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How to Prevent Holding Tank Sludge Buildup

For all RV enthusiasts, the RV toilet system is a big deal not only for its important function but also because of the trouble it can cause when maintained poorly. Maintenance is the key issue here and getting to understand how the RV toilet system operates lays the foundation for proper maintenance. It is always easier to handle an appliance or gadget when you have background knowledge of how it works. For this particular toilet system, commonly encountered problems include overflowing tanks; clogged sewer valves and sludge build up in the holding tank. Failure to understand the operating mechanism of the RV toilet system may end up in futile troubleshooting.

Sludge buildup in the holding tank is actually a septic tank problem. Firstly, there is need to understand the operating system of a septic tank. The basic function of a septic tank is to collect human waste where the solid waste also known as sludge sinks to the bottom while the liquid waste floats above. As compared the conventional toilet systems, an RV toilet septic tank is intended to hold waste only for short periods of time. Therefore unlike the former which relies on anaerobic bacteria to breakdown the sludge, RV toilet system has a macerator pump. The pump functions to breakdown the waste into tiny bits. Moreover, to aid flow of waste out of the septic tank, lubricants are used. Unpleasant odor from the waste is managed by using chemicals. Consequently, sludge build up in RV toilet systems is a common problem due to the use of lubricants and some chemicals that inhibit bacteria which normally break down the waste particles.

Down to the details, how then are these toilets maintained? First of all, using the right chemicals for the septic tank is fundamental. Certain chemicals have a minimal effect in destroying bacteria and are therefore more suitable. Choose chemicals that are free from formaldehyde and its derivatives. The bacteria help in breakdown thus preventing clogged sewer valves and build up of sludge. Secondly, do a regular checkup of the RV tank sensors to make sure that build up is being eliminated when dumping is done. Sometimes, the sensors give false reading so it helps to check. Thirdly, try pouring hot water into the holding tank as it helps breakdown toilet paper and waste material.

Finally, preventing holding tank sludge build-up is a matter of following a number of simple handy tips. One of the ways for proper sludge disposal is employing the services of a ‘pump-out’ company which is able to professionally remove sludge from your holding tank. You can also try dumping holding tanks when they are almost full. This way, water will swirl within the tanks thus getting rid of deposits that could be stuck on the sides of the holding tank. The velocity during evacuation is much greater with a fuller tank. This helps to thoroughly flush out all contents. Lastly, you can prevent sludge build-up using something known as the Geo Method. It is basically a tank cleaning process that is easy and affordable. A solution is made using two cups of water softener and a cup of laundry detergent in powder form, dissolved in boiling water. When poured into the holding tank of your RV toilet, all solid waste particles will be washed off. This includes even those stuck on the walls.

Read more about RV holding tanks here.

This article has been written by Chris Troutner who is a greatly experienced freelancer. Some of his content includes amazing writing on simplicity, happiness and DIY living in the San Juan Islands. He writes of his experience with his sail boat, the Rock n Row. Read more material on marine toilet systems from his site.

One reply on “How to Prevent Holding Tank Sludge Buildup”

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