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The RV Poop Pyramid Nightmare is Easily Avoidable

If you RV, eventually, you’ll come across the phrase “poop pyramid.” A poop pyramid is often the result of unaware RVers making a common mistake.

Let’s take a look, so you can avoid making the same mistake.

The Poop Pyramid, Explained… 

A poop pyramid is what its name describes — a pyramid of poop. The solids in your RV’s black tank can clump together and create a blockage. This blockage can be an incredibly frustrating and disgusting issue to face while dumping your RV tanks.

However, there are some things you can do to avoid a poop pyramid in the first place.

What Causes the Poop Pyramid in an RV?

Poop pyramids result from too many solids sitting in your black tank and not enough liquids. RVers who spend most of their time connected to full hook-up campsites and leave their black tank valves open face this issue.

The liquids can easily pass through the black tank into the sewer drain, but solids require force from the liquids to go down the drain.

How Do You Know if You Have a Poop Pyramid?

The easiest way to know if you have a poop pyramid is if you have trouble emptying your black tank. If a poop pyramid prohibits you from dumping your black tank, you’ll likely have no issue dumping your gray tank. If you can’t empty either your black or gray tanks, it’s unlikely that you have a poop pyramid.

However, if your troubles are specific to your black tank and you’ve left your black tank open, you could have a blockage.

How Do You Get Rid of a Black Tank Pyramid Plug?

You won’t be able to empty your black tank until you eliminate the poop pyramid plugging your drain. Don’t trust anyone who tells you this job will be fun or without smells. Prepare yourself and your nose for the worst.

To eliminate a poop pyramid, you need to get water into your black tank.

The first thing you should do is close the black tank valve and get as much water into the black tank as possible. If the poop pyramid prohibits you from putting water into the tank, get some cleaner to pour into the sewer drain.

This cleaner is a liquid that will slowly work its way down into the black tank. This process will create space for you to now fill the tank as much as possible.

You can grab some PEX pipe from your local hardware store if this isn’t working. This type of pipe is very flexible and can help you break up a stubborn blockage. Once you’ve broken up the blockage, fill your black tank with as much water and cleaner as possible. 

Using a black tank enzyme treatment can accelerate the breaking-down process. Let the water and treatment do their jobs for as long as possible before emptying your tanks.

If you have successfully broken up the clog and the treatment did its job, you should have no trouble emptying your tanks at this point.

If you cannot empty your tanks, you can try to repeat the process. However, at this point, getting assistance from a professional may be best. You don’t want to damage something and have a bigger mess on your hands.

Tips to Avoid Clogging Your Black Tank with a Pyramid of Poo

Keeping your black tank from clogging isn’t all that difficult, but it does require some attention. Follow our tips below, and you’ll have a better chance of avoiding a pyramid of poo in your RV!

Never Leave Black Tank Open — Even with Full Hook-ups

One of the worst things you can do is leave your black tank open while at a full hook-up site. Leaving your black tank open allows all of the liquids to drain out. Any solids that enter your black tank will sit at the bottom.

The odds of a clog occurring increase with every flush as more and more solids enter the black tank.

You can build up a mixture of solids and liquids by keeping your black tank closed. Open your black tank when it’s relatively full.

The liquids that have built up will force the solids out and down into the sewer drain. Liquids are very important when it comes to properly emptying your black tanks.

Use Lots of Water with Each Flush

Water is your best friend when it comes to avoiding clogs in your black tank. You want to be generous when using water to flush your toilet.

The more liquids in your black tank, the more easily solids will break down. Having more liquids in your black tank makes it easier for the contents of your black tank, especially solids, to flow out and into the sewer drain.

Use a Holding Tank Digestive Enzyme

While water could be your best friend, it may need a bit of assistance to get the job done. Using a holding tank digestive enzyme helps accelerate the process of breaking down the solids.

This includes sewage and clumps of toilet paper that can create an issue in your black tank.

Pro Tip: We think Happy Camper is the best tank digestive for RVs.

Only Use RV-Safe Toilet Paper

The toilet paper you use in your RV can significantly reduce the likelihood of clogs. Some toilet paper dissolves quickly once it hits the water. You can test your current toilet paper to see if it’s RV-safe by placing a few pieces in a closed container with water.

Shake the container a few times and see if your toilet paper starts to dissolve.

You may even discover that your current toilet paper is safe to use in your RV. There are several brands of RV-specific toilet paper, but these often come with a premium price tag. Many toilet papers labeled septic safe are also typically RV safe, but you’ll want to confirm that by doing the shake test.

Flush Your Black Tank Often

Flushing your black tank, you help keep it clean and debris-free. The more debris left in your black tank, the greater the chance of a poop pyramid forming in your black tank. Regularly flushing your black tank will keep it clog-free and smelling fresh.

Flushing your tank after each use is a great idea, especially if you only occasionally use your RV. If you use your RV for full-time travel, flush your system as often as you can.

When the RV poop pyramid clogs your tanks, it can be a frustrating and messy experience. If you ever have to handle this situation, you’ll likely have nightmares for years to come. Have you ever had to battle a poop pyramid in your RV?

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  1. I bought a motor home with a poop pyramid… I didn’t realize it until I took my first long trip in it. I got to a dump station and worked on it for about a half hour until I got it unclogged… PEE U!!! Now I use an enzyme and haven’t had trouble since.

  2. Del says:

    I’ve used “Happy Camper” exclusively for 18 years in my RV. I use about twice the recommended amount after each tank flush, thinking “more must be better”. I have
    never had a black tank issue. I also use it in my gray water tank. I wouldn’t even try anything else. I never notice an offensive chemical odor from Happy Camper either.

  3. Rich Renstrom says:

    We’ve had our first (used) RV now for about five years. The black tank info was great. I am aware of keeping enough water in it. But I also learned a lot from this video. I have watched a few other videos of yours and they are great. Because of the age (2005) C-Class, we have it in an indoor storage. Costly but worth it. We have some in-laws who just purchased a nice used class A, but they are very inexperienced. I am going to send the black tank video to them. Thanks.

  4. Dennis says:

    We listen to KleenTank and use Pine-Sol with Calgon. Have never had a problem and it is way cheaper than the enzyme things. Remember, the black tank is a holding tank not a septic tank.