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Old 05-20-2015, 06:47 AM   #1
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Terrible Odor

Last fall after being on a full hookup site for months I went to a car race where there were no hookups so my gray tanks were closed in addition to the black tank. After a couple of days the "stuff" in the kitchen gray tank started to get wet and stink. The smell was amazing and after a dump by the honey wagon and a gallon of bleach added to the tank all was well. Now to last week:

I was on my home base site and mid-afternoon a horrible odor was noted. I thought it was the kitchen gray tank again even though I have been putting a little glug of bleach in it after each dump since last fall. That didn't stop the smell. I filled and the tank completely and dumped 3-4 times. I bought some specific gray tank chemical and instead the recommended 4 ounces per treatment I put all 32 ounces (the smell was that bad). The smell started setting off my CO/LP detector which I had to remove since it was hard wired. I slept at night with the windows open and both exhaust fans running. Fortunately the smell was mainly in the rear living area and not in the bedroom.

The odor got a little better this past Friday after a 250 mile tow to my summer host crampground, but was still present. Then this past Sunday it was gone. That was when it finally occurred to me what it had to be. I think a critter of some kind crawled up in my enclosed belly and died and the decomposition time was about a week. My home base site has numerous chipmunks around so I'm thinking it might have been one of them. The methane created by decomposition would set off the CO/LP detector so when the odor stopped I reinstalled the CO/LP detector and no issues with it (it is not even 2 years old at this point).

The trials of full time RV'ing.


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2010 Jayco Designer 35RLTS, Cummins/Onan RV QG 5500 EVAP, Progressive Industries EMS-PT50C, TST Systems 507 TPMS, RV Flex Armor Roof
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:56 AM   #2
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Dead critter smell is unlike anything else. Certainty can't compare to dirty sink water. Glad you figured it out..

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Old 05-20-2015, 08:04 AM   #3
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Definitely sounds unpleasent.
Did you find it or where it may have been able to get into the underbelly so you may be able to prevent it again?
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:07 AM   #4
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You only have to smell that once and know what it is. Had that happen in a car once where the mother died and left the babies. Terrible smell that no cleaning or car care place wanted to touch. Glad you got through that.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:15 AM   #5
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My black tank acted the same way (odor like methane) once while wintering on hookups. I drained it at 2/3 level always, and used a good chemical. Lasted a couple of days. Gave it a good flushing, put in water and chemical, and it was gone. For a couple of days one needed a gas mask in bathroom.
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:04 AM   #6
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Oh my!

That is a horrible smell. That is why you never want to use D-CON to get rid of rodents. You never know where they will crawl off and die. (Stupid warehouse manager).

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Old 05-20-2015, 10:45 AM   #7
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I have noted that some rodent killers advertise that their product contains a chemical that promotes quick drying out of a dead object?
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:48 AM   #8
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Quick thought. Do some tank products not mix well with others? Would such a reaction cause such a methane type odor?
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:25 PM   #9
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There should be a check valve beneath your sink that is in the vent system for your gray tank. It could be sticking open from time to time. That would allow odors from the tank to vent into the trailer. The P-Trap beneath your sink should also stop odors from entering the camper. If it is dry, they could be getting past there, too.

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Old 05-20-2015, 01:09 PM   #10
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bleach will kill bio-agents in the tank, I'd use those tablets for RV tanks

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