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Oh, the horror! Sewer tank overflows while RVer is away

By Steve Korsvall
THE RV PROCTOLOGIST

Steve posted this on our Facebook group RV Crashes and Disasters.

I like the stories when people said “it happened this way.” Example:

A customer of mine said, “I was drinking, and while I was over on the side of my RV I started flushing my tank. I forgot to open my black gate valve. Just then my neighbor came over and we were talking about tools and hardware. He invited me to go to the hardware store. I figured that wouldn’t take long so we went. So, long story short, by the time we got back the bathroom floor was flooded. It was coming down the stairs flooding the kitchen and carpet and flowing out the front door.”

The damage. Oh my goodness, not pretty!

Steve Korsvall operates the RV Proctologist in Quartzsite, Arizona. If you have problems with your holding tanks, or simply want them cleaned, and are in the area, you know who to call.

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travelingjw
1 month ago

I have an Orbit sprinkler timer that I always attach to the input for the black tank flush. It has never failed to shut off the water even if I walk away.

HooknHaul89
1 month ago

Something similar happened to me once. I had drained the tank and flushed once. Closed the valve and let the back-flush running while I ran into the workshop for a second flush. I’ll just be gone a second. Duh! I got distracted and a second ran into a minute and a minute into about 40. When I returned to the rig there was water gushing out the roof vent. I shut the water off immediately, and opened the black valve to drain the tank again. Gratefully, there was not a drop of water inside the rig. The toilet seal held the water in the tank and the tank is properly vented. Whew!!

Daniel Pankiewicz
1 month ago

I learned to always set an alarm on my phone

William T Elliott
1 month ago

This would not have damaged the ceiling area if the manufacturers would seal around the roof vent pipe or like your home’s vent pipes ensure the pipe penetrated the roof. If the vent pipe was properly installed the effluents would be on the roof not in the ceiling.
This is one of my nightmares.

Tom
1 month ago

Opening line—-“I was drinking……”

Lola
1 month ago

I’m still researching full time RV living. These posts are such a wealth of information.
My only question is, why are some people on this just to be outright vicious?
Please, people, let’s use this forum to our benefit and not to vent or be mean to anyone.
Let’s help each other and spread good karma. 💚
Thanks. 😉

Dan
1 month ago

Give the poor guy a break. We’re talking a trip to the hardware store here.

Engineer
1 month ago

Obvious you are using the wrong toilet paper…..good luck

Ed Thomas
6 months ago

We were at a SMART group get together One of our friends arrived late and went to a group meeting without getting completely set up. another of our friends decided to help and hooked up the Campground water supply. However, she got the wrong input and actually hooked up to the black water clean out valve. Then turned on the water! When T came back from the meeting, water was running out the front door and every other place possible for water to exit. Shock, anger and horror when T saw what was happening to his new RV.

Gary Broughton
10 months ago

Seen this happen from using tank flush and leaving/forgetting. Makes a mess and for everybody around you. I’ve use flusher to add water down the valve piping but I stood there and filled for one minute only.
It’s your RV know what your doing.

Rick
1 year ago

For those of you who aren’t as PERFECT as some of these replies imply…try this:

Orbit 62034 Mechanical Watering Hose Timer

Sharon B
1 year ago

I also witnessed a flood with water pouring out of a a camper. The water was flowing out the door and seams. If I remember correctly it was a valve that let go during the night from the toilet. Being insecure, I always cut off the water when I leave the camper and also at night when sleeping. I turn the water back on when I wakeup.
On another occasion I witnessed another flooding flowing out of the door and compartments of a Class A. Can’t remember what the issue was on that one. I vaguely remember that it also may have been the toilet. The people returned to a mess.
Yikes, I really cannot wait to convert my water toilet to a compost toilet. Still trying to find one that is affordable and will fit nicely in my bathroom.

Rory R
10 months ago
Reply to  Sharon B

do your research before you start the conversion, it’s not all sweetness and light, ask me how I know…

Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Sharon B

Hard learned lessons are sometimes the best teachers.
Don’t ask me how My wife and I came about the habit of shutting off the water when we leave for the day and also don’t ask me how many times we circled back because neither one of us could remember if we did actually shut it off.

Rod
1 year ago

I normally refill my flushed black tank on my 5er 3-4 timed for a good clean. I got a phone call and forgot it was filling and “boom” the black tank burst. Shook the whole trailer but no sign inside or on the roof. Funny think is a friend next us did the same thing a few months (his wife told us his secret) before and then traded in his almost new 5er for a new toy hauler. Than a couple days after I blew my tank the friend on the other side of us did the same thing to his toy hauler. All 3 of us did it. I repaced my tank. I wonder how many used trailers have blown tanks which you would only know if they were filled to the top?

Bill
1 year ago

Did the same thing in my Dutch Star a couple of years ago – didn’t go to the hardware store but was standing there wondering why it was taking so long to fill the fresh water tank when water started running down the sides from the plumbing vents on the roof. Fortunately all the joints and even the seal in the toilet held and there was no water at all inside, and the water coming out the roof was clean.

Larry
1 year ago

The first three words explain it all. “I was drinking.”

Mike
1 year ago

I’ve seen first hand what can happen. Not my rv, but someone else. Not only did toilet flood the rv, but black tank turned into a balloon and busted all the support brackets. I purchased a ”dead Man valve” and put it inline with the hose I use for flushing. If I’m not holding it, no water flows. I flush with the dump valve closed for a minute or two, then pull while still flushing for best effect. I have a unique quick connect, so hopefully if someone else dumps for me, they still end up using it. My wife learned how to dump as well.

Btw, if the terrible happens to you; toilet water everywhere and you have carpet, consider ripping the carpet out, then drying. RV construction lets water soak in everywhere and even a wet vac won’t keep it from soaking under and into the wall material. With the previously mentioned trailer, the repair shop said pulling the carpet and drying quickly made the difference between repair and total.

Doris J Hamilton
1 year ago

OKAY LEAVING WAS NOT THE BEST IDEA, BUT THESE DAYS IT IS EASY TO BECOME DISTRACTED. I FIND THAT GETTING SET UP BY MYSELF AS AN OLDER WOMAN, 70 THIS YEAR, I HAVE TO USE A CHECK LIST TO INSURE I HAVE EVERYTHING COMPLETED PROPERLY. I JUST GOT MY VERY SMALL CAMPER LAST YEAR AND WHILE ON A 32 DAY TRIP IN THE SPRING I GOT MUCH BETTER AS I WAS MOVING EVERY FEW DAYS, BUT I AM SORRY THIS HAPPENED TO ANYONE, HAVING BEEN A REGULATOR FOR WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANTS OVER MY ENTIRE, THOU SMALL STATE FOR 30 YEARS, I HAVE SEEN SMALL ERRORS CREATE MASSIVE WASTEWATER OVERFLOWS INTO FEDERAL WATERS, WETLANDS AND STATE WATERS. I CAN TELL YOU IT IS NEVER FUN OR PRETTY OR WITHOUT HAZARD AND COST, BE OUR OWN LITTLE HOMES ON THE ROAD OR LARGE INDUSTRIES OR MUNICIPALITIES. ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, I FEEL SURE THIS WAS A LESSON WELL LEARNED.

Mark B
1 year ago

Whoa! Please take a breath between thoughts and turn off the CAPS LOCK.

Corrinadsilva
1 year ago

FYI all caps mean you’re shouting. Use upper/lower case next time.

mike neely
1 year ago

Checklist only work if you concentrate on them at the time. If you get distracted, all bets are off

chris p hemstead
1 year ago

proctologist, not protologist

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
1 year ago

Oops. Thanks, Chris! Fixed it. —Diane at RVtravel.com

Thom
1 year ago

Sounds like he was smoking something as well as drinking. That will make a person space out and forget stuff!

Skip
1 month ago
Reply to  Thom

Back Thom. We are not all perfect like you and to insinuate drinking or/and smoking something probably is not a good assessment to make or label someone.

Rick
1 year ago

The very first time we used our brand new camper, I pulled into our spot and set up My wife extended the slide outs while I hooked up electric and water and set up other outside stuff.. As I was walking around the trailer doing misc odds n ends I heard a loud “crack” followed by a flood of water coming
from underneath the trailer. After shutting water off I discovered I had hooked up water to the black tank flush inlet. NO STICKER identifying it. All my previous years camping never saw a black tank tank flush inlet. Forgot our “walk-through” training on black tank flushing. I called the dealer and KZ to complain and a year or two later noticed they now had a sticker identifying that inlet as Black Tank Flush. I added my own sticker. The excess weight had caused the overfull tank to drop slightly and break away from toilet pipe, and damaged tank also. Probably shouldn’t have broken as it should handle a full tank!? Cost me around $1000. I guess we we’re lucky that a) Hadn’t used the toilet yet b) The tank let loose and we didn’t flood the inside of the camper c) I was right there when it happened and shut water off . Lesson learned!!!

Snayte
1 month ago
Reply to  Rick

Are you the reason my black tank flush is about as far as it can be from the black tank valve? Because that would put it closer to the fresh water inlet?