Recreational Vehicles (RVs) generally have two or more waste water storage tanks into which the toilet (black water) and sink/basin/shower gray water) empty. When full, these holding tanks must be drained at holding tank dump stations.
An industry has developed around chemicals used for cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing waste holding tanks after they are drained. The need for cleaning these tanks is debatable, as they are designed to hold sewage, and sanitizing them while they are in frequent use is akin to sanitizing a septic tank or sewer pipe. However, RVs may be stored for extended periods of time (e.g. over winter), and in these cases cleaning of the wastewater system may be prudent. Some RVs have a black water flushing system where the use of cleaning chemicals is greatly debated.
It is worth noting that the some of the chemicals used in pipe and tank cleaning are quite noxious, and harmful to the environment if they are not disposed of properly. Holding tanks should always be emptied into the proper waste water receptacles, so the waste may be treated.
Many RV dump stations have banned the use of tank treatments containing formaldehyde, due to the damage it causes to common waste treatment systems. See Now, that most of us know about the toxic effects of Formaldehyde, Para-formaldehyde, Quaternary Ammonium Chlorides and Bronopol based holding tank products, how do we change over?
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