- Do Enzyme or Bacterial tank treatments create sludge?
in 1957, the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare stated, “There are no known chemicals, yeasts, bacteria, enzymes or other substances capable of eliminating or reducing the solids and scum in a septic tank.” The EPA says that some of these products “accelerate system failure” because the don’t remove the sludge, they just move it further down the system.
Using an enzyme-based treatment in your tank doesn’t just mess up your tank, it messes up municipal wastewater treatment systems. Black and gray water dumped at a campsite goes straight to the nearest treatment plant. Our product uses a living consortium of ten or more microbes that are grown together to actually digest and liquify solids and sludge, converting them into water and carbon dioxide.
- Can sludge buildup damage your holding tank?
Yes. If enough sludge builds up, it can start getting sucked into pipes, slowing and eventually stopping flow. Even worse, sludge is much heavier than water, so if enough accumulates it can distort and crack plastic tanks, disconnect pipes, or even make the tank fall off of the vehicle if the weight limits for the supports are exceeded. This is most likely to happen during travel when you go over big bumps.
There are three ways to treat your tank: Chemicals that burn, enzymes/bacteria that digest, and probiotics that consume. Chemicals rarely burn out everything, and what is left forms sludge. Crystallization from chemical treatment residue encourages the formation of mineral deposits. Enzymes break solids down into a sludge, but that’s all. Probiotics are living organisms that actually consume the solid products, breaking them down into water and carbon dioxide.
- What is struvite?
Struvite is a mineral deposit formed when a 1:1:1 ratio of magnesium, ammonia and phosphate is formed in wastewater. It is made of hard crystalline flakes and creates cement-like deposits inside pipes and tanks.
- Why is struvite such a serious problem?
Struvite is an issue because of how fast it grows. It doesn’t take much to clog a sensor, but worse follows. Struvite can grow to as much as three inches thick in a typical holding tank, making it so heavy that it distorts the tank or breaks its fasteners. Large chunks can break off and clog the drainpipe or pass into the campground septic system and clog that up.
Up until now, the only solution to struvite was to take things apart and physically remove it. Our product can remove struvite completely but must be able to reach all areas effected or it won’t work. If the struvite is so thick that it prevents circulation, at least some of it will have to be removed before our product can get down to business.
- Does leaving my black/gray tank valves open in storage help drain them out and dry them?
It depends upon your tank design, but in most cases no, it won’t help drain them out and dry them. You’ve gotten all the draining that you’re going to get once the flow is down to slow drips. Parts of your tank interior will remain wet and damp for a very long time, allowing all sorts of bacteria and mold to take hold inside if the valve is open. Worse, you are creating a wonderful, sheltered space for every creepy-crawly known to mankind, including snails, spiders, insects large and small, and any variety of amphibian, reptile or mammal that is the right size to get through the opening.
The best thing to do when putting your RV into storage is to dose a couple of ounces of product into your tank and fill it a third or a quarter of the way with water. This will help to clean your tank and stop uninvited guests from taking up residence. Oh, and keep the valve closed!
- Can this product clear a plugged toilet?
Yes and no. The product has to be in contact with the material that needs to be consumed. If the plug is thin, yes, our product should eat through it overnight. If the toilet is clogged with hardened toilet paper that goes twelve inches up the pipe, no, it won’t clear it, not in any reasonable amount of time. Some sort of mechanical action is going to be necessary.
On the other hand, regular use of our product will practically guarantee that your toilet will never clog up in the first place. Plus, it will kill all the odors. Plan ahead!
- What is safe to flush down my toilet?
Don’t feed your toilet anything that you wouldn’t feed your dog. The two Grand Exceptions: mild cleaning products and toilet paper (we’re taking poop and pee for granted, here). Other than that, if Rover eats it, you can flush it. If it makes Rover sick, it won’t be good for your probiotics. No non-biological objects besides TP should go in there, ever.
- What happens if my product gets frozen?
If it is frozen solid, it probably won’t work. You could try it out and see, but why bother? Get another bottle and don’t let it freeze. Live probiotics survive cold weather better than humans, but not that much better.
- What could make my product stop working?
Firstly, you can kill it with chemicals. Chemical tank treatments will do that instantly. Harsh cleaning products like toilet bowl cleaners and bleach can hurt your friendly microbe biome. The simple solution here is to do any heavy-duty cleaning right before flushing out your tank. You can then refill the tank with a little water in the bottom and re-dose with a few ounces of product.
Secondly, the microbes can clean themselves out of food. If left in the tank without more bio waste being added, the consortium of probiotics will eat up all of the available food and will die off from starvation. This is easy to fix—use the toilet. If you won’t be using it for weeks or months, partially drain the tank, leaving in a few gallons of water for storage. This will help clean the tank and prevent mold or mildew growth.
- What is the proper amount of water to leave in the holding tank?
Don’t stress out about this. Saving back a gallon, more or less, of water when you dump will keep your consortium of probiotics alive and growing in your tank. On the other hand, if you dump it all the way out, all you need to do is pour in about a gallon of water and dose it with two ounces of product. The exact amount is unimportant unless you have a really tiny tank. Consult your manual for your tank capacity and try to leave less than a quarter of that inside, but it doesn’t have to be exact. You can always add more product.
- How do I clean my sensors with this product?
First, add water until it would cover the sensors inside the tank—you’ll have to crack out your trusty manual for this one, although 2/3 to 3/4 should cover the sensors in almost all tanks. Add a few extra ounces of product and leave it overnight, or for a few days if you can. Then use it normally.
- Can this product fix misreading tank sensors?
Absolutely. Many people think that paper fouling is what makes black tank sensors misread, but most of the buildup is something called Struvite that grows in septic systems and tanks. Once the sensors have been covered no chemical tank cleaner or enzyme treatment is going to clean them off. Our product can do it. Tanks should be dosed with four ounces of product and filled to the top with water. If they are left for a few days, the struvite will be consumed by the probiotics and the sensors should start working again. Regular use of our product will stop it from happening in the first place.
Gray tanks, on the other hand, can get struvite but are more likely to be clogged with Fats, Oil and Grease, or FOG, as it is known. Hand soap in bars can help contribute to this, stick with liquid soaps, and cooking oil should never go down the drain. Treating the gray tank as described above will have the same effect as in black tanks, and our product makes an effective preventative for gray tanks as well.
- Should I leave my gray tank valves open?
Unlike black tanks, this can be done, at least when parked. In fact, some RV washing machines require it. Gray tanks accumulate grease on the sides, and if they are left exposed to air, they are going to stink. The tank should be treated first by adding extra product before filling it to the top and leaving it for a few days. It can then be drained and used normally, and even if the valve is left open, there should be no odor problems. Regular use of the product will take care of all grease and odor problems.
- How long does it take to clean out a holding tank?
Depends. How big is the tank? How badly was it fouled? Are you still using it? Is the weather hot, mild or cold? All of these variables change the time needed. The correct answer is, “Until the probiotics have consumed all of the biomass available”. Within a few weeks at most your tank should be clear of solids and accumulations and will no longer have odor problems.
- Will heat make this product stop working?
No. This product can survive higher temperatures than your holding tank will ever achieve, even in Death Valley in the summertime. In fact, higher temperatures will stimulate the probiotics and make them work faster. As long as you don’t put it in a pot and boil it, you should be okay.
- Do I need to clean my tank regularly if I am using this product?
No, especially if you stated using it when it was brand new. Older equipment will benefit from a good cleaning when first aquired, but regular use of our product should make yearly or bi-annual cleaning unnecessary.
- How do I store the product?
Somewhere safe from freezing, with the cap on. Evaporation is much more likely to make the product ineffective than temperature. The product will be ruined if it gets hotter than 160 degrees, so don’t cook it in a microwave or boil it. Freezing will only completely kill the probiotics if ice crystallization occurs, which pierces cell walls and makes recovery impossible. It can get quite cold and still be used as long as it hasn’t turned into a solid block.
- How long does the product last before it expires?
One year would be optimal for opened containers, up to two years if unopened. Containers of product much older than that have been reported to still be effective, but you would have to try it out to know for sure. The best test is the smell test—if it smells rotten, it is bad. Product that still is “live” has a healthy smell of fermented molasses.
- Should I get my tank cleaned at a service center before using this product?
It depends on what was being used before. Any product that contains bronopol or formaldehyde will leave residue in the sludge that will kill probiotics, and a professional cleaning will be necessary. If chemical cleaners were being used, flushing the tank with water for five minutes or so would be a good idea. Enzyme and bacterial products don’t require any precautions.
- What cleaning products should I use for my toilet if I am using this product?
Technically, most cleaning products are bad for probiotics. On a countertop, small amounts of bleach or disinfectant are sufficient to drastically reduce population counts for bacteria. However, a tank that is dosed with our product has billions and billions more microbes that a countertop. The cleaning product might be lethal when it is sprayed, but by the time it gets down into the tank it is too diluted to have much effect on such a huge mass of probiotics. Some die, but many more keep being made.
The short answer is that it doesn’t matter what kind of cleaning products you use as long as you aren’t pouring entire gallons down the toilet. That would be bad, but the worst thing that could happen is that you’ll need to add some more of our product next time you drain your tank.
- How do I winterize for storage using this product?
The best thing that you can do is leave a few gallons in the tank. That’s it. If you want to clean your sensors, add water until it would cover them inside the tank—you’ll have to crack out your trusty manual for this one, although 2/3 to 3/4 should cover the sensors in almost all tanks. Add a few extra ounces of product and leave it until spring. The probiotics will gradually eat up all the bio-mass in the tank and pass away naturally, leaving slightly discolored, odorless water that will rinse out easily before you start using it again.