My Husband is Covered in Sewage…. Tales of an RV Black Tank

My sister once told me that, when you have a baby, your ideas of what is and isn’t a clean shirt shift dramatically. If it doesn’t have any obvious stains and it doesn’t smell, it’s clean.

I feel like the idea of normal, when it comes to your own waste and wastewater, changes when you live in an RV. Before I moved into an RV, I NEVER thought about my own waste or my own shower water unless something needed to be unclogged.

Now, its kind of a constant background thought. Did I put enough water in the tank with the waste so that it can dump easily? When did I last dump the tank? Is this the right toilet paper that dissolves in water? How much toilet chemical should I put in the tank?

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RV black tank math

This shift in mindset is one of the reasons why, a few months ago, as my husband stood outside our RV, elbows deep in sewage, we started laughing – instead of crying.

You see, it was just a normal day to dump tanks. We attached the hose, and opened the black tank valve. (It’s all pretty non-disgusting, really.) After a while, we realized that the dump valve was clogged.

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See? Totally not gross. Except for when you have to listen to your sewage drain…. blech

Fast forward 20 minutes – we’ve tried everything we know how to do, and now, Norman has had it. He removes the dump hose and sticks his arm UP INTO THE DUMP PIPE of the RV. Meanwhile, sewage is dripping all around his arm, into a bucket. He can feel the clog with his hands…. he struggles, and grinds his teeth, and pulls it out!

It’s a toilet brush.

Basically, what had happened was this: each winter, if you’re not going to be using your RV, it is recommended to “winterize” the unit. During this process, you remove all the water from the RV and put a sort of antifreeze through the pipes. When you’re working with many units, one way to make sure you know which units have already been winterized is to make some sort of sign; these RVs were marked by putting the toilet brush to hold open the flap of the toilet.

When this unit had been dewinterized last, the person had LET THE TOILET BRUSH GO DOWN THE TOILET, and not told anyone.

So here we were, 6 months later, with Norman covered in sewage. And – poor guy – I wouldn’t let him come inside until he stripped off to his boxers and hosed down.

But you know what? To our credit, we didn’t get stressed. We both laughed. And were super grossed out. And laughed again. And scrubbed every inch of ourselves. And laughed.

And then we went to Denny’s. Because pancakes fix everything.

Moral of the story? When life gives you crap, don’t stress. Laugh and eat pancakes!