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Strong urine smell in bathroom

pbitschura
Explorer
Explorer
Our new to us trailer on it's first voyage has a strong urine smell beginning in the bathroom and after pumping permeates the whole trailer. It's a dometic toilet. It appears to be tight and no seal leaks, I could find. I suspect it's a venting issue. Granted, it was 90 and we stayed hydrated so there is that. But black tank level was 1/3 full. We have not used any tank chemicals other than Galgon to this point.
help please.
2020 Braxton Creek 24fb travel trailer
45 REPLIES 45

Vintage465
Explorer III
Explorer III
TCBear wrote:
Vintage465: "With the Dometic plastic toilet I've found that if there is more than and inch or sow of liquid in the bowl, it will seep into the area between the outside of the toilet and the bowl and just sit there and ferment." It's amazing that a toilet could even be engineered with that seeming design flaw, a real oversight. If you could seep antibacterial cleaner (no bleach) past that seal, that could counteract odors emanating from that hidden area until you replaced the seal.

As an aerospace safety/environmental manager, I can relay a phrase from my industry: "Dilution is the solution to pollution." True for liquids, solids, gases. So yes, more water, along with blackwater chemicals, can help, although it can be tough to conquer odors when it's truly hot outside. And an effective toilet "flush" can be just a film of water rather than a bowl surge. After use I briefly spray the entire toilet bowl with a generic household cleaner, which effectively rinses (and also detergent-soaks) the entirely of the toilet interior. Therefore no surface odors. I also do a "hillbilly tank flush" when draining. Drain blackwater, close valve, dump two buckets (7 gal) freshwater down toilet, drain again. You can see the effect by watching the clear elbow in the drain hose.


But the problem is the seepage from the bowl that gets into the space between the outer and inner bowl. No dilution is going to happen there. It's gonna seep in there to some degree no matter what due to the flawed design. And the only way to for it to be discharged is to remove the toilet, carry it outside(vertically) and dump it....my conclusion is this: The toilet is a piece of junk and needs to be replaced........so I did.
V-465
2013 GMC 2500HD Duramax Denali. 2015 CreekSide 20fq w/450 watts solar and 465 amp/hour of batteries. Retired and living the dream!

pbitschura
Explorer
Explorer
TCBear wrote:
"...5 pages of trying to help."

Bingo.

Off on a tangent, the issue of determining if a wastewater vent is...well, venting. If there's a removable rooftop rain cap over a vent, then you could likely drop down a piece of sprinkler pipe or other pokin' stick to check for an obstruction. But if the cap is permanently fixed, perhaps you could tie a large nut (as in nut and bolt) or similar to a heavy string and feed it down the vent pipe, see what that reveals. Or run an electrical extension cord past the cap, something substantial yet flexible. I wonder if anyone has ever ran water from a garden hose down a roof vent or if that's even a good idea since it's an air vent rather than a water pipe.I was ignored by the dealer, bot the good folks here/

As for the 300 model toilet, based on prior posts...

-Research the 300 further online.
-Replace the seals (may not permanently resolve).
-Replace toilet.
-Keep toilet in place but attempt to seep full-strength, non-bleach antibacterial cleaner past the seals to kill off odor in the accumulated liquid goo (kill the bacteria = kill the odor).
-Dump several pails (at least 5 gal) of water down the toilet at the start of each trip to dilute subsequent blackwater contents, but not so much as to impact tank capacity.
-Spritz the entire toilet bowl with any household spray cleaner after each use, or a few times each day, a supplemental detergent "flush."
-Spray an antibacterial cleaner along the bottom of fixtures near the toilet (walls, bathtub, cabinets) so that it seeps under the fixtures and contacts anything yellow that could have gotten down there. (If you KNEW that was a problem, an enzyme pet urine spray may be a better choice.)
-Try a different blackwater chemical treatment if necessary.
2020 Braxton Creek 24fb travel trailer

TCBear
Explorer
Explorer
"...5 pages of trying to help."

Bingo.

Off on a tangent, the issue of determining if a wastewater vent is...well, venting. If there's a removable rooftop rain cap over a vent, then you could likely drop down a piece of sprinkler pipe or other pokin' stick to check for an obstruction. But if the cap is permanently fixed, perhaps you could tie a large nut (as in nut and bolt) or similar to a heavy string and feed it down the vent pipe, see what that reveals. Or run an electrical extension cord past the cap, something substantial yet flexible. I wonder if anyone has ever ran water from a garden hose down a roof vent or if that's even a good idea since it's an air vent rather than a water pipe.

As for the 300 model toilet, based on prior posts...

-Research the 300 further online.
-Replace the seals (may not permanently resolve).
-Replace toilet.
-Keep toilet in place but attempt to seep full-strength, non-bleach antibacterial cleaner past the seals to kill off odor in the accumulated liquid goo (kill the bacteria = kill the odor).
-Dump several pails (at least 5 gal) of water down the toilet at the start of each trip to dilute subsequent blackwater contents, but not so much as to impact tank capacity.
-Spritz the entire toilet bowl with any household spray cleaner after each use, or a few times each day, a supplemental detergent "flush."
-Spray an antibacterial cleaner along the bottom of fixtures near the toilet (walls, bathtub, cabinets) so that it seeps under the fixtures and contacts anything yellow that could have gotten down there. (If you KNEW that was a problem, an enzyme pet urine spray may be a better choice.)
-Try a different blackwater chemical treatment if necessary.

shelbyfv
Explorer
Explorer
pbitschura wrote:
This is my follow up to an issue some chose to ignore,
[COLOR=]What the heck? Nobody here ignored you, 5 pages of trying to help. Did you read the linked thread? The replacement Dometic 310 is only $299, just get r done.

pbitschura
Explorer
Explorer
This is my follow up to an issue some chose to ignore,
2020 Braxton Creek 24fb travel trailer

pbitschura
Explorer
Explorer
pbitschura wrote:
Our new to us trailer on it's first voyage has a strong urine smell beginning in the bathroom and after pumping permeates the whole trailer. It's a dometic toilet. It appears to be tight and no seal leaks, I could find. I suspect it's a venting issue. Granted, it was 90 and we stayed hydrated so there is that. But black tank level was 1/3 full. We have not used any tank chemicals other than Galgon to this point. Follow up....Prior to winterizing, I opened the Dometic 300 toilet and again saw yellow water sitting above the seal. RV dealer did a bunch of unrelated bs, tried to charge me over 400 to flush my ewer system, then returned it to me. That was last spring. They ignored and deflected my suspicion of a faulty toilet. They will take no responsibility or offer a solution. I guess I will have to do it myself. Color me disgusted.

help please.
2020 Braxton Creek 24fb travel trailer

TCBear
Explorer
Explorer
Word thingies from the InterTubes...

"Calcium nitrate is used in wastewater management to remove unwanted odors during treatment. This compound restricts the metabolism of components that are known to create odors, like hydrogen sulfide, by creating an anoxic (no oxygen) biology. Beer is good, beer is your friend. Adding calcium nitrate causes sulfide to biologically dissolve in septic wastewater. Additionally, calcium nitrate restricts odor-producing compounds from being produced in anaerobic conditions by facilitating oxidation reduction. Calcium nitrate can either be used to prevent the formation of hydrogen sulfide odor or used to eliminate odors in applications where hydrogen sulfide is already present."

TCBear
Explorer
Explorer
It's been a long time since I've read my RV owner's manual and I don't have it handy, but I believe that indeed that's a general rule for RVs -- no bleaches down sinks or toilets. Chlorine compounds in bleach can be detrimental to elastomers (rubbers) such as seals. I forget if they're harmful to plastics as well.

I've always suspected folks are often confused about needing enzymes in tanks (enzymes are catalysts to speed up biological action and break down waste). Some blackwater treatments do go that route by introducing enzymes, and certainly may be effective. And they're often used in municipal sewage treatment.

But the opposite approach to NUKE the tank with antibacterials -- to kill off most bacterial activity -- works as well since if you kill the bacteria, you kill the odor. (Same for your breath, feet, underarms, sink drain, refrigerated foods, etc.) Easily the most common active ingredient in blackwater treatments until recently was Bronopol, a formaldehyde precursor. So the approach was to KILL bacterial activity in the tank, rather than promote it through enzymes. So it appears that two opposite approaches (promote or inhibit bacterial activity) can and do work. As for a need to break down solids via enzymes, a small amount of common detergent (sodium laurel sulfate) does that just fine. Some states have banned Bronopol since it can interfere with their sewage treatment process should they use enzymes, so you'veseen blackwater treatments change their chemical formulations in recent years to friendlier options like calcium nitrate (???) or adding a thin layer of orange oil to the wastewater surface that traps odors beneath it. A lot of details from memory there, so hopefully I didn't get something wrong.

Huntindog
Explorer
Explorer
Some have mentioned trying to sanatize, or clean the tank with bleach. This is bad for two reasons. Bleach is bad on the seals. And it is bad for septic systems. They NEED bacteria to function properly. Many dump stations are on Septics.
Besides....It is a black tank. Trying to sanatize it is pointless.
Huntindog
100% boondocking
2021 Grand Design Momentum 398M
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104 gal grey, 104 black,158 fresh
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17.5LRH commercial tires
1860watts solar,800 AH Battleborn batterys
2020 Silverado HighCountry CC DA 4X4 DRW

TCBear
Explorer
Explorer
Vintage465: "With the Dometic plastic toilet I've found that if there is more than and inch or sow of liquid in the bowl, it will seep into the area between the outside of the toilet and the bowl and just sit there and ferment." It's amazing that a toilet could even be engineered with that seeming design flaw, a real oversight. If you could seep antibacterial cleaner (no bleach) past that seal, that could counteract odors emanating from that hidden area until you replaced the seal.

As an aerospace safety/environmental manager, I can relay a phrase from my industry: "Dilution is the solution to pollution." True for liquids, solids, gases. So yes, more water, along with blackwater chemicals, can help, although it can be tough to conquer odors when it's truly hot outside. And an effective toilet "flush" can be just a film of water rather than a bowl surge. After use I briefly spray the entire toilet bowl with a generic household cleaner, which effectively rinses (and also detergent-soaks) the entirely of the toilet interior. Therefore no surface odors. I also do a "hillbilly tank flush" when draining. Drain blackwater, close valve, dump two buckets (7 gal) freshwater down toilet, drain again. You can see the effect by watching the clear elbow in the drain hose.

Vintage465
Explorer III
Explorer III
pbitschura wrote:
Our new to us trailer on it's first voyage has a strong urine smell beginning in the bathroom and after pumping permeates the whole trailer. It's a dometic toilet. It appears to be tight and no seal leaks, I could find. I suspect it's a venting issue. Granted, it was 90 and we stayed hydrated so there is that. But black tank level was 1/3 full. We have not used any tank chemicals other than Galgon to this point.
help please.


So, had the same problem and after much washing, sanitizing, dumping, cleaning I found the problem...well, at least, our problem. 1st question, is your Dometic Toilet all plastic. 2nd questions, do you flush the toilet after every use-ish. Asking, because, we have a plastic Dometic and while we were boon docking we got into the habit of not flushing the toilet after urinating a few times in a row. With the Dometic plastic toilet I've found that if there is more than and inch or sow of liquid in the bowl, it will seep into the area between the outside of the toilet and the bowl and just sit there and ferment. I found this out when the smell just recently got so bad I removed the toilet and took it outside and when I tipped it back to check the bolt down flange seal all this nasty yuk came pouring out............thank goodness I did this outside! I took the toilet all a part to investigate the cause and the seal that the flush gate seal to is only for that and not to prevent liquid from getting into no-mans'-land between the bowl and the outside. Yes, I'm going back to the Thetford Aqua-Magic Toilet with a China Bowl. Never had this issue til we replaced the Aqua-Magic......cause I broke the bowl on the Aqua-Magic.
V-465
2013 GMC 2500HD Duramax Denali. 2015 CreekSide 20fq w/450 watts solar and 465 amp/hour of batteries. Retired and living the dream!

Rickyrocket
Explorer
Explorer
I would get on the roof and pull the vent cap off it should be a long straight shot most of the way with a good flashlight you can see if it is blocked my previous rv had a bees nest completely blocking it.

pbitschura
Explorer
Explorer
pbitschura wrote:
Our new to us trailer on it's first voyage has a strong urine smell beginning in the bathroom and after pumping permeates the whole trailer. It's a dometic toilet. It appears to be tight and no seal leaks, I could find. I suspect it's a venting issue. Granted, it was 90 and we stayed hydrated so there is that. But black tank level was 1/3 full. We have not used any tank chemicals other than Galgon to this point.
help please.
Follow-up. We have used the camper this fall with daytime temps around 70 and night time in the upper 40's. No smell issues or other problems. It appears that at warm outdoor temps, the fan or other strategies must be employed for the bathroom to clear of smell because air will not vent through the stack efficiently enough to do the job. Aside from spray cover-ups, there will be a smell issue in the bathroom.
2020 Braxton Creek 24fb travel trailer

dieseltruckdriv
Explorer II
Explorer II
Also, make sure you don't have the vent fan on when you flush. That just draws odors from the tank to the bathroom area.
2000 F-250 7.3 Powerstroke
2018 Arctic Fox 27-5L

pbitschura
Explorer
Explorer
opnspaces wrote:
In an earlier post you were trying to conserve water by only flushing urine after a few uses. The forum suggested flushing after every use. Now that the dealer has supposedly cleared a clog are you still flushing after every use? Or are you now letting the yellow mellow in the bowl between uses?

When flushing does the fresh water appear to fully wash down the sides of the bowl?

Here's a thought to determine if the smell is leaking out of the black tank or if it is leftover in the bowl after flushing. Turn off the water supply and turn off the water pump. Hold the toilet flush open until the pressure is out of the lines. Now get a gallon of Pine Sol and carefully pour it all into the tank while somebody holds the flush valve open. Turn on the water supply and put some water in the toilet.

Run the vent fan and purge the Pine Sol smell out of the bathroom. Let it all sit in the heat and come back later and check for smell. Do you smell Pine Sol after a few hours?
Excellent suggestion. We have been flushing regularly and allowing extra water to wash down. I will be doing the pinesol test. thanks.
2020 Braxton Creek 24fb travel trailer