Black Tank Ewwww!

We recently wrapped up a ten-day stay at an RV park in Northern California that only had five sites with full hookups. While we were there, we paid for a few “honey runs” where a park employee comes by with a vacuum pump and tank to drain your gray and black tanks – a very smelly endeavor! I also used our friends’ sewer tote to drain our gray tanks several times because they often fill up in between “honey runs,” and I had even shown our friends how to use it to dump their tanks because they were nice enough to let me break it in for them. 

Leading up to the day we were set to leave, I planned to stop at the dump station on the way out of the park to dump our tanks. Even though we’d been RVing for about eight months, this was only the second time I’d had to dump our tanks at a dump station. I didn’t think anything of it, though; after all, I’d already used our friends’ tote multiple times by myself, so I thought, “this’ll be a piece of cake.” Little did I know what type of experience I was in for…

I pulled our truck and 5th-wheel up to the dump station and started getting everything hooked up because I needed to dump two black tanks and two gray tanks (we have one of each up front and one of each in back). 

Black 1: no problem. 

Gray 1: no problem. 

Black 2…While dumping that one, I noticed a little black water was leaking out of a small hole in the sewer hose, so I thought, “I’ll just roll the hose over so that hole is up.”

When I rolled the hose over, a connection further up the line came open, and black water started running EVERYWHERE!

In that moment, I knew I had to make a split-second decision: do I: 1, run to the valve handle and try to close it, letting more black water spill all over the place; or 2: grab the open ends of the two hoses with my bare hands and re-connect them. I chose option 2.

I didn’t have gloves on, so I had black water rushing all over both of my hands before I got it reconnected. Let me just tell you, you haven’t really lived until you’ve washed your hands in black water from your RV!

 At that point, I’m thinking, “no problem…so I’ve got a little black water to wash off my hands and to rinse into the dump area drain,” so I grabbed the nearby water hose and turned it on. I had just used it a day or two ago, but it. wouldn’t. turn. ON!

I ran to the next station and used it to rinse my hands, but the hose wouldn’t reach the spill. Then, I noticed that the rinse station supply hose was kinked. I figured I could just disconnect it, untangle the kink, and reconnect it.

That was completely wrong.

The water valve wouldn’t shut all the way.

So, for the next fifteen minutes, I fought to get the supply hose back on a running spigot while spraying water everywhere! By the time I was done, my pants were soaked from the knees down. I really couldn’t tell if I had any black water on my legs or feet, but I could smell my hands with them down at my sides! 

I pulled the rig out of the station and parked by the nearest bathroom. I ran in and proceeded to scrub my hands with soap and water about 60 times! But I. Could. Still. Smell. The. Black Water! I called Dawn, to tell her what was taking me so long (she had gone to grab some lunch for us), and I don’t think she fully grasped the reality of what had just happened to me.

I met up with her at a fast food place a little while later and gave her the rundown after I washed my hands about 1,000 times more! I told her I didn’t think I’d ever bite my nails again, but I did finally get the smell off.

Too bad I couldn’t wash that memory from my brain!


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