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Not Your Mother’s Toilet & Inside a Black Water Tank!

March 20, 2010

We have a black water tank attached to our toilet. Oh, joy! This is not your mama’s toilet…at least, not unless she lived in an RV. Even outhouses are different from this.

Now…I know that some of you out there are curious about our black water tank. (It’s OK…really…it is.) You have no idea how it works or what dumping involves. Well…I have been taking some pictures! So…now you can “see” for yourself!

We have a panel that gives us readings on different things.  You can see labels for the fresh water, black water and gray water tanks. The only one we fill is the black and so that is the only light we will see (when it is working correctly).  Sometimes it does not work right and we have to look down through the toilet to see how full it is.  It is difficult to see, but the “LOW” light is currently on for the black water tank. There are three lights:  LOW, MED and FULL. When it reads “FULL”, we dump, or drain, the black water tank.  The light is not very bright because the tank just started to fill after being dumped.

This is the toilet. There are two pedals at the bottom. The pedal on the right fills the bowl and both together open the bottom to drain it.  In this case, we have the water turned off to the toilet because it started to leak. Ours comes with a sprayer…kind of like what you would see on a kitchen. We use that to fill the bowl and rinse it. You can see the hose running across to the right. We keep the sprayer in the tub instead of in its holder because it tends to leak, too. You can see the holder on the left. It is above the toilet brush poking through the blue insulation sheet we put behind the toilet to help keep the bathroom warm. The red on the insulation is wax from a candle that got bumped. Candles help to keep the smell down. You can also see the layers of insulation we put on the floor. By the end of winter, it gets pretty mashed up and dirty.

This is with the lid up. As you can see, this is not as comfortable as a home toilet where you have something flat to lean against. The bottles of water on the right are in case our water line freezes. That way we can still flush the toilet. The little bottle on the left contains the stuff we put into the tank to help the solids break down and to help keep the smell down.

Here it is with the seat up, too. There is a blade in the bottom of the bowl tube that opens to empty it. In the above picture the blade is closed. In this picture, it is most of the way opened. There is water all around because I had just finished dumping tubs of water into it. You can see the reflection of the water inside the black water tank.

Here it is with the blade all the way open.  Since it does not completely open the passage, we sometimes have to jiggle the pedal, moving the blade to get it to empty into the tank. There is a black tube connected to the bowl tube that goes down into the tank. Below that, you can see the surface of the water a ways below it. The tank is empty. The black you see through the water is the bottom of the tank. The patches of brown you can see are…well…

Typically, when we drain it, we also run water from a hose through a valve that runs from the outside of the RV and into the tank. Here you can see the hose hanging down from the side of the RV.  The two flat things with handles are the valves to empty the two tanks. The one on the left is pulled open. It is for the gray water that comes from the sinks and bathtub. We leave that one open. The one on the right is pushed closed. It is for the black water tank which the toilet empties into. You can also see the septic hose through which both tanks drain into our septic tank. The light and styrofoam is part of how we keep it from freezing closed in the winter. We would be in big trouble if we could not drain our black water tank.

While it is draining and being flushed by the hose, we fill a dishpan with water and dump it through the top. This stirs things up a bit so that it drains more “cleanly”.  When it is below freezing, the hose freezes and we cannot run the water. So, that means a LOT more dishpan dumps. I probably dump about a dozen dishpans each time in an effort to flush the tank even somewhat decently.

So…there you have it. Now you have seen one version of an RV toilet and how it works. Too bad we cannot just flush our sinfulness away as easily as we can flush our black water tank. We can try to cleanse ourselves, but the best it will ever get is like the inside of our tank which is mostly clean but still stained with patches of brown. Our sinfulness will always stain us. Only through Yeshua/Jesus can we be truly cleansed.

We can never make the inside of our black water tank as clean as new, just as we can never make ourselves totally clean inside. However, Yeshua can make our souls as clean as new. Won’t you entrust your soul…your spiritual well-being…to Him today? If you don’t understand about that, get a bible and read it. Ask Yeshua to help you understand. He will. You can also email me at this address if you have any questions.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. emily l. :) permalink
    March 22, 2010 4:46 PM

    Wow…I had been wondering…Mrs. W, have you all seen the movie RV?? Remember when they go to empty the tank and it blows up…?? (:
    -emily l. (:

    • March 22, 2010 4:55 PM

      Yes…we have seen that movie. Of course…what happened to him is not possible…thankfully…but it was hysterical!


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