RV Tip #1... If your rv's toilet has a slide valve between the bowl & the waste tank, make sure -absolutely sure- that the valve is closed before you tow the trailer! My bride made the mistake of leaving the valve open. Before leaving the campground I did a check of the tires, signal lights, hitch etc. but I didn't check the toilet. I will never ever make that mistake again! The toilet had only been used two or three times so we didn't dump the tank before making our return trip home. I figured a little sloshing around wouldn't hurt anything. Ya right! Now if you dare, use your imagination. Think sewage. Think open valve. Think sloshing. Accelerate = backwards slosh. Braking = forward slosh. Oh the inhumanity of it!
Sewage + open valve + sloshing = a mess of epic proportions! Thankfully the toilet lid was down. No doubt it helped confine the worst of the mess to the bowl. That, in a "Thetford Incident" like this, is a very good thing. Far worse is the fact that the lid didn't fully trap the slosh - some escaped! Upon entering the trailer I knew something was wrong. Very wrong. I opened the washroom door and witnessed (and smelled) a horrendous scene I will not soon forget. Unfortunately it is now etched into my brain. Nobody should ever have to experience such a thing and I fear I will have nightmares about it. Being a good husband I only ranted on my sweetie for half a minute. (Enough to get that blank "deal-with-it" look). I proceeded to hold my breath and clean up the toxic waste site (even though none of the wastes involved were my own). Turns out the Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, previously stocked in the trailer, were up for the job. It is hard to express how thankful I was to have that wonderful product available within 30-inches of the washroom door. The exterior door was also close by allowing gasps of fresh air. Small trailers have their advantages.
|Thetford C200 Cassette Toilet|
Our trailer is equipped with a Thetford C200cs Cassette Toilet rather than Livin' Lite's standard toilet with its underfloor blackwater holding tank. When we ordered the trailer we requested the cassette type for the convenience of being able to dump the removable "cassette" waste tank in a standard flush toilet. Such cassette toilets are common in European & Australian 'caravans' and North American truck campers, but are not common in North American travel trailers. If more rv purchasers were familiar with their advantages I'm sure these toilets would be more popular. The way they work is the bowl drains to a portable tank that can be hygienically removed from the rv's exterior. It is simply taken to a standard flush toilet and dumped. That toilet can be at a highway rest stop, gas station, or a toilet fixture at home. Our cassette toilet has an electric flush (a manual pump model is available) and is plumbed to the trailers fresh water system. (The manual flush model has its own water tank). In general it is a simple, easy to use, system. It is possible to have more than one cassette so when one is full it can be swapped with the second cassette allowing greater convenience and practically uninterrupted service. It takes less than a minute to swap the cassettes. Another advantage is the waste cassette is not under the floor like a conventional blackwater tank. Being inside the rv (although accessed from an exterior hatch) it is less likely to freeze allowing camping cooler temperatures without a tank heating system.
I wonder if the location of cassette tank directly under the toilet bowl contributed to the mess I faced and ultimately conquered? Perhaps if the valve were left open in a more conventional system the sloshing of the tank under the floor wouldn't find its way up & out of the bowl? My recommendation is don't experiment to find out! Or if you do - be prepared to get treatment for post-traumatic stress.
Regards, Ross September 3, 2012