I am posting this here partially so I know right where it is in the event I may need it, but also for others that may happen across my blog and be new like we were this past year starting out and had NO clue. This one detail of keeping black tank CLOSED except only dumping when full is so crucial. Fortunately we learned early on before any damage was really done as we could have had a huge issue.
If your RV is parked, and you have a sewer hook up, it's okay to leave the gray tank valve open, but you should leave the black tank closed. When the black tank is nearing the time when it needs to be emptied... the night before, close the valve on the gray tank and let it fill from use of the sinks and shower. The next day, open the black tank first and let it drain.
Most newer RV's have a built in black tank rinser. If your RV has one, connect a hose (NOT your drinking water white hose!) to the rinser and let it spray water in the black tank helping you flush it. The tank rinser hose connection should be near where the other water connections are.
If you do not have a built-in rinser you can get a toilet wand at your favorite RV store. Connect the wand to a hose and insert it down through the toilet into the black holding tank.
Once you have drained and rinsed the black tank, close that valve and add a couple of gallons of water and your favorite chemical. Now open the gray tank valve. Be sure the black tank is closed before opening the gray tank valve. You do not want to mix contents between the two tanks.
As the gray tank empties, it will flush out the sewer hose of any residue from the black tank. Then leave the gray tank valve open again for daily use as it can fill fast when several people are using sinks and showering. If it fills, it will overflow into the lowest drain, which is usually the shower. Not very pretty and can be quite stinky!
You may want to read the following articles at RVbasics.com:
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