, including facts on why an enzyme product alone simply won't do the job you want.
To be clear, I have no financial or other interest whatsoever in "QuickieFlush" or "Sea-Zyme." I just like to point out good products when I find them to help others who might be looking for such products, as I once was.
A quick web search shows a couple other bacteria/enzyme products you might consider, though I nothing about them, really. Nilodor (marketed as an odor controlling mixture) and Eco-Save (looks like it might be similar to Sea-Zyme). I'm sure there are others out there as well.
It turns out there is another reason NOT to use bleach in your holding tanks - especially the black tank. SAFETY. When bleach and ammonia or urine are mixed it causes a chemical reaction and creates a vapor that can cause medium- to severe eye and respiratory irritation (depending upon how much is mixed). Other chemicals that may be in a holding tank at the time may even enhance the reaction. In one case the reaction caused some of the contents of the black tank to spew forth onto the RV roof. Naturally, this is only an issue if you dump bleach into a tank with urine in it or pee into a tank with bleach in it.
I wonder how effective this kind of post is. I'm sure most of the folks that read these forums will want to do what is right to begin with. But, experience has taught me that a lot of folks don't even take the time to throw their waste items in the proper receptacle let alone do what is right at the dump station. I guess I'm just a skeptic but it comes from many years of observation. Have you ever looked at the waste left after a major league baseball or football game? Or, a NASCAR race? These are the same folks that are driving some mighty fine RVs and it is a shame when I go downtown to the Capitol Mall and see litter everywhere left mostly by tourists. This is why I am skeptical about this kind of post reaching the folks that need it the most. I am wondering why it takes a policeman to enforce the litter laws when they could be of better use protecting citizens. Just the other day, a lady was put in jail for eating a candy bar at the Metro station even though she did throw the wrapper in the right trash can. No eating, drinking or smoking means just that. But, I would have rather that policeman was out looking for terrorists.
You're probably right, and I'm wasting my time. It doesn't stop me from trying, though. Maybe some folks will suddenly realize that what you put in your holding tank is dumped right into a septic system and be more careful.
That does it! I’m giving up this RV thing because there are just too many rules.
Don’t make noise during Quiet time
Don’t leave your porch light on all night
Don’t let the dogs bark
Don’t let the kids make noise
Don’t build a campfire even if a fire ring is provided
Don’t start your engine too early
Don’t forget to turn off your headlights in the park
Don’t use petroleum distillates
Don’t wash your rig in the park
Don’t talk to strangers
Don’t ride your electric conveyance thru the park
Don’t forget to check your tire pressure
Don’t forget to check your lug nut torque
Don’t tow too heavy a load
Don’t climb up on your roof
Don’t fly a flag
Don’t let other people watch you back into your site
Don’t use synthetic oil in a new engine
Don’t drive the speed limit
Don’t forget to use your turn signal
Don’t drive too slowly
Don’t forget to flush
Don’t leave your awning out
Don’t cook greasy foods in your kitchen
Don’t stay in your bathrobe past 10:00 o’clock
Don’t run your genset too much
Don’t shop at Wal-Mart
Don’t shop at Camping World
Don’t believe anybody with the title of “Salesman”
Don’t carry a weapon
Don’t let your pet poop…even in the forest
Don’t drink the water
Don’t buy anything from a foreign country
Don’t use unapproved toilet paper
Don’t go swimming in the pool until you’ve showered
Don’t eat bacon
Don’t park your coach in your driveway
Don’t trust your dealer
Don’t trust your manufacturer
Don’t trust the government
Don’t go there
And finally, don’t put anything into the sewer that you haven’t processed thru your own body!
I give up! I’m going to go get a job…there weren’t as many “rules” as I recall.
"If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."
Walter & Garland - Camp Canine caretakers
Gen. Gretchen - 10 y.o. GSD - Special Forces/DOTL Cloudbusters
Miss Inga (aka "Shorty") - 11 month old GSD. Still a civilian at this point.
Gen. Missy - GSD/Aussie - Joined DOTL Rainbow Division, June 11,2006
Westronics, I am curious and maybe you have the answer since you see to know something about this. As I recall, chlorine dissipates within a reasonably short period of time after mixing with water. Is that incorrect and if so, how long does it take?