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Sewer Mishaps. It Happens.

Posted by on March 26, 2010

Sometimes…er…many times…things don’t go as planned in life, even the Airstream life.  We do have our not so fabulous moments.  This entry is about one of those moments.  It involves emptying the sewer tank…a task that is never glamorous, even if one does wear pretty pink and white gloves.

On Sunday, we pulled into Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon, Florida.  Our first impression of this park is “Wow! Fabulous!” Nice large sites, new and clean facilities (including laundry), and easy access to the river for some great kayaking.  I think we’ll be happy here.

Our day started early.  We were meeting friends near Crystal River to do some kayaking and check out the manatees.  Unfortunately, the weather was not going to let us get out on the water. The rain was pouring and the lightning was covering the sky.  With canceled plans, we arrived to the campground early.  Thankfully, our spot was empty and we could get settled.  Even better, the rain had stopped long enough for us to get unhitched…almost.

As we unhitched, we could hear the thunder in the distance and a light drizzle was starting. We unhitched in what I’m sure was our record time.  Without saying a word, we each got to work.  It truly was impressive.  The heavy rain, typical of Florida, came in quickly and we weren’t able to get our sewer hose hooked up in time.  Normally, this isn’t a big deal.  Sewer hookups, for us, are a luxury.  But, I needed a shower desperately, our site was not that close to the bathroom, and the gray tank was almost full.

I waited awhile but the rain wasn’t letting up.  At all.  Nor was my smell.  So, I gave Chris the saddest face I could and suggested WE hookup the sewer hose. “As a team, we could do it so quickly!” I exclaimed in my most positive, perky tone.  He refused.  In a somewhat dramatic manner, I threw on my jacket and waddled (yes, I’m waddling now) out in the pouring rain to hook up our sewer connection.  Alone.

I don't have a picture of this weekend's mishap. Thankfully. I do, however, have a picture of my emptying the tank in the snow. Why do I always have to do the dirty work in the bad weather? Hmmm...

I thought I could do it quickly.  After all, in earlier posts, I had professed to be a “pro” at this.  Oh, how I spoke too soon.  This particular hookup required both hoses as one hose just wasn’t long enough.  “Not a problem,” I thought.  I quickly got everything attached and pulled the gray valve.  I heard the “whooshing” of the water as it ran through the hose.  But, wait…the sewer hose has to go up and over into the sewer hole, causing a slight backup in the hose.  Again, “Not a problem,” I thought.  I’ll just guide it along…quickly, of course, because by now I am drenched.  So, I reached down and begin guiding the water along in the hose.  Unfortunately, I guess I didn’t do this in a gentle manner.

It was bound to happen eventually.  We’ve had a few close calls to sewer dumping mishaps before, but luckily they were avoided.  Unfortunately, this time, as I was guiding the water in an apparent rushed-I’m-soaking wet-get-me-out-of-here way, the hose connection came undone in the middle and gray water splashed up, out, around, down and yes, even on to me.  I panicked but before you (or I) could say “EW.” I had the connection back together.  Then, I did what any normal person would do, I looked around to see if anyone saw me.  The closest neighbors were gone so I think I’m okay.  I took a deep breath and waddled back inside to the trailer.  Upon my return, my dear, sweet, helpful, DRY husband stated, “That took a long time.”  Thanks, dear.

So, there it is, my first sewer hose mishap (not including the incident where the man could “smell my gray water.”)  It wasn’t terrible–at least it wasn’t the black water.  I now humbly announce that I am not a “pro” in anything RV-related.  I have, however, learned some lessons from this:

1) When it’s raining, either wait or just go use the campground shower, dummy.

2) When emptying the tank, go slowly and be very careful.

3) Most importantly, make Chris empty the tank in the future.

Now, please, does anyone else have any sewer mishaps they would care to share? Surely I’m not alone in this, right?

6 Responses to Sewer Mishaps. It Happens.

  1. Sean

    The words “quickly” and “sewer hose” are a dangerous combination! I’ve had a few incidents — usually when I try to do the job quickly. All it takes is one mistake, and you’ll have a most unpleasant memory permanently seared into your brain.

    We don;t have an extension hose. We just bought a long hose and cut it so that it’s the max length we can fit in our storage tube beneath the Airstream.

    You are fortunate that it was just gray water! You got off easy… ;-)

  2. Lani

    Yes, I should have known better to not try to do a sewer job quickly. Lesson learned! Good idea about buying the longer hose. I never have trusted our extension hose connector but we also haven’t had to use it that much.

  3. Kristen


    Did you have a chance to enjoy the Crystal River? My uncle lives near there, and we had a chance to go kayaking there a couple of years ago. Absolutely beautiful, and I’m constantly amazed by the manatees. I’m glad you survived your gray water adventures, too! Definitely make sure Chris takes that one next time!

  4. Lani

    Hi Kristen! Good to hear from you! We were supposed to go to Crystal River for kayaking on that rainy Sunday. I was excited to see the manatees and I had heard fabulous reviews of the kayaking there. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. I hope to get back eventually as it sounds wonderful.

    Yes, next time, Chris gets the dirty task!

  5. Jonathan

    Not an accident, but it did take me three weeks to figure out how to hook up the sewer hose correctly. ;) Glad to hear you only got hit with the gray water… we normally do the black first and then use the gray to “flush out” the hose. That could have been ugly. :S

  6. Lani

    Ah, yes…it took me some time to figure out the sewer hose too. :) I always made sure no one was looking when I hooked it up…in case I was doing it wrong! And, yes, very thankful it was only hte gray water.

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