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Bus Discussion => Bus Topics ( click here for quick start! ) => Topic started by: robertglines1 on November 22, 2010, 08:03:26 PM

Title: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: robertglines1 on November 22, 2010, 08:03:26 PM
For new to bus conversions and ones like me that need a reawakening.Basic house water/waste water system.. I usually separate my waste tanks. one gray water  and one for toilet.when dumping I dump toilet water. first then gray to flush out the dump hose. in my case I use 100 gallon fresh water and 100 gallon gray and 50 gal toilet water tanks..it is easy if you can locate toilet over black water tank ..must vent system...I locate all fresh water lines in a way they gravity drain for winter months.. others please chime in with your selection for basic plumbing system....Bob
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: cody on November 22, 2010, 09:21:15 PM
I have the 80 gallon grey tank and the 80 gallon black tank sitting side by side, the drain Y's to reach each tank with a slide shut off on the grey, another one on the black and the last one is the final outfeed to the drain hose, to empty the tanks I put the hose on and open the main valve and the valve on the black water tank and let it drain, then I shut the main valve leaving the black water tank open and then open the grey tank valve, the grey water floods the black tank and swirls around in there, then I reopen the main valve and let it all drain, that has worked well for flushing the black tank while I'm draining them both.
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: rv_safetyman on November 23, 2010, 04:52:17 AM
One of the best tips I got from the week I spent at the Bus Conversion Class ('99) from Tom Winterhaulter (sp?) was to plumb the gray water tank so that it flows through the black water tank.  On my setup, the tanks run across the bus.  The main dump is on the driver side on the black tank.  I open that valve when I dump and let the black tank empty and leave the valve open.  Then I go around to the passenger side and open a slide valve so that the gray water flows from the passenger side of the black tank to the dump valve on the driver side.  Really helps to "clean" out the black tank. 

I can also use the connecting valve to dump some of the gray water to the black tank when it gets close to full.  Helps me manage the two tanks.

Jim
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: bevans6 on November 23, 2010, 05:19:46 AM
I use a combined grey/black tank, 100 gallons, and 100 gallons of fresh.  Although I've never filled either past half way so far.  I find the single waste tank to be working really very well for me, I can't think of any reason to have two waste tanks.  I like the idea of keeping the waste as liquid as possible, and it all really flows out very well when dumping.

What are the pro's and con's of having a single waste tank?  I didn't make the choice, my bus came to me that way and I never thought of changing it.

Brian
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: robertglines1 on November 23, 2010, 05:36:15 AM
Good responses..and I did learn something new to me . about how to plumb two tanks together and flush thru black tank. But what about Brian's set up..why not just one? would be allot easier: and maybe better use of space.
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: luvrbus on November 23, 2010, 05:43:45 AM
Bob, the 1 tank vs 2 tanks system is like ice cream flavors some like it some don't me I go for the 2 tank not saying it is better just the system I prefer 


good luck
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: robertglines1 on November 23, 2010, 05:56:14 AM
I have done both one combined and two separate. couldn't tell significant difference.  a code thing?  Maybe less chance of floaters in shower if you let it get to full..(combined tank). Don't let it get to full would be that answer..
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: cody on November 23, 2010, 06:09:13 AM
With 2 tanks you can put in a small pisser valve to bleed off excess water at times, especially if you have a washer/dryer plumbed in as well, the grey tank can fill quite fast at times.
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Van on November 23, 2010, 06:24:44 AM
I like the thing about the flavors ;D ;D Coffee on the keyboard first thing in the a.m. LOL! always a good start ;) ;D
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: eddiepotts on November 23, 2010, 06:44:53 AM
I have one tank and yes wet is best. The only thing two tanks do that I cant is gray water is allowed to be dumped on the ground. Where your black tank may last a week your grey fills fast with showers and dishes. It would really depend on how one uses their bus. I have thought about adding a separate tank for the shower.
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: luvrbus on November 23, 2010, 06:49:36 AM
If you have grandkids believe me 2 tanks is the way to go those stinkers can find away to fill the tank trust me on this one lol 



good luck
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: kyle4501 on November 23, 2010, 06:53:04 AM
With the way we use our tanks, I don't have any need to rinse out the black tank. The little bit left behind contains the bacteria needed to start digesting the next load - SO, I don't need to add any chemicals or 'air fresheners' to combat foul odors.

We also conserve water to an extreme that most don't - with a family of 4 & a 30 gallon tank for black & 30 for grey, you learn to conserve quickly! (Mom & Dad took the kids to Airstream rallies where it costs to have your tanks dumped - so the kids learned water conservation at an early age!  8) ) We can go a week easy enough on a 30 gal black. hard to get more than 4 days with the grey with 2 girls with long hair to wash every day . . .

So, it all depends on your use & style. I prefer to not drop grey water on the ground, so I plan my stops accordingly. Also, since I dump both when either one gets full . . . a single large tank would extend my dumping intervals.
(In addition, the concentrated nature of the contents of RV black tanks is difficult for most septic systems to handle, so the more dilution, the better.)

Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: cody on November 23, 2010, 06:58:16 AM
In dumping the grey tanks on the ground you have to be careful on that, some areas don't allow it while other areas welcome it.
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: kyle4501 on November 23, 2010, 07:14:58 AM
In dumping the grey tanks on the ground you have to be careful on that, some areas don't allow it while other areas welcome it.

That is so true. I have had the misfortune of camping down stream of someone dripping their grey water on the ground . . . made a soggy mess in my campsite & once it was soggy, there was no undoing the mess. It also stunk!

So, I prefer to be more considerate when camping. . . .  ;D
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: TomC on November 23, 2010, 07:56:10 AM
I have a 130gal fresh water tank mounted under my bed along with 2-10gal electric water heaters, 2-water pumps, the cold and hot valve manifold.  I use a 45gal black and 85gal gray.  The gray tank runs across the bus offset to the left with just enough room on the right side for 2-8D deep cycle batteries.  The normal dump is on the left, and since the black tank is a designed black tank-meaning that it is sloped down to the 3" opening, it empties completely.  I just back flush with the dump hose a couple of times, then dump the gray.  On the gray tank, I have the normal left side slide valve, but on the right I also have an open dump so I can empty the gray into a drain or curb side. 

On my truck I'm increasing my tanks to 210gal fresh, 110gal gray and 53gal black.  With my present setup, I can go 5-7 days.  I want to be able to go an easy 7-10 days without refilling or dumping.  I know I know some of you can go 3 weeks on that amount-I just don't choose to.  Good Luck, TomC
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: muddog16 on November 23, 2010, 08:50:00 AM
Seeing how this is about basic water/waste water systems I found this link at the other board, and I thought it was a great post. Here is the link:  http://steampunkworkshop.com/diy-rv-macerator-pump (http://steampunkworkshop.com/diy-rv-macerator-pump)
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Melbo on November 23, 2010, 05:43:58 PM
You could buy all the parts for that NEW and have less invested than any of the pumps on the market and the replacement parts more readily available.

This is what I use http://www.sewersolution.com/ (http://www.sewersolution.com/) and I have no way to use a 3 inch hose on a regular basis

It is always much easier to set up when I get there than most people who use the big hoses

Melbo
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Ed Hackenbruch on November 23, 2010, 06:11:14 PM
 Melbo, I did not see how much extra water that would use to empty a 100 gallon tank. I would guess though that it would be frowned upon if you were using that in an area that has water use restrictions. I think that i will stay with my 3" hose, it is simple, quick, and i have never had a problem with it.
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Melbo on November 23, 2010, 06:15:37 PM
I doesn't use any water except if things don't move as well as you might like.  Rare is the time that the water needs to remain on --- just used to clear things up as necessary.

Just my experience.

Melbo
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Ed Hackenbruch on November 24, 2010, 04:14:48 AM
I thought that from looking at it that it took water to operate it?
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: wal1809 on November 24, 2010, 05:14:00 AM
I bought my bus 13 months ago and it was set up with a 75 gallon black/gray single tank.  With 2 showers, dishes and the toilet I could make 2 days without dumping and that was it.  I was headed to a training school for 2 weeks and we were to stay nat the lake as I would just commute to the training.  Well I had to do soemthing fast as I did not want to go dump every other day.  that would have been a pain.  I have been intending to put in two tanks, a black and a gray made out of diamond tread aluminum.  Well that is expensive and I didn't have the time or the money right then and there.  So I got to thinking what can I use.  Well I poor boy'ed it and for 10 bucks for a 55 gallon plastic drum and some pvc fittings I went to work.  In the barn I had 2 turn buckles, some coated cable and some eyolts from a christmas tree stand.

I mounted the tank on its side and used the eyebolts, coated cable and the turn buckles to strap that tank down.  I tighted it enough to flatten the side of the barrel that touches the floor.  I then drilled holes on the top side to meet the pvc from the shower, kitchen sink and the bathroom sink.  I used a 3/4 nipple screwed into the bung port and a ball valve to the nipple.  To that valve I screwed a gargen hose for draining.  Done.  It took only a couple hours and about $20 and scrap from the barn.  It works like a champ.  While at the park I just left the gray open and the hose out to the grass.  It has been so dry here we are under a no burn ban.  There wasn't even a puddle where it drained.  It was more like a 2 foot square damp spot.  The black lasted until Friday ( I haven't measured but I don't think the seller of my bus was honest about it being 75 gallon).  On Friday I was headed to an opener deer season get together and my wife headed home.  I went to the dump station on the way to the ranch and made short order of that.  Before I left the ranch I dumped before I left and went back for the 2cnd week of training.  Worked out perfect.  Instead of spending any money at all for the diamond plate aluminum tanks I am going to wait.  I do want to get a better black tank though.  This one is on it's last leg and is just not what I want.  I want a 55 gallon with a wash installed.  I want to be able to turn the valve on and stand back as it flushes itself.  In time I guess but I like my little drum idea.  It worked like a champ!
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: mlh1936 on November 24, 2010, 05:37:26 AM
What's the best retrofit for quantity indications? I thought I'd be smart and left a sight gap in the tank container boxes. I bought heavy duty tanks and can't see through the tank walls as planned. So now I need to go back and try to install some sort of quantity system for my combination and fresh water tanks. They are both 100 gallons. I don't have much room on top to go in with a probe. Anybody have the foil "stick-on" type? Any other suggestions? Thanks.
Mal
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: wal1809 on November 24, 2010, 05:52:00 AM
Is there a way you can screw a close nipple into any of the lower plumbing?  I'll post a pick of the idea I have if I have one on photobucket.  Be back in a minute.
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: wal1809 on November 24, 2010, 05:59:00 AM
Alright well I don't have a pic.  So here goes.  On my bio diesel processors I use steel drums so there is no way to know the amount of liquid inside.  To get around that I attach whatever size plumbing at the bottom of the processor to a designated clear vynal tubing.  That tubing goes straight up to the top of the barrel to another nipple and vents to the top of the barrel.  So by opening a ball valve the fluid will go up the tube to the level of the fluid inside the tank. 

So if you have a way of adding some plumbing you could get this done in a matter of minutes.  Just remember what goes up that tube aint going back in until you drain the whole tank.  You dang sure aint going to blow it back in  ;D    To avoid possible spillage you just leave the valve closed and open it only when your checking the levels.  In my case on the bio diesel processor it could start a fire if I left the valve open and the vinyl tube failed so I keep it closed and use it only when I am filling the processor. 
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: kyle4501 on November 24, 2010, 06:25:25 AM
You could also measure the pressure required to blow air bubbles into the bottom of the tank (a small 1/4" NPT tapped hole in the top of the drain line before the dump valve).  The pressure would directly correlate to the level of liquid in the tank. You can use a simple manometer to directly read the level of the tank with clean water in a clear tube so you don't have to see the contents.

Or, you could get fancy with a low pressure transducer & display to indicate tank capacity at a remote location whenever the air bubbler is on.  ;D
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: robertglines1 on November 24, 2010, 06:50:39 AM
I like the way this thread is going.. has confirmed that the end choices are individual ones and I have learned some new idea's..Bob
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Ed Hackenbruch on November 24, 2010, 07:01:20 AM
We have a 100 gal. fresh and a 100 gal. black tank. Both are stainless, no sensors or gauges. The toilet dumps straight down so if i want to i can check by looking there. We can go a week between dumping if we are a little careful. If we are hooked up to utilities as we are now, i just dump every 3-4 days. Takes all of 5 minutes total from opening the bay door to access the T handle to closing the door again. During that time i am filling the water tank and doing whatever else catches my eye.  Very simple system, has always worked,... it ain't rocket science, guys. You don't need all kinds of gadgets to make it work. Of course if you want to spend a bunch of money and time putting all together, and make it real complicated, have at it. :)
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: wal1809 on November 24, 2010, 07:24:14 AM
I am with you on this Ed, simpler the better.
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: bevans6 on November 24, 2010, 07:27:39 AM
I have to say I am extremely taken with that kitchen dispose-all macerator pump idea.  That will solve a lot of problems for me, including me being too  cheap to buy a proper "RV" one!

Brian
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Ed Hackenbruch on November 24, 2010, 07:46:01 AM
I realize that some people have different needs, but i would bet that most of us don't need to pump over an 8 ft. wall or 100 yards away, so a simple system works well......of course that doesn't give you something else to show and talk about to another busnut does it? ;D
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: luvrbus on November 24, 2010, 08:00:52 AM
I had a macerator pump for years never used the thing but one time takes too long to empty a tank and to much cleanup I gave it to another bus nut he used it 1 time and has since passed it to another bus nut wait it may come your way lol a 3 inch hose and be done with it 



good luck
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: bevans6 on November 24, 2010, 08:18:44 AM
I think a macerator pump is a solution to a unique problem.  Like 50 feet, and slightly up hill from my driveway to my septic tank...  Ain't no 3" hose in the world going to make that work!

I like the ability to dump my tank at home, easily.  There are no public dumping stations anywhere close to me, like within 20 miles or  more, and the 10 gallon wheelie tank I tried once is only going to get that one try, that sucked big time.  Five trips, rolling it 100 yards from where the bus was parked, and it's heavy when it's full!

Brian
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: luvrbus on November 24, 2010, 08:35:30 AM
Don't buy into the hype that the pump will pump 12 gpm or the 20 ft head


good luck
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Van on November 24, 2010, 08:36:57 AM
Here's our basic system, sure beats nothing and as money permits it will grow. have to admit a macerator would be nice, but till we get in a regular (coach lav still in place)toilet this will have to suffice
(http://i457.photobucket.com/albums/qq292/cwvanhagen/utilitybaydriversside002.jpg).
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: happycamperbrat on November 24, 2010, 10:42:58 AM
This is my favorite way to dump  ;D ;D ;D

Funny clips from RV (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lJlEzPzhKc&feature=related#)

well, at least to watch!!!
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Bill B /bus on November 24, 2010, 01:25:31 PM
Two buses two systems.
 The GM 4108, I installed three tanks. 125 gal fresh. 85 gal  gray and 35gal black. On dumping drain the black, then open a flush valve to drain the gray tank. when the gray quits flowing shut the flush valve, shut the black drain valve. Then open the gray drain to finish the drain of the gray. Worked well for a clean drain hose.
Second bus an MCI 102A3 I went with two tanks of 125gals each. Works well. We were on a macerator for about six months without a problem. Pumped out every 5-7 days. This included the washing machine at 2-3 loads per week.
So either one works well. Your choice.

Bill
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: skip102dl on November 26, 2010, 10:48:08 AM
Our '94 102dl had a single 150 gal. combined tank. We sometimes camp where we could bleed off gray or pump gray 150ft. to a sewer drop. Removed unused built in vac system & installed a 37 gal. gray tank with an internal sump pump that can either pump to combined tank to rinse or out to sewer drop. Has worked great for 7 yrs. Skip
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: dougyes on November 26, 2010, 02:43:06 PM
In one bus were bay space was at a premium, we put a low 35 gal black tank on top of the bathroom floor- not in the bay, and mounted the toilet on top of the tank. Only the 3" drain line went into the bay for emptying it out. It worked well.
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: PP on November 26, 2010, 04:15:45 PM
Like opinions, every bus seems to be set up different for fresh water and waste handling. We have four tanks in the rearmost bay just before the fuel tank. The two lower fresh water tanks are 45Gal each and set side by side and plumbed together but can be filled separately and drained separately (consumed). On top of the fresh tanks and separated by a wood shelf is the gray on the left (55gal) and the black on the right (45gal). Each waste tank has its own drain valve that is then plumbed together into a single pipe which also has a valve to prevent drippage when traveling, since everything is contained up inside the bay when you're on the road. The nice thing about this is that we can leave the gray valve open when parked for a long time, which happens with us a lot, and pull the black valve once or twice a week as needed. After dumping the black, we run enough water through the kitchen sink to flush out the drain hose and all is good. This system works great for us and if I were to do a system from scratch, I would definitely duplicate it. I'll be glad to post pictures if anyone is interested, Will
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Lin on November 26, 2010, 07:46:32 PM
Simple is best, of course.  We have 100 gal fresh and 100gal gray/black.  There is a gray water bypass in the system so we can let it water the ground it needed or go to the drain by hose.  Generally, if we are hooked up, I prefer the let the gray go into the tank.  Every two days or so, I dump it and don't worry about what's left in the tank.  We do have a monitor system that, although not precise, gives a good idea of what's going on.  We also have a macerator for backup.  I find it to be useful if needed but certainly not preferable.  We lived in an earlier bus that required we use the macerator for the black since the drain was over 50 feet away.  We let the gray drain through the same hose by the bypass.  This stretched our dump intervals quite a bit, but dumping was a project.  You do have you have to.  I have not had a problem due to the lack of a separate gray tank, but if I were building from scratch, I would consider doing it that way, but don't know for sure which way I would go.
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: babell2 on December 19, 2010, 02:15:20 PM
Arguments for not having a combined Grey/Black tank stand at if you ever come close to filling the tank.  With a separate Grey tank if the tank gets full and backs up in the shower you get stinky soapy water.  If it is a combined tank you get a little more than that. The latter you have a disinfecting job ahead of you. A little more intense than a rinse down.
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Sean on December 19, 2010, 03:38:09 PM
It occurs to me I should mention here that I will be covering all these systems in my seminar in Arcadia this year.  The topic is "plumbing" but we will cover DWV systems in addition to fresh water, tankage, pumps, valves, dump options, and all manner of related items.

Hope to see you there.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com (http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com)
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Chopper Scott on December 19, 2010, 03:50:25 PM
I bought one of those little portable dump wagons after having my gray water tank get full after a long weekend with the grandkids! I used a cooler to drain it down that time and will never do that again. If you think gray water won't about gag ya guess again!!! Luckily I have the room for carrying the portable dump wagon but they take up a lot of storage room for something you may never need. I think I still like the idea of 2 seperate waste tanks but having the option of dumping some gray water into the black tanks seems like a pretty good idea.
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Lin on December 19, 2010, 04:34:01 PM
Hey Van,

I saw your picture.  Is the 5 gallon bucket the system you were referring to?
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Van on December 19, 2010, 05:21:39 PM
UH, HUH ::) ;D
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Oonrahnjay on December 20, 2010, 08:15:00 PM
I was told that the combined capacity of the waste tanks (or the capacity if there is one) must be 115% of the fresh, according to the code.  Is this correct?  Thx,   BH
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: kyle4501 on December 21, 2010, 06:37:11 AM
Even if not "code", that 115% bigger waste than fresh sounds like a very sensable idea. Would help to minimize chances of a mess inside. . . .  :o
Wouldn't need a level sensor on the waste tank either.  8)
Title: Re: Basic water/waste water systems
Post by: Sean on December 21, 2010, 09:26:24 AM
I was told that the combined capacity of the waste tanks (or the capacity if there is one) must be 115% of the fresh, according to the code.

Code requirements are a matter of state and not federal law, so there is no one single answer here, however, I have never heard of any such requirement.  That's not to say that some jurisdiction has not decided to do so.  That said, most states have adopted NFPA 1192 as the governing code for RV plumbing systems, and I just combed through my 2002 copy which does not include any such provision.  Just to double-check, I looked in the on-line read-only version of the current (2008) code and it's not in there, either.  FYI, section 7.5 deals with waste tanks.

I strongly recommend anyone doing a conversion buy the current code, available for $37 from the NFPA.  Not only does it cover waste systems including venting and discharge requirements, but also fresh water, LPG, generators, "toy compartments," emergency exits, and other life safety issues.  Well worth the money.  The code is also available "read only" for free, but you can't print it, copy/paste, or even take a screen shot, as the tool they use to present it locks all that out.  You will also have to register on their site with a valid email, which puts you on their marketing email list.

The code can be found here:
http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/AboutTheCodes.asp?DocNum=1192 (http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/AboutTheCodes.asp?DocNum=1192)

So I would say, no, you are not required to have 115% of fresh capacity for waste unless the person who told you so is a code official in your jurisdiction.

HTH,

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com (http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com)